Nov.13, 2013

The UK's jewellery sector is set to benefit from a major £471,000 research and development project called PRECIOUS that launched early this month.

The project, to be managed by Birmingham-based Delcam, a supplier of CADCAM and industrial measurement solutions, will make a definitive step change to the current use of additive manufacture for precious metal jewellery, making it easier for the whole UK supply chain of design, manufacture and retail to adopt the technology.

The PRECIOUS project is being undertaken by a consortium of five organisations that, in addition to Delcam, includes Cookson Precious Metals, Lionel T Dean/Future Factories, the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre and Finishing Techniques.

The project is receiving £212,000 of support from the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. It is aimed at rapidly bringing to full commercial maturity the process of additive manufacturing of precious metal jewellery items that is currently at varying stages of partial readiness at a small number of UK companies.

Project Manager, Jan Willem Gunnink from Delcam, stated, "The PRECIOUS project is intended to offer a viable alternative manufacturing option to those who supply jewellery at the middle to higher end of the bespoke and personalised jewellery market. New online business models that exploit additive manufacturing are expected to be created and should add innovative design driven impetuous to the more traditional high street retailing sectors".

To achieve this goal, a number of important research and development elements will be required:

  • An assessment of the current "State-of-the-Art" of both AM-related hardware and software tools
  • Identifying the supply chain requirements for the introduction of additive manufacturing
  • Developing business models for jewellery companies wishing to use additive manufacturing
  • Improving the efficiency of pre-processing and post-processing activities within jewellery additive manufacturing
  • Creation of demonstrator projects to promote the technology to jewellery companies

Last week, CAD software maker Autodesk said it would buy Delcam for 172.5 million pounds ($277 million), in a deal to expand the U.S. company's software offerings in the manufacturing sector. On completion of the acquisition, Delcam will become a subsidiary of Autodesk. It will maintain its focus on accelerating the growth of its market share in the manufacturing sector, with the added strength that will come from being part of a larger organisation.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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