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Chapter 46
Implementation of Rapid
Manufacturing Systems in the
Jewellery Industry in Brazil:
Some Experiences in Small and
Medium-Sized Companies

Juan Carlos Campos Rbio

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brasil

Eduardo Romeiro Filho

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brasil

This chapter presents the rapid prototyping and manufacturing concepts applied as means to reducing
time between jewellery designs and manufacturing process. Different processes on jewellery modelling
production are presented. Nowadays, the use of technologies as CAD/CAM - Computer Aided Design
and Manufacturing in high production companies are very disseminated. However, the implementation
of these resources at the design and manufacturing processes of jewels and fashion accessories, in small
and medium size businesses, is still insipient. As reference, is presented the situation observed in small
and medium companies located in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

INTRODUCTION companies located in the state of Minas Gerais,

Brazil. In addition to that, the changes caused by
This chapter presents an analysis of the use of this technology in the professional relationships
CAD/CAM systems (Computer Aided Design are also discussed. The principal point is related to
and Computer Aided Manufacturing) aiming the influence of the use of CAD/CAM system on
to improve the connection between design and the designers skill (competence) and design meth-
production in small and medium size jewellery ods in an interactive design process and a Rapid
Manufacturing (RM) system implementation.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1945-6.ch046

Copyright 2013, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

In a global and highly competitive market, it obtained a finished product with the required
is critical for the companies to develop distinc- quality. The RM concept can be used when the
tive products, joining aesthetic features with the development of moulds or tools for moderate
effective control of the production processes, volume parts or products is required. Among the
in order to ensure improved results. Within this various RM processes, computer numerically
scenario, the designers activities are becoming controlled (CNC) machining is recognized as the
more important for the jewellery industry; never- technology most widely used in industry for the
theless, the design process is frequently regarded application of CAD/CAM systems. The produc-
as an artistic activity dissociated to the industrial tion of jewels is based on the investment-casting
process. Improvements in jewel manufacturing process, in which the moulds and casting pattern
process are extremely important, because the can be produced in plastic or wax using an RM
jewels and fashion accessories presents a high technology, thus reducing time and cost as well as
aggregate value. It is most important when raw ensuring the production of goods with high quality.
material is abounding too. Brazil is a precious Different researches (as Rocha, 2007, Fer-
metal and stones products country, namely gold, nandes et al., 2005 and Han Boon et al., 1992)
silver, diamonds, emeralds, etc. Thus, better indicates that the use of Computer Integrated
products imply in leadership of the market and Manufacturing (CIM) systems can offer a sub-
consolidate designers names in global market. stantial assistance to the solution of issues related
The intensive use of rapid manufacturing and to the interface between design and manufacture
CAD/CAM systems brings new opportunities to of jewels. However, some drawbacks associated
the integration between design and manufacturing mainly with the lack of qualified professionals
process. Through a better assessment of the prod- (especially designers) were identified (Siu &
ucts during the preliminary phases of the project it Dilnot, 2001). The use of these technologies is
is possible to predict mistakes that could result in only possible by employing three-dimensional
additional labor, as well as increased production CAD systems and trained professionals able to
time and cost. In spite of technological advances handle this task are currently not available in the
and the use of machines at several stages of the jewellery industry. Moreover, the application of
industrial production of jewels (conception and these tools alone is not enough to ensure the sat-
execution of the first model), the process still isfactory integration of all phases of the project.
maintains essential handcraft features. The in- In jewels international market the Brazil-
trinsic limitation of the manufacturing processes ian designer and manufacturer are traditionally
used in this phase for designer and goldsmith, competitive at producing small stones fashion
results in mistakes which are transferred to the jewellery and their skills in gem setting. These
next phases, impairing process control and manu- products attend the needs of its customers in terms
facturing phase. This is an important aspect to be of originality, creativity and fashion. However,
considered in the product development, especially the Brazilian Jewelers needing to search for
in small and medium size companies, which are ways to increase the efficiency and improves the
typical of the jewellery industry in Brazil. productivity. Thus, this Chapter is concentrated
Changes in the communication methods and on study of the rapid manufacturing innovative
technical tools, such as CAD/CAM systems, must technique and their use in jewellery production
be carried out simultaneously with changes in the for Brazilian small-size companies.
designers work method, aiming to adjust their
projects to the needs of other production sections
(including the goldsmith), with the purpose of

