What is the role of metal additive manufacturing in the fashion and luxury goods industry?
Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, has many years of experience as product development and prototyping tool. In contrast, industrial applications of additive manufacturing are limited to niche industries when the manufacturing stage is involved. Additive manufacturing and metal additive processes are now increasingly used in the aerospace, medical and defence industries. Most of these parts are high value-added components manufactured in limited quantities. But the energy and fashion industries are also among the most promising areas.
Role Of Metal Additive Manufacturing In Fashion & Luxury Goods Industry?
The luxury goods market covers many different categories, including haute couture, fashion, high-end accessories (watches, jewellery, etc.), yachts, cars, statues, decorative objects, and many others.
As a whole, the value of the luxury market has increased significantly over the last 10 years. The main challenge for this sector is to attract an increasingly diverse and sophisticated clientele while offering each client a unique and exceptional experience. Faced with all these new trends, these new lifestyles, these new cultures and the creativity that characterizes the world of luxury, it is necessary to stand out and innovate. Thus, to adapt to the wishes of customers, the luxury industry has chosen an innovative manufacturing technique: metal additive manufacturing.
Metallic additive manufacturing: for which sectors of luxury?
There are too many possible applications for all details. Nowadays, artists, jewellers and designers use metal additive manufacturing in different ways to produce – among other things:
- Luxury watches like Omega Watches
- High-end glasses frames
- Fashion clothes and accessories
Additive manufacturing stimulates the creativity of designers, and the increased availability of high-quality powders and additive processes for precious metals contribute to the emergence of new, highly creative designs for gold watches, silver jewellery, and more. still, extremely light frames made of titanium.
Some of these applications concern fashion accessories, but also all kinds of portable connected objects, belted watches: for example Belt, the smart belt invented by Emiota. The belt is able to self-adjust with a 3D printed loop. This is the first belt with artificial intelligence that can adapt to the various daily activities of the wearer.
What are the benefits of additive manufacturing for the luxury goods market?
Unlike the automotive and aeronautics and space manufacturing sectors, penetration of the luxury goods market is much easier for additive manufacturing. Indeed, the main defects inherent in additive manufacturing such as the anisotropy of the materials and the roughness of the surfaces are much less problematic because these surfaces are neither made to bear heavy loads, nor to undergo a phenomenon of mechanical fatigue; in addition, these surfaces are often covered with a coating for aesthetic reasons. The luxury market highlights the different benefits of additive manufacturing – from the point of view of industry and consumers, with the latter segment developing further.
Additive manufacturing: unparalleled freedom of design that gives free rein to the creativity of designers
Additive manufacturing offers a wide range of opportunities to the high-end fashion industry. Designers benefit directly from the possibilities offered by additive manufacturing, freeing themselves from the constraints of forms generally associated with traditional creation and assembly. It is possible to create complex interwoven or intertwined structures.
Among other things, metal additive manufacturing allows jewellers and watchmakers to enjoy total freedom when creating extremely sophisticated objects made of precious metals.
Additive manufacturing: streamlined production for faster marketing.
Additive manufacturing has the potential to directly influence the economic factors in the production of jewellery, timepieces or other luxury goods. It makes it possible to rationalize manufacturing processes and significantly reduce the time required between the design and the final production of the product.
In fact, additive manufacturing requires no tools and makes it possible to quickly and cost-effectively produce individual parts or custom-made products. In comparison, it takes several weeks to produce sophisticated metal tools, which necessarily has a significant impact on the final cost of the product.