IMO: Previously Unthinkable Shapes in Jewelry Thanks to 3D Printing
With the Projet 2500 Wax printer, this long-experienced company seamlessly integrates additive manufacturing into traditional lost-wax casting processes.
Innovation and craftsmanship in the production of high-end jewelry
IMO srl is a company based in Vicenza, in the heart of Italy’s goldsmith district. Its history began in 1968, more than 50 years ago. Over this time IMO has transformed itself and optimized its production processes in order to respond to the needs of the market and to keep up with the times.
In the beginning, IMO’s reference products were bracelets for watches, later the company switched to the production of its own complete lines of gold cases and bracelets, thus specializing in the production of high quality mechanical components.
With the generational handover, IMO has further renewed itself by diversifying its production and specializing in high-end jewelry. Today IMO is a reference supplier for the most important jewelry brands.
The company carries out the complete jewelry manufacturing process in-house: starting from the raw material, IMO draws the metal bars, does the machining and the 3D printing. Even the processes of investment casting, assembly and finishing take place in-house. To have the entire process carried out and executed by our own experts is definitely an added value, because this allows us to offer the customer answers in a shorter time. IMO does the 3D modeling and makes objects with particular designs that its clients require on order.
3D Printing to Speed up Responses to Customers
In the past, samples were made using traditional systems, i.e. investment casting or numerical control machines, and the jewel development time required was very long.
A decade ago, IMO decided to introduce 3D printing to the company for the first time, with the aim of speeding up the response to its customers, who were requesting samples ever more quickly.
Lead times were reduced, but the first 3D printer they purchased only made a few parts at a time. Business needs continued to grow, and a more productive machine was needed.
“We learned about 3DSystems’ Projet 2500 Wax 3D printer. It’s a very fast machine that not only allows us to make a prototype in a short amount of time, but even to mass-produce, ensuring the highest quality, always.”
With the purchase of this 3D printer, the time needed to have the sample in hand has been drastically reduced: it has gone from several days (or in some cases even weeks) to a single day. “If, ten years ago, the introduction of 3D printing was a huge innovation, today,” says Gianni Corrado of IMO, “it would be unthinkable to do without a 3D printer.
We met 3DZ when we purchased this machine, and we were impressed with their professionalism and technical support.
The experts at 3DZ recommended this printer because of the quality of the wax models it delivers. The M2 Cast wax is 100% meltable. The soluble support material does not affect the areas to which it adheres, thus ensuring excellent surface quality. The Projet 2500 Wax is also characterized by large print volumes, high speed, high resolution and a print layer of only 16 microns.
“Now the Projet 2500 Wax printer is used on a daily-basis, because of the great benefits it gives us.”
Gianni Corrado, CEO – IMO
3D printing allows you to design your objects with maximum geometric freedom. And with the Projet 2500 Wax, you can transform your designs into reality. This printer is designed to produce, even in high volumes, without ever compromising on quality. The pieces obtained are 100% wax, and perfectly integrate into the standard lost wax casting process, ensuring a reliable result every time.
Michele Toniolo, Director of IMO, says: “3D printing allows us to create objects that would be impossible to obtain with traditional systems: jewels with particular hollows, undercuts, very complex geometries. And we obtain all this saving costs and time. With the 2500 Wax you can automatically create a very easy support system that does not leave any trace on the printed parts. Removing the supports is extremely easy and the resulting parts have excellent quality.”
“Starting with a sketch, we then create the 3D drawing. The file is sent to the printer, which makes the prototype. We then proceed by melting the wax with investment casting, and before long we have the part in hand.
Here at IMO’s the printer runs day and night, continuously. And in our absence the machine autonomously retrieves the files that are in the print queue. Today it would be unthinkable to do without a 3D printer.”