Multinational printing firm HP has teamed up with precious metals specialist Legor Group to advance metals science and the production of stainless steel accessories for the jewelry and fashion sectors.
The partners will work together to develop innovative precious metal materials for HP’s Metal Jet system to provide speed, quality, and cost advantages for the rapid production of 3D printed jewelry and fashion accessories.
“Our vision for additive manufacturing goes beyond small series and prototyping,” said Massimo Poliero, President & CEO of Legor Group. “We see a future where every modern business will have one or more of HP’s state-of-the-art binder jetting printers in its facilities, enabled by Legor’s technology, design and support to reduce the time to market for both precious and non- precious metal parts.
“This strategic partnership with HP is the keystone to accelerate this vision and move the industry toward more sustainable manufacturing.”
3D printing jewelry
Additive manufacturing technologies are finding increasing use cases within the jewelry and fashion sectors, ranging from 3D printed molds and tooling to end-use consumer accessories.
Alongside HP, US 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems has also recognized the potential of 3D printing within the jewelry industry, having launched a new jewelry production element for its Figure 4 3D printing platform, and recently releasing its VisiJet Wax Jewel Red material specifically engineered to enable more intricate designs for jewelry production.
Elsewhere, the likes of Prodways have experienced a boom for its technologies within the jewelry sector, while INTAMSYS’ 3D printing technology has been deployed to fabricate more robust jewelry tooling.
3D printed jewelry has also made it onto the runway of Paris Fashion Week through Dutch artist Iris van Herpen’s “Cellchemy” face jewelry collection, 3D printed in partnership with TU Delft. Other renowned designers have also followed suit, with fashion accessory manufacturer Eddy Ricami making use of Voxel8’s ActiveLab 3D printing technology to create high end fashion accessories.
HP and Legor’s partnership
The strategic agreement between HP and Legor Group has seen the latter become the first to produce specialty precious metals for the production of jewelry and fashion accessories that are compatible with HP’s Metal Jet platform. HP recently confirmed the continued momentum of its binder jetting platform ahead of its commercial availability this year.
Through the partnership, the two companies will initially focus on enabling the production of functional stainless steel accessories for the jewelry and fashion markets. The firms will also carry out a substantial R&D effort to parameterize and characterize bronze, silver, and eventually gold, powders for jewelry 3D printing.
To this end, HP and Legor will work to optimize the printing and sintering parameters for the new materials, in addition to the surface finish of the end parts. The research efforts will take place at Legor’s new 3DMetalHub in Italy which is geared towards accelerating 3D printing for the luxury industry.
“Our work with Legor aligns perfectly with HP’s vision to disrupt manufacturing norms, accelerate digital manufacturing and sustainable impact for customers around the world,” said Didier Deltort, President of HP Personalization & 3D Printing. “The combination of our breakthrough Metal Jet 3D printing platform with Legor’s materials expertise and customer-centric approach will disrupt the luxury jewelry and fashion industries.
“This is an exciting milestone as we prepare to make Metal Jet more broadly available to the market later this year.”
The partnership will also enable Legor to offer its customers the cost, quality, and productivity advantages of HP’s Metal Jet platform alongside the chance of integrating a more sustainable manufacturing approach into their businesses. The combination of Metal Jet and the co-developed precious metal materials is expected to enable customers to economically manufacture high-quality metal parts at scale.
HP will be showcasing its latest Metal Jet parts at the upcoming AMUG Conference, taking place 3rd-7th April in Chicago.
“Producing metal powders and 3D metal objects is part of our DNA and we have always been collaborating with customers in the jewelry and fashion accessories world,” said Poliero. “The digital capabilities of HP Metal Jet provides an alternative method to the classic investment casting which requires the combustion of waxes or resins and the use of gypsum (calcium sulfate) as casting material, containing free breathable silica.
“It is our way to promote more robust and intentional sustainability into production processes.”
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Featured image shows Legor 3D printed Metal Jet parts. Picture via HP.