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Towards a more efficient and sustainable goldsmith production: the current adoption of Additive Manufacturing technology in the Valenza district.

Francesca Guido

Towards a more efficient and sustainable goldsmith production: the current adoption of Additive Manufacturing technology in the Valenza district.

Rel. Luigi Benfratello, Paolo Claudio Priarone. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Gestionale (Engineering And Management), 2021

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Although before it was difficult to imagine that new technologies might have disrupted the classical way of manufacturing things, now innovative techniques and tools have revolutionized the approach to the product development process as traditionally conceived. This paper focuses on investigating such change witnessed in the Italian goldsmith industry due to the adoption of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies. A general overview of the main AM technologies developed is detailed in chapter 1. The classification of the techniques available is accompanied with a brief description of the fields where they have found a meaningful application. Likewise, chapter 2 introduces the Italian goldsmith industry in general terms. Some data about the National import and export of jewels are provided to give an idea of the principal market trends like sales volumes. In doing so, the pandemic and the lockdown periods which have damaged the global economy have been taken into consideration as well. Moreover, the three largest goldsmith districts in Italy i.e. Arezzo, Valenza Po and Vicenza have been analysed both from an historical and an economic point of view. Chapter 3 discusses the most popular production processes diffused among the goldsmith companies. The ancient Lost Wax Casting, the Direct Investment Casting and the Selective Laser Melting are compared to highlight the strengths and the weakness of each. Then, chapter 4 goes through the advantages of AM technologies in greater detail. “Complexity for free”, iterative design and easy product customization are just few from the list of benefits that enterprises can achieve as to improve their time-to-market and competitiveness. Nonetheless, there are still different challenges to tackle. The capital investment in equipment, materials and employees training is the first critical point; the production rate is not fast enough; post-processing operations are usually necessary to ensure the desired surface quality. Furthermore, in order to assess the attitude of Italian goldsmith firms towards these technologies, a survey has been carried out in the province of Alessandria as representative of the whole sector. The aim of the questionnaire shared with enterprises was trying to investigate whether companies are reacting in an active or passive manner; if they think that benefits overweight costs or vice versa; what is their sensitivity to sustainable manufacturing topic. The analysis of the responses collected is explained in chapter 5. In the light of the data obtained from the questionnaire about enterprises responsiveness to sustainability issues, it has been added in chapter 6 a final discussion on this recent hot topic. Going for AM technologies opens up several possibilities of reducing the environmental impact of production activities. Materials savings, reduction of scrap, lightweight products and improved recyclability of printed objects are acknowledged as the best contributors to the attempts by firms of lowering their carbon footprint. However, there is still a diffused scepticism among goldsmith companies. They fear most the uprise of energy consumed by printers, the costs for machinery maintenance and disposal of scrap produced, though in smaller quantities, but several possible solutions are already under investigation. Finally, despite these limits to be still overcome, AM technologies represent solid grounds for exploring how to further optimize the efficiency and the sustainability of goldsmith production processes in the future.

Relators: Luigi Benfratello, Paolo Claudio Priarone
Academic year: 2021/22
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 121
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Gestionale (Engineering And Management)
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-31 - MANAGEMENT ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/21391
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