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

DESIGN AND MODELING PROCESS possible to anticipate the formal result, close to
IN THE JEWELLERY COMPANIES the real appearance of jewel to manufacturing)
and a technical drawing (with the essential view
The first step of jewellery industry production to execution, in most times, superior and lateral
process is the concept and design of a new jewel, views) that includes measure and materials used,
normally by a specialized industrial designer. After finishing, enlarged details etc.
design process conclusion, another professional, However, this formal representation, including
the goldsmith, creates a prototype that will be the perspective and artistic representation, technical
base for all subsequent industrial process. The drawings and others technical information, some-
interaction difficulties observed between design- times is not completed. In majority, the designs
ers and goldsmiths in the design and production are presented to goldsmith using partial or alter-
stages are various and bring many problems to native draws (Figure 2), unstudied techniques in
production results. different forms:
The deficiencies observed in the information
transference at initial stages of jewel design and Colour draw with one side of the piece, ac-
production results in important consequences for complished with measure-simplified
next phases, including serious imperfections in the representation;
final product, re-work in the production process, Technical drawing, using ISO norms;
increasing of operational costs and delays in de- Technical detail with material and dimen-
livery product. In the same way, the improvement sion description;
in the initial phases of jewel production represents Sketches and drafts;
a global development of all process quality re- Prototypes using alternative materials
sults. Special attention is necessary on the design (clay, paper etc.)
product process, for the reason that in this phase
are elaborated most important specifications to About representation ways, Noguchi (2003)
an adequate and balanced production process. presents a designer interview: Some pieces are
The design decisions are fundamental to a better illustrated using technical draw, surfaces, cuts etc.
quality in the final product and the success in a A clay model is used when the goldsmith is not a
highly competitive market. high skilled professional. Sometimes, when I am
tired of drawing, I do only a mock-up, the direct
The Design Process form. Other times I do only a sketch on paper.
When the goldsmith is highly skilled, he almost
The designer activity begins with the creation of knows the future result, if it will be satisfactory.
a piece or collection jewel. Ordinarily, the project
includes specifications about costs, market share,
piece weight, materials etc. From this information, Figure 1. A final jewel design (including details)
the first ideas and freehand sketching drawings are
doing on paper. After that, an adequate solution
selection between different proposals is selected
and refined in another development phase, a de-
tailed and formal design plan. This result is sent
to production phase (Figure 1). Conventionally
the jewel design includes a perspective view (in
colour, with an artistic presentation, when is

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 2. Jewel Design Examples. (Left: Design including only a colour draw, with material indication.
Right: Design with only a 3 views draw, including fittings solutions. Source: Rocha, 2007.)

The Figure 2 presents some examples of uncon- practicability in the production process or about
ventional designs, released by jewel designers. difficulties in the design interpretation.
The most important communication element
between the conception and production steps is The Wax Model
the jewel design. The quality and rules used in
design process are important, however sometimes After conclusion of design work, the draws are
the information included in design documentation sending to goldsmith, which start the construc-
are not sufficient to goldsmith comprehension and tion of a model (or prototype) of jewel piece,
dont trust the consistence in the process, requir- in plastic or special wax. This model can be made
ing others representations (and communications) by metal (gold, silver etc.), plastic or a special
resources. Eventually, some design characteristics wax (used in jewel industry). The choice depends
are deduced by goldsmith, because cannot be fundamentally of the techniques used in the piece
presented on paper as like as in a three-dimensional confection. In this process are used specific tools
model. Movements, fitting systems, volume and like files, saws, drills etc. in a handcraft process,
weight of pieces are items not always adequately until the final form of the piece.
represented in the conventional draw. Moreover In the traditional process, the model construc-
the characteristic limits on the representation tion is a fundamental step at industrial process.
process, there is the problem of the ignorance by In cases of exclusive pieces, made to order, the
designers about the jewel production process, its goldsmith finalizes his work producing the first
possibilities and restrictions. This fact can cause piece directly in metal. But in the industrial
a series of incompatibilities between design and process, thousands pieces can be produced from
production, bringing delays and changing neces- the wax model. This step (model construction)
sities in the pieces. is a handcraft work and depends on highly of the
For this reason, it is usual that modelling goldsmith skill. For this reason, problems can be
goldsmith modify some design characteristics, caused by limitations in the work conditions and
adapting it to product process limits and avoiding tools. Some design pieces propose details and
problems in the final model. These modifications symmetries impossible to handcraft techniques. In
can respect and maintain the original design the same way, complex geometric parameters turn
aspects, when are about specific adaptation as impossible an adequate control by goldsmith about
plate thickness, measurement or fitting adjust etc. some aspects like exact weight and thickness in
However, in some cases the goldsmith change all points of piece, in order that the final product
important aspects of design pieces, owing to im- will be different that described in the design.

