Narsakka, a traditional Finnish goldsmith company, has adopted 3D Systems’ solution for 3D printing wax patterns for direct jewelry casting. Developed to produce jewelry casting patterns that fit into standard lost wax casting processes, the addition of this 3D printing solution has helped Narsakka increase productivity with consistent quality outcomes and maintain better design and production flexibility to answer evolving customer demands.
“With the quality of the wax material we print with, we get a 100% success rate – every part comes out perfect.”
- Thomas Narsakka, Manager at Narsakka
CONSISTENT QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY IN JEWELRY MANUFACTURING
Lost wax casting is a trusted method of jewelry production that yields beautiful, high quality results. However, traditional methods of producing the sacrificial wax patterns are time consuming and labor intensive. Traditional processes have multiple stages that invite the possibility of error, increased costs, and delays. By transitioning to 3D Systems’ jewelry wax printing solution, one of Narsakka’s goals was to remove this variability to ensure better quality outcomes.
Changing consumer habits also motivated Narsakka to transition to a digital jewelry workflow. In response to the abundance of options the average consumer can find online, Narsakka’s retailer customers have changed their purchasing behavior, placing smaller orders in only a few sizes and making up the difference with on demand production as needed.
01 EXPERT PARTNER CONSULTANCY
Narsakka was familiar with 3D technologies from having used 3D design software for more than 20 years. To tap into the prototyping and production side via 3D printing, Narsakka used 3D printing services to test the waters. Once the digital workflow had been proven, Narsakka partnered with PLM Group, part of 3D Systems’ authorized reseller network of experts, to implement its own in-house solution. PLM Group has 20 years’ experience helping its customers build capabilities to deliver high quality products faster, better, and more cost-effectively.
“We realized that there were 3D printers on the market that could match our demands for build size, printing speed, and quality,” said Narsakka. “As we had prior knowledge in 3D printing, it was an obvious choice for us, not least when we saw that we could produce hundreds of wax parts in a couple of hours.”
02 PURE WAX 3D PRINTING
Casting pattern quality is a key success factor in the quality of the final casting. 3D Systems’ ProJet® MJP 2500W 3D printer prints in 100% wax and was developed to produce jewelry casting patterns that fit into the standard lost wax casting process. Combined with the pure wax VisiJet® M2 CAST material, this digital workflow solution consistently delivers true-to-CAD fidelity and fine feature definition jewelry patterns with 100% ash burnout. The smooth surface and sidewall quality enable a faster pattern-to-finished piece workflow with less handwork, helping Narsakka reduce lead times from weeks to days for more efficient iteration and production.
“It’s […] easier for us to calculate lead times and production cost. 3D printing basically gives us more control of our business.”
- Thomas Narsakka, Manager at Narsakka
03 STREAMLINED FILE-TO-PATTERN WORKFLOW
Narsakka is taking advantage of 3D Systems’ end-to-end jewelry workflow, which spans from software to printer to post-processing operations. 3D Sprint® software offers advanced capabilities to streamline the file-to-pattern workflow with tools for print file preparation and optimization, including automatic support generation, and optimized part placement to maximize the productivity of the build with high volume batches. 3D Systems’ jewelry solution uses dissolvable and meltable supports, enabling batch support removal for quick access to ready-to-cast patterns. In just four hours, Narsakka can produce 60-100 wax parts, which has shortened its lead times dramatically – from weeks to days.
04 FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION
In addition to using the ProJet MJP 2500W for high volume production batches, Narsakka is taking advantage of the ability to offer mass customized options and implement on-the-fly design changes. In this regard, the company has found its digital workflow to be perfect for shorter runs and more specialized production of bespoke jewelry. “Nowadays, customers want more specific items, and have more individual tastes,” said Narsakka. Because of the flexibility of its 3D printing solution, the jeweler is now able to tailor its offering to match customer demand, which has opened up new business opportunities along with unlimited design possibilities for the most creative styles.