Plastics News South Africa

Watches Made from Metal Powder

Generative laser melting process for watches and jewellery

Designer watches made from metal powder with special surfaces
Italian designer Umberto Palermo presents watch collection

Turin (I), 25.07.2012: What do you envisage under post-industrial design for the urban environment? Designer Umberto Palermo from Turin has taken inspiration from this motto to create a watch collection entitled WATCH-UP using the generative additive manufacturing process on metals. The unusual look was presented to the public as part of a charity event called "Event for a Smile" on 1st of June 2012. At the fund-raising event, Umberto Palermo and Santo Versace, President of the Operation Smile Italia Onlus Foundation, welcomed their guests on the roof terrace of Up Design, which is based in Turin.


Design watches made from metal powderUmberto Palermo, Italian designer and President of the company Up Design works together with companies such as Fiat, Faw, Indesit, Scholtes, Hotpoint, Ariston Thermo, Cantieri Rodriquez, and Politecnico di Torino. Palermo presents UP Design at international design fairs such as Frankfurt 2011, Milan 2012 and at the motor shows Auto Shanghai 2011 and Qatar Motor Show 2012.

New ideas
Inspired by the idea of giving shape to abstract ideas, Umberto Palermo began to focus on designing exclusive products. "I wanted to develop a new, unusual design language for objects which are based on completely new fabrication methods. The result of this work was shown off by Palermo in Turin: The BIKE-UP collection, a new bicycle made from carbon and WATCH-UP, a series of watches produced generatively from metal powder without any casting or milling.


WATCH-UP: Metal powder is turned into a watch
generative laser melting process for watches and jewelleryThe innovative basic idea behind the WATCH-UP watch collection lies in the fabrication of the entire watch-case using the generative LaserCUSING process. In order to give shape to Palermo's idea of creating a unique watch, he familiarised himself with all the possibilities offered by this process. Umberto Palermo: "It is very unusual to suddenly be able to choose almost any geometry you want. For a designer, this is of course a huge opportunity to design things with such a high level of aesthetic appeal. The freedoms of design which the laser melting of metals allows initially astounded me and then they inspired me," says Umberto Palermo in outlining his impressions. Nine complete watch-cases in the WATCH-UP collection were made in a single fabrication step on an M1 cusing machine at Concept Laser in Lichtenfels. Ridix, sales partner of Concept Laser, from near Turin helped to bridge the technological gap from Germany to Italy.


Hardness combines with softness
For UP Design, the advantage of this process was firstly the ability to quickly makeadjustments to the design of the finished model if necessary. Secondly, use of the additive manufacturing technology made it possible, without any great additional outlay, to obtain the desired surface structure which Watch designcould only have been produced with a very great amount of outlay using a conventional method. "The surface presents a look of leather and fabric, which acts as a symbol of uniqueness worn on the wrist. For me, it has a very striking and timeless aesthetic appeal when the hardness and the material properties of metal combine, figuratively speaking, with the softness from the tanneries of Florence," says Umberto Palermo in explaining his idea. Palermo still sees plenty of potential for other projects involving metal objects which will allow unusual things to be created from powder by means of LaserCUSING.




Caption 0 (lead picture): WATCH-UP watch collection from Umberto Palermo

Caption 1: Umberto Palermo: "The surface has a look of leather and fabric, which acts as a symbol of uniqueness worn on the wrist. For me, it has a very striking and timeless aesthetic appeal when the hardness and the material properties of metal combine with the softness from the tanneries of Florence."

Caption 2: Umberto Palermo and Santo Versace, President of the Operation Smile Italia Onlus Foundation, present two new design collections.

