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Development of virtual jewellery shopping catalogues linked to CAD/CAM to increase product innovation

Objective

The aim of the project is to provide an innovative tool allowing Jewellery SMEs to increase production innovation while reducing production costs. This tool will help SMEs that represents the major part of the sector, to be competitive in the global market facing the Asian Jewellery that is able to produce a jewel 50% lower manpower price and forgery. Virtual shopping catalogues linked to CAD/CAM technology has the potential to increase product innovation, increase customer base while reducing production costs. The proposed system would allow customers to enter a virtual environment and select Jewellery components to create customised products. Thanks to the link with the supply chain, they would be able to immediately receive a three dimensional photorealistic image of their desired product, the price and also have the opportunity to place an order and few days later receive the product.

Work description:
The project will investigate, and develop a virtual reality environment and information management system that will directly and immediately convey the customer preferences to the Jewellery producer.

This will allow:
- A reduction of 80% the need for physical models;
- Gain of time in design;
- Better communication within the supply chain which induces gains of productivity;
- Reduction of stocks with the creation of a just in time flow;
- Better and quicker answer to the customer needs.

The project answers to the theme "New methods of work and electronic commerce" of the IST programme of FP5.It will enhance New Product Development and marketing processes in the Jewellery Industry. The implementation phase of the programme will focus on the development of a prototype system that integrates the customer, interacting with the virtual reality environment, to the Jewellery production supply chain.

The work programme will be divided in three main phases:
- Expression of requirements by the proposers : A survey of he partners customer base and supply chains will allow the definition of the system specification in terms of technological, functional and economic factors.
- Design and development of the system in the form of various sub-systems that will meet the requirements : Photographic VR system Jewellery builder system, ordering and pricing system, product specification, control and communication system and CAD/CAM and manufacturing system. This phase will include the integration, testing and refining of the complete system in a prototype form.
- Industrial validation of the tool to the jewellers to valid performance of the integrated system under realistic operationg condition.

Milestones:
Major milestones are:
- Design and development of sub systems;
- Test of the global system communicating properly;
- Industrial demonstration of the performances of the tool.

It is then expected to develop a new ICT system that will permit retailers and manufacturers to offer flexibility for customer made products in a cost-effective manner. The tool will first be used in the jewellery sector and by SMEs of the project. A software developer will be in charge of the production and exploitation. Other sectors will be investigated and first the giftware one with the involvement of one SME.
Under the VJSC Project, the Project Partners have conducted research and development which has resulted in the creation of a new method of work for the creation of new product designs, the manufacturing techniques and methods for creating mass-customised products and the method by which customers may convey design preferences instantly throughout the supply chain. Other outcomes of the research and development have resulted in the opportunity for Project Partners to increase their market share whilst also joining new markets currently closed to them through the use of the technology and techniques created under the VJSC Project and the implementation of a disintermediation strategy within the jewellery and giftware industries thus fully achieving the VJSC Projects original aims and objectives. The benefits and envisaged further development of the VJSC Project outcomes will enable European jewellery and giftware companies to compete within the global market, providing an opportunity to reach markets currently closed to them whilst adding value for existing and new customers that will build market share and increase profitability. It is envisaged that the results of the VJSC Project will be further developed into a commercial set of services and products for exploitation by the Project Partners to support and build European market share of the jewellery and giftware industries.

As a direct result of the activities undertaken by the partners of the VJSC Project, the following tangible outcomes have been achieved: Research outcomes: Jewellery Design Expert CAD Software The development of an industry specific CAD package for use in the jewellery and giftware sectors. A method by which a CAD software package may be controlled in real-time via an Internet page has been developed. XVQ Server and Java Software A new method to display CAD files and control their movements in real-time on an Internet page has been developed.

Jewellery Builder CAD Software A technique by which CAD files may be ‘combined’ to create a single product configuration has been developed. Jewel Database A method by which CAD files may be stored on a computer server has been developed to increase the value of individual files, further details see ‘database development’, below. The combination of the above five advances provides the ability to control a CAD software package via the Internet in order to define and generate a single CAD product through multiple combinations of existing CAD files – or ‘component’s - and display those designs via the Internet on a PC html or asp page or a PDA hand-held PC. Jewel Database Development A method of storage, or database, has been developed to add value to existing CAD components and increase their value in the supply chain. This has been achieved through the definition of flow of data and data requirements throughout the supply chain and adding those data to the database in order to create a fully functional manufacture to retail component/product database which may be further linked to existing manufacturing or retail systems for complete integration of the supply chain.

Manufacturing Strategy The methods of work relating to the development of new product designs and manufacture of customised product have been re-defined in order to incorporate the latest technological advances whilst achieving the objectives of the VJSC Project: reduce time to market for new product designs whilst also reducing product manufacturing cost. The outcome of which has been the development of an industry specific technology and process survey report. All of the tools and methodologies created under the VJSC Project have been validated within industry by the Project Partners and numerous invited expert guests. TIC and the Project Partners envisage the creation of a spin-out business from TIC to commercially exploit the outcomes

Funding Scheme

CRS - Cooperative research contracts

Coordinator

HEAN STUDIO LIMITED
Address
Shrubland
HR6 9QU Kingsland, Herefordshire
United Kingdom

Participants (8)

ALFRED TERRY LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
Reco House, 928 High Road, Finchley
N12 9RW London
ANTE REM S.R.L.
Italy
Address
Via Rossini 14
15048 Valenza
CARMEN PINTOR S.L.
Spain
Address
Carrer Sant Pere Mas Baix 11
08003 Barcelona
CELTIC IMPRESSIONS LIMITED
Ireland
Address
Lough Cutra Drive, Gort
Galway
DESKARTES OY
Finland
Address
Kalevankatu 3A
00100 Helsinki
INSTITUT CATALA DE TECNOLOGIA
Spain
Address
Calle Ciutat De Granada 131
08018 Barcelona
R. PLATNAUER LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
Nuvo House, Austin Way, Old Walsall Road
B42 1DU Birmingham
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION CENTRE
United Kingdom
Address
The University Of Central England In Birmingham Perry Bar
B42 2SU Birmingham