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Economical and quality enhancement of jewellery industry by improvement of investment casting procedures


European SME's jewellery manufacturers are facing a serious challenge on the global market. In order to face this challenge manufacturing technology and material have to be improved to make production more economically, to enable the appliance of new design, and to reduce the rejection rate. Improvements in investment casting technology promise a most significant effect on economy of jewellery manufacturing. It is the procedure most frequently used in industrial jewellery production. Approximately 79 % of the production is related to investment casting. This is the equivalent of about 2200 tonnes or an estimated value of 20.000 million ECU. Traditional casting methods can have rejection rates up to 20 or even 40 % in extreme cases which means an enormous economical loss. The main industrial aims of the project are * Enhancement of productivity and reduction of rejection rate in jewellery casting by the development of new and technically advanced production methods; * Improvement of manufacturing processes to enable the production of new designs in order to enhance the competitiveness of European jewellery industry The innovative approach of the project is given by two factors: First the use of advanced electronically controlled devices in developing optimised casting procedures. Second the consideration of alloy, investment (mould material) and casting procedure as a complex which has to be optimised as an entirety. The co-ordinated research project will lead to the following technical achievements: * Development of improved casting alloys with increased formfilling capacity, improved microstructure, and reduced tendency for micro-porosity. * Development of improved materials for mould making with increased chemical stability.* Development of optimised casting procedures The final step in the project will be profound testing of the developed procedures and materials under practical conditions. This will be perfumed in different casting shops with a variety of equipment and experience. The final achievement will consist in broad information on the reliability of the procedures. The proposers group consists of 3 research institutes with experience in investment casting and 8 experienced investment casters. This combination of research and practical users guarantees the actuality of the work to be performed. Also, the given transnational structure is important, since the casting procedure depends to a certain extent on jewellery design: The contribution of four nations is representing four typical European styles. The proposal addresses the following research areas according to the work programme Industrial and Materials Technologies (IMT): 1.1. Incorporation of new technologies into production systems 2.1. Materials Engineering

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