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

REVIEW ON JEWELL analysis, materials requirement planning, vendor

RAPID PROTOTYPING selection and job assignment.
Using the conventional design and production
In recent years, the use of computers throughout system in the Hong Kong jewellery industry as a
all engineering disciplines has obtained an increase case, Siu and Dilnot (2001) investigated the reason
importance. This is particularly true in activi- for the high degree of failure of design representa-
ties that span the life cycle of discrete products tions in the jewellery context, through illustrating
development, namely in products design and in the difficulties and problems (in maintaining
manufacturing. Computer-aided manufacturing quality of craftsmanship) when introducing CAD/
design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing CAM/RP technologies in production of craft-based
(CAM) software programs, computer numerical object as jewellery in modern factory production.
control (CNC) machining and Rapid Prototyping In this study, the authors affirm that the tacit-format
(RP) process has certainly gained momentum in attributes, which were separately contributed by
the marketplace. the jewellery designers and goldsmith, can be
Several works have been published aiming extracted, recaptured, recorded, integrated and
to evaluate the RP process and computer tech- finally coded into CAD database.
nologies on the manufacturing mechanical and Many commercial CAD systems have been
medical complex pieces. However, a few studies developed for the purpose of designing jewel-
have been making of the RP techniques and CAD/ lery (e.g., JewelCAD, JewelSpace, Rhinoceros,
CAM/CNC tools in jewellery industry. Leong et Matrix, ArtCAM Jewelsmith, etc). They provide
al (1998) showed the effect of abrasive jet deburr- graphical interfaces with excellent rendering ca-
ing processes on the surface finishing of jewel- pabilities. The majority of these systems provide
lery models built by stereolithography apparatus built-in libraries of settings and cut gems and stones
(SLA). The investigation aims to determine the and advanced feature-based design tools. Also,
significant parameters of the deburring process, the majority of these systems have the capability
to determine a practicable range of settings of of exporting models to RP Machines. However,
these parameters for effective deburring, and to none of these systems is appropriate for design-
establish the optimum settings to the jewellery ing and creating pierced Byzantine jewellery or
models built by stereolithography. other jewellery of this kind of detailed engraving.
Traditionally, a human process planner per- Stamati and Fudos (2005) shows a parametric
forms the manufacturing process planning, with CAD system for the design of pierced medieval
acquired expertise in machining practices that jewellery, which is jewellery created by piercing,
determines from a parts engineering drawing a traditional Byzantine technique. For other hand,
what the machining requirements are. Wong et Soo et al. (2006) applied fractal geometry for
al (1999) developed a decision support system artistic product design in a CAD platform. Based
to assist in the operations of typical jewellery on the proposed data structure, the geometrical
manufacturer. The paper describes the develop- information of the fractal can be extracted in a
ment of a management information system with more effective way and the fabrication of a fractal
a specially designed decision support system to shape for an artistic product design can be real-
meet the specific requirements of Hong Kongs ized. The CAD platform has been employed to
jewellery industry. It aims at assisting a jewellery fabricate a physical prototype in RP technology.
manufacturer to make decisions in various areas Recently, in the paper titled I want and now,
of operation, including price quotation, sales Langer (2008) affirm that consumers demand
for individualized products. This individualized

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

series production, or call it mass customizations, and can be observed a resistance by traditional
is driving a paradigm shift for manufacturing and designers in front of new tools, in general more
electronic manufacturing (e-manufacturing) with complex and (initially) slower than the traditional
its flexible and fast response times is a major fac- sketch process. The sub-utilization and unfamiliar-
tor in the drive for change. The e-manufacturing ity with the real potential of CAD are, as a rule,
allow delivers end products, functional parts and the main reason of the problems observed. In fact,
tools directly from computer aided design (CAD) many designers put questions about use of CAD
data. A laser heats and melts powdered metals or technologies instead of traditional sketches and
plastics layer by layer, until the build is complete. manual draws. The CAD application needs a high
Among the novel products with highly complex detailed solution, which can need more time in
and sometimes filigreed structures and forms that the initial steps of design process. However, the
are unthinkable geometries for conventional series reduction of mistakes in the next steps and the
production is jewellery, clothes, lamps, chairs or improvement of a global result, owing to a better
others functional parts for industry. evaluation of design alternatives, can result in a
time and resource economy in a long time. These
aspects justify an effort in learning and applica-
NEW TRENDS ON CAD/ tion of these systems in the product development
CAM IMPLEMENTATION IN and production process. Notwithstanding the
JEWERLY INDUSTRY apparent complexity, after the software learned,
the total time necessary to design process can be
As far as concerned on computer technologies, significantly reduced with facilities to generation
the resources are today very popular and used in of new alternatives, for example.
different industrial sectors since 1960 decade. At In the midst of new exigencies of consumers,
first in the aerospace and automotive industries, quality improvement, reduction of products life
the CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and cycle (time in market) and technical innovations,
Manufacturing) has been expanded the application the jewellery industry has slowly introducing
on jewellery. CAD Software, CNC (Computer resources as CAD/CAM. By means of its charac-
Numeric Control) machines and Rapid Prototyp- teristics, these systems present potential benefits
ing equipments are improving the jewellery sector in a crucial problem in jewel design: the commu-
results, bringing new competitive advantages. On nication interface between design and production
the other hand, some questions obstruct an ac- sectors. The use of CAD system associated to
celerated diffusion of new technologies between CAM tools and rapid prototyping technologies
the users, especially in the medium and small turn possible a total integration in the initial steps
companies. These questions are highly related to in jewel production. A CAD3D system using solid
the difficult in the learning process by designers modelling is able to simulate a virtual (and three-
and the conflict between using the new CAD/ dimensional) model, showing forms and dimen-
CAM technologies and the traditional work pro- sions exactly as a real piece, including elements
cess, including the relationship between designers as colour, stones and construction details. These
and goldsmiths. characteristics can be anticipated and visualized
The improvements on results of new technolo- in the conception stage, avoiding problems like
gies application are only possible, in practice, inaccuracy interpretation, improving quality in
with an intensive use of Three-dimensional CAD final design and reducing fails in the production
Systems (CAD3D). However, the professionals process (Figure 3).
with a high knowledge about CAD are almost rare,

