Italian jewellery manufacturing with 3D Systems and 3DZ
‘La Protofusione’ – Vicenza, Italy
Jewellery can be considered one of the industry in which 3D printing already moved from prototyping to production. Indeed, we can consider the two phases as a single process. A professional jewelry company located in Veneto (Italy) – one of the main centers for the jewellery manufacturing – identifies this process with the term “protofusione”, a term they also use as brand of the company itself.
The history of this company has been marked by Sandro Festa (from 3DZ, a leading European distributor of 3D Systems). The “protofusione” indeed gives us an example of how much 3D printing is already able to change the traditional manufacturing processes. The “protofusione” is, basically, a kind of lost-wax casting. It all starts with a digital model, then goes through the 3D Systems printers (Projet 3500 series), and then get to the investment casting.
“The company name comes from a manufacturing process which may be considered as the highest level of development we achieved in making jewelry,” said Andrea Anastrelli, founder of the company. His passion for 3D printing started in 1998 and then definitively exploded in 2002 when, during the exhibition ‘Vicenza Oro’, he met for the first time the VIPER 3D printer.
“Today we are finally able to create jewels that were impossible to do only a few years ago, with incredibly thin walls, clear shapes and precise details, all in a shorter time and with a progressive reduction in costs,” said Anastrelli. Digital modeling allows jewelry makers to get a clear vision of how the final product will be. Now we can create the wax model by investment casting without the need of any intermediate steps.
“From completely manual, the jewellery manufacturing process moved to an entirely digital one. 3D printing technology helps us to compete in a global market affected by a deep economical crisis. Just think that among 2600 brands existing until a few years ago, only about 400 survived. The versatility of the high-resolution printers by 3D Systems, provided by 3DZ, allowed to better address the national and international competitors.”
In this way ‘La Protofusione‘ is now able to manufacture not only the prototype, but several dozens of models on a single printing plate; and now that metal 3D printing is getting increasingly accessible, companies like Protofusione will start to take advantage of this revolutionary technology. And 3D Systems, among others, provides printers that can do that too.