XJet, based in Israel, develops and produces 3D printing solutions for ceramics and metals, and its systems have been used in a variety of applications, including medical and dental, machinery, automotive, and even consumer goods like earbuds, and now high-end fashion. The company has announced a major collaboration with Italian group XOLUTIONS, which acquired the XJet Carmel 1400M to meet the growing demand from customers for quality stainless steel accessories. XJet’s metal AM solution will be used by XOLUTIONS to foster research and development on using this technology to make jewelry in the fashion and luxury sector.
As AM Research explains in its research and forecast report for “3D Printing Jewelry Markets,” 3D printing has a long-established history in the very profitable jewelry space, which is expected to reach $989 million in 2031. The technology has been used for everything from molds and casting patterns to the actual pieces themselves, like watch parts and bands, rings, necklaces, and more. Increased demand for unique, more sustainable avenues led XOLUTIONS to consider ways to improve its value proposition, and the Italian group decided to offer its fashion accessory manufacturer clients a very helpful solution to meet this demand. That’s where XJet, and its NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) technology, comes in.
“We’re delighted to be a part of XOLUTIONS’ journey towards more sustainable production, and eagerly anticipate the creations that will emerge from this collaboration,” said Andrew Middleton, Chief Business Officer for XJet. “XJet’s presence in this industry underscores the quality of pieces NanoParticle Jetting can produce.”
XOLUTIONS, a “cornerstone” of the jewelry and fashion accessories market in Italy, is made up of two other Italian companies: Bluclad S.p.A., a leader in electroplating solutions for metal accessories in luxury fashion, and Progold S.p.A, which sets the standards in alloys and master alloys for jewelry manufacturing. According to Damiano Zito, CEO of Progold, some of the most important factors XOLUTIONS considered when looking for a new jewelry and accessories manufacturing partner were surface smoothness and resolution, and XJet can offer that in spades.
“XJet technology fits the needs of the luxury market perfectly,” explained Zito. “The surface finish and the resolution – crucial for this market – that is achieved by NanoParticle Jetting is a step change above what any other AM technology can deliver. There’s just no comparison.”
What’s interesting about XJet’s NPJ technology is that it’s powderless. It’s a material jetting—not binder jetting—process based on nanoparticles suspended in a liquid dispersion, and XJet’s systems have printheads with thousands of inkjet nozzles, which jet millions of ultrafine drops simultaneously to enable complex designs at “any density you desire.” Then, its water-based SMART (Support Material Automatic Removal Technology) station automates post-processing by dissolving the soluble support material, and finished parts are sintered overnight.
“Uniqueness is highly valued in this industry. We’re long-time users of AM technology, so we understand the freedom of design and fast time-to-market it delivers. The versatility of AM technology makes it ideal for both niche productions and limited editions, as well as for significant productions well-suited to the typical volumes of the fashion accessory sector,” Zito said. “In high-end fashion, consumers crave beautiful, custom pieces. This is exactly where XJet excels. Its technology facilitates the creation of highly intricate and attractive pieces in small batches, enabling high definition, shortened production cycle, and higher adaptability to various customization needs.”
At the recent Vicenzaoro Jewellery Boutique Show in Vicenza, Italy, the partnership between XJet and XOLUTIONS was officially launched. A collection of stainless steel fashion accessory parts and jewelry, 3D printed on the XJet Carmel 1400M system, was on display at the XOLUTIONS stand. You could see rings, watch bands or bracelets, and what appeared to be purse or belt clasps.
What an exhilarating weekend at @xVicenzaOro!
Our stainless steel #fashion accessory parts took the stage at XOLUTIONS’ booth, showcasing fine texture and surface smoothness are no accident – they’re the result of our unique NanoParticle Jetting technology. @ProgoldSpA pic.twitter.com/KkqziCI3Hh
— XJet (@XJet_3d) January 22, 2024
I think that embellishing high-fashion accessories like purses and belts in this way is a really great use of 3D printing. There is definitely a leather crisis in fashion, and while there are people working to create more sustainable accessories, not all companies are equipped to take on this large problem. Fashion is about individualism, and 3D printing embellishments like the one below, as well as jewelry, are great ways to customize pieces.
“Since the day I met XJet, the passion for their craft has been evident,” Zito concluded. “This is apparent in the capital they have invested in R&D, with 16 printers in their Additive Manufacturing Centre testing new applications, and this reflects the values we have at XOLUTIONS. I know we will be great partners.”
Images courtesy of XJet.
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