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 3. An example about a jewel development process: (a) handmade sketches; (b) first studies using
a CAD system; (c) wire frame perspective; (d) different views in CAD; (e) jewel perspective; (f) jewel
materials simulation in CAD3D; (g) and (h) model production;(i) final model in special resin.

Using a CAD3D virtual model, the designer essential to production and directly send to CAM
can visualize the final appearance of jewel, with machines, evicting mistakes interpretation.
a rendering resource. It is possible to simulate After design process conclusion by CAD,
a change of the material (for example, testing the nevertheless is possible a traditional production
results in same piece applying gold or silver as process, with the goldsmith work. In this case, the
material basis). The modern CAD technologies model can be printed, in different views, including
present simulations very close to the real product. technical and artistic information. However, the
Different evaluation versions can be generated CAD resources are better used in connection with
quickly, without wax models or different draws. CAM technology, especially Rapid Prototyping
The CAD systems bring great benefits in highly machines to models construction. The main ad-
detailed pieces, when the exact dimensions and vantage of this technology is the possibility of a
mechanisms descriptions are essential. Fitting and controlled result; with sure of the model resultant
fixation mechanisms in these models are, in prac- have the same characteristics of designer concep-
tice, impossible to a goldsmith. Also in the rep- tion. Another fundamental advantage is a possibil-
etition of components in different pieces (as a ity of adoption of complex and symmetric forms,
collection), is possible by achievement in com- impossible to a traditional process production,
puter memory. At long last, CAD system can involving a goldsmith work. Finally, it is observed
automatically generate all technical information a sensible reduction in the time-to-market, since

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

the design and production process are integrated the Latin cera perduta, is the process by which
and the time between conception and production a bronze, brass or other special alloys are cast
is progressively reduced. from an artists sculpture and jewels. The casting
process is one of the oldest known metal-forming
techniques, was first used during the period 4000-
METHODS USED IN JEWELLERY 3000 B.C. Lost-wax casting was widespread in
MANUFACTURING Europe until 18th century, when a piece-mold
process came to predominate. Believed to have
Several techniques have been employed to make been developed by the Mesopotamians, it remains
jewellery from gold and silver and its alloys are as the most popular process of making gold
Investment Casting, Die casting, cuttle fish casting (metal) jewellery and forms the basis of modern
and hand fabrication. Many jewelers use CAD/ investment casting process. Nowadays, with the
CAM to make jewellery. CAD (Computer Aided appearance of the high-technology waxes, refrac-
Designs) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufactur- tory materials and specialist alloys, the castings
ing) to reproduce a model piece of jewellery that allow the production of components with accuracy,
can be mass-produced. Making jewellery requires repeatability, versatility and integrity in a variety
knowledge and expertise in gold smiting, stonecut- of metals and high-performance alloys, thus, in
ting, engraving, mold making, fabrication, wax industrial uses, this modern process is called
carving, lost wax casting, electroplating, forging, investment casting.
and polishing. These are the various steps needed Kalpakjian (1995) said that this process in-
to make jewellery. The first step in making a de- volves dipping a mold into a ceramic mix. Some-
tailed piece is making of a mold (Ray, 2009), it times new materials like plastic or polystyrene
can be made in desk or computer aided. foam is used instead of wax. This process has a
number of steps involved. The Figure 4 shows a
Mold brief description of the Investment Casting process
begins by the injection of wax in a metallic mould
A mold is the exact and perfect replica of the that has previously built up or plastic hand-made
piece to be made, copied either from a design pattern.
or a piece/object. A mold is shaped around the
shape/figure with the help of casting process. a. A primary model can be made in hard alloy
Molds are made from many materials, including like nickel silver or just silver. Surrounding
plaster compounds. Some different methods of this primary model, using sheet rubber in a
casting include the lost wax process, centrifugal mold frame, makes a rubber model. Placing
or investment casting, and sand casting. In jewel it in a heated press then vulcanizes it. On
manufacturing the process begins with a mold. cooling, it is cut with a scalpel into halves
The casting process involves a number of steps. or more and removing the primary model.
There are two methods of casting using in jewel This rubber mold is used to make many
and fashion accessory manufacturing; investment copies of the primary model on wax. Molten
casting or die casting each with its own advantages. wax is then introduced into the mold cavity
by using a wax injector. On cooling the wax
The Investment Casting is removed to get an exact copy of the primary
model in wax. Other way is wax or plastic
The Investment Casting or Lost-wax Casting, models hand-made by craftsmen.
also called by the French name of cire perdue or

