Rapid-Jewel: Innovative method of jewellery design and manufacturing

Rapid-Jewel is a project funded by the European Commission in the frame of Brite-Euram III

Project No:   BE97-5009
Contract No:  BRPR-CT98-0762
Commencement Date:  01-10-1998
Closing Date:   01-01-2002
Duration:   39 months

Brief Overview

Jewellery is one of the oldest European industrial sectors that remains traditional. Nowadays, the fierce competition that the sector is facing is very difficult to be surpassed with the traditional working procedures, which are considered to be time and money consuming. Common problems met are: reworking the whole process in case something in the production cycle goes wrong, repetition of a design pattern by hand, technical errors associated with the complexity of designs, difficulties to quantify and calculate costs and requirement of highly skilled manpower. RAPID-JEWEL project aims to introduce an entirely new approach to the traditional jewel designing and manufacturing processes with the development of a method which will integrate several state-of-the-art technologies, used up till now in different industrial sectors, and apply them to jewellery sector.

Meanwhile the technical approach will include an improved prototype system, which will be developed for use in direct jewel manufacturing to the end material from the computer model, as well as optimised tools which will support several parts of the method. The consortium is formed by partners many of which have been dealing with the elaboration of the project idea for several years now. In particular, there are involved three highly innovative SMEs, a well established research institute and an end-user. The project idea is to use modern tools for the rapid generation of three dimensional models of objects that will later become parts in the design of the jewel, to elaborate the jewel model into optimised designing CAD procedures and finally, to manufacture pre- series prototypes and production parts or the final products.

The method will establish a fast process loop with reduced time needed for updating the modelling work and any revision of the model, compared to the traditional working methods. The research approach consist of a number of activities proceeding in parallel and interacting with each other. These are summarised as follows: Parallel exploitation of complementary copying tools for the rapid acquisition of 3D data geometry for copying objects that inspire designers and for reverse engineering. These include digital photogrammetry, laser digitising and micro CT scanning. In particular, digital photogrammetry will be optimised as a general rapid copying tool while laser digitising and micro CT scanning will apply as desktop solutions in cases where objects of limited dimensions are involved.

Furthermore, with micro CT scanning will be possible to see the internal of the objects or to scan complicated ones without need to dismantle them to their components. Development of materials in order to apply and optimise two processes for the manufacturing of jewels via powder binder mixtures. The developed materials will be used in the optimised prototype system. Development of an enhanced CAD environment for design applications in the jewellery field. This environment will also be tested with the extracted geometry of the objects that come from digital photogrammetry, laser digitising and micro CT scanning, in order to generate the final 3-D digital model of the design. Manufacturing of prototypes, moulds and final products in concurrent tasks.

The 3-D digital models will be transferred in order to make various outputs (individual casted jewellery, pressed or sintered jewellery) and test them against the traditional methods. In particular we will apply Rapid Prototyping technologies (FDM, ModelMaker) that use polymers or waxes in order to produce master models for secondary operations (e.g. investment casting) and NC-milling as a Rapid Tooling process. Furthermore, the Multiphase Jet Solidification (MJS) process, will be optimised with regard to the direct manufacturing of individual sintered jewels (MJS). The MJS material developments will be also tested for suitability in the Metal Injection Moulding, a process that is applicable in cases of high production rates.

We believe that the adoption of the proposed method will significantly contribute to the improvement of the design quality as well as the reduction of the production cost and the production time (30% reductions are expected). The rapid cycle of the jewel production will create new opportunities for seasonal jewellery and specific markets, such as customers with special enquiries, vast number of pieces offered in hypermarkets and magazines, new classes of touristic jewellery etc. Also it is expected that cheap manufacturing of jewellery will be recalled from Far East and new work positions for IT users will be created.

GeoAnalysis SA
IFAM (Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung)
JMA Bros Inc.
Polyline SA
Materialise NV

Get the Flash Player to see this player.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
© 2019 Polyline Α.Ε. All Rights ReservedPowered by Softways S.A.