Concept Laser at Euromold 2012: hall 10 booth D88        

Information and contacts        

Foundation Operation Smile Italia Onl:

Up Design
Umberto Palermo DESIGN s.r.l.
Corso Tazzoli, 235
I-10137 Turin, Italy
Phone: +39 011 198 54 416

Ridix S.p.A.
Mr. Alessandro Zito
Grugliasco (TO)
Phone 011 4027511



Concept Laser GmbH
An der Zeil 8
D-96215 Lichtenfels

Phone              +49 (0) 95 71 / 949 - 238
Fax                  +49 (0) 95 71 / 949 - 249

Press contact:

Ilona Scholl

Phone:             +49 (0) 95 71 / 949 - 241


Background info on LaserCUSING®       

The LaserCUSING® process, a metal laser melting process, is used to produce metallic components which can be subjected to mechanical and thermal loading with high precision. Depending on the application, the materials used are high-grade and tool steels, aluminium or titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, cobalt-chromium alloys and in future precious metals such as gold and silver will also be used.


Description of the process
LaserCUSING® involves fine metallic powder being locally fused by a highly energetic fibre laser. Following cooling, the material solidifies. The contour of the component is produced by directing the laser beam using a mirror deflecting unit (scanner). The component is built up layer by layer (with a layer thickness of 20 – 50 μm) by lowering the bottom of the installation space, applying more powder and melting again. The special feature about the machines from Concept Laser is stochastic navigation of the slice segments (also referred to as "islands") which are processed successively. The patented process ensures a significant reduction in stresses within the component. For single-part fabrication, a maximum installation space of 300 mm x 350 mm x 300 mm is available.


Overview of Concept Laser               

Concept Laser GmbH is an independent company that forms part of Hofmann Innovation Group GmbH from Lichtenfels (Germany). Since the company was founded in 2000, it has worked across different sectors as a driving innovator in the field of metal laser melting technology using the patented LaserCUSING® process.

The term LaserCUSING®, made up of the letter C from Concept Laser and the word MELTING (complete melting), describes the technology used: the fusion process generates components layer by layer using 3D CAD data.

The generative process allows complex component geometries to be produced without the use of any tools right through to complex structural geometries which are very difficult to produce, if they can be produced at all, using conventional techniques.

The LaserCUSING® process allows the fabrication of both mould inserts with close-contour cooling and direct components for the jewellery, medical, dental, automotive and aerospace sectors. Both prototypes and mass-produced parts are manufactured.

Standard machines and customer-specific machine concepts for the LaserCUSING® of metals are on offer. Full service as an option at Concept Laser means that customers can purchase machines for their own independent LaserCUSING® application, or access services and development expertise (prototypes and small batches) directly.

The laser processing machines from Concept Laser process powder materials from high-grade and tool steels, reactive aluminium or titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, cobalt-chromium alloys and in future will also process precious metals such as gold and silver.

LaserCUSING® opens up new perspectives in terms of quality, reproducibility, economic viability and speed for more efficient product development in sectors such as:

- Jewellery
- Medical and dental technology
- Aerospace industry
- Tool and mould making
- Automotive/motor racing
- Mechanical engineering

The machines make it possible to shorten development times and reduce development costs considerably. The key benefits of LaserCUSING® include greater freedom of geometry, coupled with much greater flexibility in terms of product development. Another central advantage of the process is the opportunity to produce components without the use of tools and the obviation of the machine programming associated with this.
The high quality standards, many years of experience and references of Concept Laser are synonymous with process-reliable and cost-effective solutions which demonstrate their efficiency in everyday production. Thanks to ongoing further development, the unit costs of the generative process are constantly being reduced.

In 2011, Hofmann Innovation Group GmbH generated sales of EUR 60 million with 500 employees.

Masterbatch SA

Premier Packaging
KraussMaffei Injection Moulding Machines
Toyota Tsusho - Resins for plastic interior and exterior moldings

Nissei ASB - Injection Stretch Blow Moulding Machines
Dynamic Plastics
Maritime Marketing Distributors of Plastics Machinery
Refurbish and Manufacture Barrels and Screws and Supply Extrusion Equipment
Engel Injection Moulding Machines