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 4. Steps involved in jewellery manufacturing by investment xasting process

b. Then the wax or plastic models are welded f. The ceramic mould is pre-heated at 1000oC
to a structure also in wax, to set up an as- and the metallic material is poured into at
sembly (tree form). temperature higher than fusion temperature
c. The ceramic mould or negative of the wax (e. g., 1550 oC steel or 1100 oC copper, etc)
pattern is formed up by immersing the as- Two types of casting machines can be used;
sembly (tree) in a slurry coating (babbitt), the centrifugal casting machine which is the
keeping the finest details as the wax pattern. older technique or the modern technique of
d. The assembly is then surrounded by refrac- static vacuum assist machines.
tory materials (e.g., fine silica) till that a g. When the assembly is cold the ceramic shell
ceramic shell is obtained, also called stucco is separated from the steel bye vibration
coating or investment plaster. Thus, form process.
stiff and sturdy molds are produced. h. The steel parts are then separated for the
e. The wax is removed in an autoclave by a assembly by mechanical process.
pressure-temperature process to pattern melt i. The process finishes with all kinds of
out. The flask is inverted and placed in a controls, heat treatments and machining
kiln/furnace. The wax is melted by steam operations to achieve quality and finishing
or air to remove all the wax. The furnace is required.
set in stages and the maximum temperature
reached is 750 degrees centigrade. The melt- As advantages of casting investment in jewel
ing process takes about 12 to 16 hours. This manufacturing can be said that it is an old age
melting down of the wax is called the lost proven method. It allows the jewellery flexibility
wax process. to create complex designs. The details can be

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

copied perfectly. The control of colour is better. reduced costs and lead times in all engineering
The finished product can be highly polished. It design stages, improved quality and accuracy,
results in very fine surface finish. The metallurgi- minimization of errors and their duplication, more
cal properties are also excellent. However, some efficient analysis tool, and accurate control and
disadvantages of investment casting also can be monitoring of the machines/processes, etc.
cited, as that this process can result in porosity. As showed in Figure 5, the applications of com-
Also the dimensions may not be as accurate as puters in manufacturing systems allow develop-
the die struck method. Nevertheless, this process ment products by computer-aided design (CAD),
can and is used for almost all gold jewellery and using computers in the design and analysis of the
remains a favourite with jewellers even after products and processes. The computer technolo-
6,000 years later. gies play a critical role in reducing lead-time and
cost at the design stages of the products/process.
Die Struck Method Also, computers may be utilized to plan, manage,
and control the operations of a manufacturing
Die struck method is a casting method where the system: computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).
metal to be cast is forced under pressure into a In CAM, computers are used directly to control
mold which is usually made out of metal. This and monitor the machines/processes (in real-time)
is an excellent method of producing complex or used off-line to support manufacturing opera-
shapes. The earliest recorded history of die casting tions such as computer-aided process planning
by pressure occurred in 1800s. Using a plunger (CAPP) or planning of required materials. Ma-
or compressed air, molten metal is forced into a terials Requirement Planning (MRP) determines
metallic die and the pressure is maintained until the a schedule for the operations and raw material
metal settles and solidifies. The pressure reaches purchases shows the production requirements for
300 MPa. The intense pressure causes the atoms the whole production system.
in the metal to move closer together and solidify At higher levels, computers are utilized in
to dies form or molds. Using compressed sheet support of management. They play a critical role
metal and dies steel mountings are formed with in all stages of decision-making and control of
metal parts mechanically stamped out. Each part financial operations by processing and analyzing
is matched and fitted into the correct portion of data and reporting the results (Management In-
die halved and stamped and shaped. A hydraulic formation Systems, MIS). Also, computers fa-
press is used (Ray, 2009). cilitate integration of CAD, CAM, and MIS
(Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, CIM). They
provide an effective communication interface
MODERN MANUFACTURING among engineers, design, management, produc-
SYSTEMS tion workers, and project groups to improve ef-
ficiency and productivity of the entire system.
A number of steps are involved in manufacturing (Mehrabi et al, 2002).
a part from its conceptualization to production.
They include product design, process planning, Product Development Life Cycle
production system design, and process control.
Computers are used extensively in all these Many enterprises have new product development
stages to make the entire process easier and faster methodologies that provide a standard framework
(Mehrabi et al, 2002). Potential benefits of using for planning and managing development efforts.
computers in jewel manufacturing can include It can be discriminated four phases to this life

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 5. Applications of computer technology in manufacturing

cycle: concept (preliminary ideas), production Improvements in jewel manufacturing process

(including product development and purchasing), are extremely important. Because the jewels and
use and disposal. The Figure 6 shows the life cycle fashion accessories presents a high aggregate
phases and computer tools that can be using in value. It is more important when raw material is
improvements of the process. abounding too. Brazil is a precious metal and

Figure 6. Products life cycle phases and computer technology applications

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

stones products country, namely gold, silver, dia- reconfigurable to adapt to changes in the environ-
monds, emeralds, etc. Thus, better products imply ment through changes to data and/or regeneration
in laddering of the market and consolidate de- of control software. Smith (1998) shows that
signers names in global market. application of RM allows identify time saving op-
portunities in the product development lifecycle,
An Integrated Method for namely in design and manufacturing phases. As
Jewel Manufacturing showed in Figure 7, the jewel manufactures may
be improved by reducing both the production time
For the last few years, the process of manufactur- and costs by works superimposing. It is possible
ing jewellery has seen lots of innovation, and par- by using the computer technology, namely Rapid
ticularly in term of Design & Manufacture. CNC Manufacturing (RM).
machine are adapting to the jewellery industry, In last years, artistic design & manufacture
as for the laser welder and market, and Design software has been developed to the jewellery
& Manufacture software. For the last one, it has industry, aimed to reduce production costs and
come much slower, and the available solutions hand process. This technology allows designers
offered on the market are not affordable to the to the freedom to development quickly design,
majorities of the Brazilian jewelers. modify and view the models. Thus, designers can
Rapid Prototyping, RP, techniques has a vast create new models with the benefit of a paramet-
application on several fields, such as architecture, ric construction tree which allows modifying the
art, engineering and industrial design. Using these design at any stage, without going back countless
technologies, and from a CAD3D geometrical file, steps or starting from scratch, reducing both the
it is possible in a few hours to build functional production time and costs. It can use the jewellery
prototypes of components or even production specific tools, such as the ring wizard to quickly
tools, known as Rapid Tools or Rapid Manufac- build a band then change for example, the finger
turing (RM). Hence, there is no need to build size while keeping the thickness constant.
moulds to produce some components, e.g. in the Once the jewel model is completed, the de-
development stage, that are constantly changed signer can resize it, reconfigure its dimensions or
by the design teams. The number of RP systems use it as a component in another design by adding
in use, as well as theirs typology, is increasing it to a pre-existing library of parts. Another prob-
every day, using different building materials such lem is the cost of the jewel designed; the software
as waxes, polymers, metals, paper, sand and mix can alert the designer if it goes under or over the
materials. There are already some desktop solu- desired weight. Allow a more accurate vision with
tions (Mascarenhas & Esperto, 2006). Using two the production costs. Most of materials are in the
(2) of these RP techniques it was created a few software, and designers can also easily create your
jewel prototypes, namely Fused Deposition Mod- own material for new jewel or fashion accessories.
eling (FDM) and CNC micro-milling machining.
Rapid Manufacturing is the embodiment of the Methodology Using in Jewel
concept that allows defining elements or modules Rapid Manufacturing
with well defined interfaces and hooks in a
way that the process of manufacturing can be: The Rapid Manufacturing (RM) concept can be
developed in an independent manner, customized used when the development of moulds or tools
based on installation specific data, based on formal for moderate volume parts or products is required.
models of controller behavior, amenable to auto- Among the various RM processes, computer
matic generation of control software modules, and numerically controlled (CNC) machining is rec-

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 7. Time saving opportunities in the product development life cycle

ognized as the technology most widely used in as RM process, It can machining soft metal, wax
industry for the application of CAD/CAM systems. or resin that can be vulcanized in rubber moulds.
The basic methodology for RM techniques can There are two work ways; from the scratch (start
be summarized as follows: drawing) and 3D scanning and modelling (reen-
a. CAD jewel model is constructed, and then
converted to STL format. The resolution can
be set to minimize stair stepping. CAD/CAM IN JEWELL INDUSTRY
b. The RP machine processes the STL file by
creating sliced layers of the model. The use of latest trends in design tools and manu-
c. The first layer of the physical model is facturing technologies allows jewels design and
created. The model is then lowered by the manufacturing through CAD/CAM technology,
thickness of the next layer, and the process from the basic concept to final productions. Ac-
is repeated until completion of the model. cording to Osgrove (2005), can be cited three (3)
d. The model and any supports are removed. advantages of this technology in jewel industry,
The surface of the model is then finished namely accuracy, time and cost advantages.
and cleaned. Among of the accuracy advantages that can be
cited are the capability in provides a realistic image
Different CNC machines can be used in rapid of the jewel even before it is made, thus aiding
prototyping aided jewel manufacturing. In Figure inspection to improve quality. Same, achieve exact
8, a small Roland desktop 3 axis machine was used symmetry of design, especially for left and right

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 8. Diagram illustrating the various methodologies phases used in jewel rapid manufacturing

earrings. It can create identical looking designs of industry. By using the CAD software in jewel
different diamond weights fasters. Likely, can be development the designer might creates and pro-
created ensembles will have same family looks, duces a bigger range of jewellery models at the
described precisely the metal dimensions for gem- same time (family pieces) allowing creating and
stone holding areas, no variation in consistency producing many finished models simultaneously.
and accuracy, such as provides casting friendly In practice, CAD software is written in numer-
even cross sections, etc. ous different programming languages and can be
Regarding to the time advantages in the ap- used in many environments and platform (e.g.,
plication of the CAD/CAM technology in jewel Windows, Linux, Apple Mac, etc). Some CAD
manufacturing, can be said that CAD and CAM using in jewellery are written in the Java computer,
based technologies help to obtain a silver master they can also run in any machine, and exchange
models, faster than traditional wax or solid silver data with other users. Jewellerys CAD software
based carving methods. One can convert a com- present friendly and intuitive interface, as well as
plex design sketch into a finished silver model help box dynamic. There are libraries of precious
in few days time. Modifications in master model metals and gemstones with gemmological materi-
are faster and creating identical designs for dif- als, which can also add too. Thus, a designer with
ferent diamond weights, earrings and ensembles few days of practicing would be able to design
is possible. nice items, showing that working on the model
The costs are extremely important in jewel can be very clear and the final rendering to be
manufacturing, and CAD/CAM technology allows easy to use and extremely effective.
obtaining the uniformity of scoop for maximum Kai et al (2000) presents a methodology to
removal of excess metal, giving consistent and converting scanned data to.STL format. They said
minimum metal weight. Same, the model mak- that the data modeller is the most important pro-
ing productivity increases many times without cess for the success of jewel making. Its purpose
increase skilled manpower. As form a contract is to convert the scanned image file to editable
of high capital involvement, optimum utility of CAD format. The common converted file formats
the capacity makes models affordable is allowed include IGES, DXF and ACIS. The conversion
when CAD/CAM technology is applied in jewel to CAD readable format is to facilitate correction

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

and rework of the scanned image before convert- specifying the slice height, usually smaller
ing to.STL format. Figure 9 illustrates the flow 0.30mm, the RP attached software will slice the.
chart for converting scanned data to.STL format, STL file to a slice (.SLI) format. The.SLI file is
followed by Figures 10a and 10b which present then used to build the RP model (Osgrove, 2005).
the steps to convert the input (scanned file) to
the desired output (.STL file) of the ear mould,
and finally can be used as a wax jewel model or JEWEL MODEL RAPID
vacuum cast mould. PROTOTYPING
All RP systems generally adopt the additive
fabrication technique, which is a process that Rapid Prototyping (RP) can be defined as a
builds a part layer by layer. Each layer is repre- group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a
sented and determined by its corresponding slice scale model of a part or assembly using three-
file. The slice file stores the geometric detail data dimensional computer aided design (CAD)
of the model at that particular slice height. The data. Rapid Prototyping has also been referred
slice file is created from the.STL file. After to as solid free-form manufacturing; computer

Figure 9. Steps indicating the conversion of scanned data to.STL format

Figure 10. Convert; (a) the scanned image file to (b) editable CAD format

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

automated manufacturing (CAM) and layered Different CNC machines can be used in rapid
manufacturing. RP has obvious use as a vehicle prototyping aided jewel manufacturing. In this
for visualization. In addition, RP models can be work, two RP systems were used to fabricate
used for testing, such as when an airfoil shape is the jewel and fashion accessories pattern for the
put into a wind tunnel. RP models can be used to silicon mould making or wax model. They are
create male models for tooling, such as silicone fused deposition modelling (FDM) and CNC
rubber molds and investment casts. In some cases, Micro-Milling Machining. The first works by
the RP part can be the final part, but typically the material deposition and the second works by ma-
RP material is not strong or accurate enough. When terial retreat. The two RP systems will be briefly
the RP material is suitable, highly convoluted discussed in the following. In addition, SLA and
shapes (including parts nested within parts) can CNC will be used to make the RP jewel mould
be produced because of the nature of RP. or model. This is to facilitate the evaluation on
the patterns fabricated by each RP system. The
Why Rapid Prototyping? evaluation will show which RP systems produce
better-finished pattern suitable for investment
The reasons of applied Rapid Prototyping (RP) casting. Figure 11 shows development process of
in jewel manufacturing are: the ring using software oriented to RP machine
inside RM environment.
Increase effective communication.
Decrease development time. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Decrease costly mistakes.
Minimize sustaining engineering changes. The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process
Extend product lifetime by adding neces- was developed by Scott Crump in 1988. The
sary features and eliminating redundant fundamental process involves heating a filament
features early in the design. of thermoplastic polymer and squeezing it out
like toothpaste from a tube to form the RP layers.
Rapid Prototyping decreases development time The machines range from fast concept modelers
by allowing corrections to a product to be made to slower, high-precision machines. The materials
early in the process. By giving engineering, manu- include polyester, ABS, elastomers, and invest-
facturing, marketing, and purchasing a look at the ment casting wax (Osgrove, 2005). The overall
product early in the design process, mistakes can arrangement is illustrated in Figure 12.
be corrected and changes can be made while they Highlights of Fused Deposition Modeling:
are still inexpensive. The trends in manufacturing
industries continue to emphasize the following: Standard engineering thermoplastics, such
as ABS or investment casting wax, can
Increasing number of variants of products. be used to produce structurally functional
Increasing product complexity. models.
Decreasing product lifetime before Two build materials can be used, and lat-
obsolescence. ticework interiors are an option.
Decreasing delivery time. Filament of heated thermoplastic polymer
is squeezed out like toothpaste from a tube.
Rapid Prototyping improves product devel- Thermoplastic is cooled rapidly since
opment by enabling better communication in a the platform is maintained at a lower
concurrent engineering environment. temperature.

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Figure 11. Jewel development process inside RM environment

Figure 12. FDM extrusion head

obtained from the jewel model. The jewel model
prototype is then fabricated from the wax model
or other plastic materials. On the other hand, the
CNC micro-milling process can be used in mold
manufacturing. Thus, the virtual model (CAD) is
used by coping the replica of the negative piece to
be made, The Figure 13 shows CNC micro-milling
machine used in jewel model rapid prototyping.

Figure 13. CNC micro-milling machine used in

jewel rapid prototyping

Milling step not included and layer deposi-

tion is sometimes non-uniform so plane
can become skewed.
Make rapid progress in past few years and
be used widely

CNC Micro-Milling Process

A wax model of a jewel can be produced using

CNC machining techniques. The virtual model
(CAD) of the jewel created from digital data

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Different CNC machines can be used in rapid CONCLUSION

prototyping aided jewel manufacturing. In this
work, was chosen a small Roland desktop 3 axis Everything considered, the benefits of CAD/
machine, It can machine soft metal, wax or resin CAM systems in front of the traditional design
that can be vulcanized in rubber moulds. There and production process are clear, and the use
are two works ways; from the scratch (start draw- of these systems probably will increase in the
ing) and 3D scanning and modelling (reengineer- next years. Notwithstanding the jewel industry
ing). Figure 14 illustrates the stages from scanned modernization is only at the beginning. More and
jewel model to wax jewel model and finally more references about this subject are presented,
jewel prototype. bringing incentive to entrepreneurs to implement
This alternative offers quickly turnaround new technologies in the jewel industry. However,
metal mold prototypes and rapid prototyping for the CAD/CAM is not a simple new tool, but it
metal parts. Depending on material, timing re- includes some difficulties to learn an adequate
quirements, critical dimensions and post-machin- application. Problems like communication be-
ing operations, there are several different methods tween designer and production sector, including
that can be used to satisfy metal prototyping re- goldsmith, can be solved with the use of CAD3D.
quirements. CNC machining is the most common In the same way, the technical characteristics of
method to manufacture rapid metal prototypes. jewel are necessarily defined in the first stage of
Figure 15 shows a 3D model file and CNC machine design process. This integration between design
cutting tool path using CAD/CAM software. and production processes is the main benefit of
the new technology. On the other hand, it is a
great challenge to jewellery industry, especially
small and medium enterprises.

Figure 14. Wax jewel model manufactured through CNC micro-milling machine

Figure 15. 3D model file and CNC machine cutting tool path using CAD/CAM software

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

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Mold: The exact and perfect replica of the
KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS piece to be made, copied either from a design
or a piece/object. A mold is shaped around the
Computer Aided Design and Computer shape/figure with the help of casting process.
Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM): Systems Molds are made from many materials, including
are diverse software and hardware technolo- plaster compounds. Some different methods of
gies, used in many applications in industries like casting include the lost wax process, centrifugal
automotive, aerospace, mechanical and others. or investment casting, and sand casting.
One of the most important aspects of CAD/CAM Rapid Manufacturing: A computer technol-
implementation is the integration between differ- ogy, the embodiment of the concept that allows
ent areas of enterprise, like product development, defining elements or modules with well defined
production and assembly. interfaces and hooks in a way that the process of
Computer-Integrated Manufacturing manufacturing can be: developed in an independent
(CIM): An engineering approach for manufactur- manner, customized based on installation specific
ing, where computer technology controls differ- data, based on formal models of controller behav-
ent functions in the enterprise. The use of CIM iour, amenable to automatic generation of control
technology provides an effective communication software modules, and reconfigurable to adapt to
among design, analysis, planning, purchasing, cost changes in the environment through changes to data
accounting, inventory control, and distribution. and/or regeneration of control software.

Implementation of Rapid Manufacturing Systems in the Jewellery Industry in Brazil

Rapid Prototyping: A group of techniques, a CAD3D geometrical file, it is possible in a few

which has a vast application on several fields, hours to build functional prototypes of components
such as architecture, art, engineering and indus- or even production tools, known as Rapid Tools
trial design. Using these technologies, and from or Rapid Manufacturing (RM).

This work was previously published in Handbook of Research on Trends in Product Design and Development: Technological
and Organizational Perspectives, edited by Arlindo Silva and Ricardo Simoes, pp. 119-138, copyright 2011 by Business Sci-
ence Reference (an imprint of IGI Global)