A gem of a CAD solution
A Solid Edge-based design process is this jewelry maker’s strategy for profiting during lean times
Affordable diamond jewelry
Shiv Diamonds manufactures diamond-studded jewelry for international markets. Although the company’s history in diamond manufacturing dates back three decades, its move into diamond jewelry is a relatively recent development.With a product line that features diamond-studded fashion jewelry at incredibly low prices, Shiv Diamond’s goal is to satisfy all of its customers’ jewelry needs by: 1) offering an excellent product at competitive prices, 2) by providing timely delivery and 3) by filling customers’ orders within 24 hours.
Management’s challenge is to keep this business segment profitable during the ups and downs of the economy. Gold prices in the last two years have ranged from $350 to $900 per ounce, posing the challenge of how to maintain profit margins on the jewelry while still keeping prices affordable. In addition, as the costs of gas and food have risen in western countries, there have been drastic lifestyle changes in all sections of society as people cut back on their expenses. “The biggest challenge confronting us was bringing down the cost of the jewelry,” says Chandresh Jariwala, Shiv Diamonds’ managing director.
Speeding jewelry design
“Our strategy for holding down costs was to make our jewelry design process as fast as possible,” Jariwala continues. Previously, jewelry designers sketched designs for new pieces on paper, using input from various industry magazines, websites, newsletters, catalogues and so on. They colored the drawings to give them an authentic look and then presented them to management, who chose certain designs for production based on market demand. Prototypes were made in wax or silver. When a prototype was approved, rubber molds were created to mass-produce the piece.
To speed this process, Shiv Diamonds implemented a 3D jewelry design process based on the Solid Edge® design solution from Siemens PLM Software. Solid Vision, a value-added reseller of Siemens PLM Software provided all technical support for the implementation. Jewelry designers were able to combine 2D and 3D design techniques during the implementation of Solid Edge until they were comfortable with an all-3D process.
Today Solid Edge is used to develop prototypes for new jewelry pieces as well as for designing the models used to make the rubber molds. The company finds that it is much easier to create the fine details of a design using Solid Edge. It is also easier to come up with new designs quickly using Solid Edge functionality such as dynamic editing and part libraries.
Downstream processes have also been streamlined by the use of Solid Edge. “We use the Solid Edge viewer for design reviews to let management see pieces in 3D,” explains Jariwala. This helps with decision making. Manufacturing quality has increased by using Solid Edge models as input for a rapid prototyping machine. “Solid Edge supports all the rapid prototyping machines available in the industry and allows us to produce highly accurate master pieces,” Jariwala adds.
Faster, less expensive process
One of the key benefits of Solid Edge is that R&D time and costs are now lower for each new piece of jewelry. This has allowed the company to decrease the price of its jewelry to such an extent that it is affordable by a larger segment of the population even during the current market.
And while the prices are lower, the quality remains consistently high due to the level of precision made possible by Solid Edge. Another benefit of the new process is that the company’s collection of designs has grown significantly. “Every time when we launch new designs, customers expect to see something unique,” says Jariwala. “A design process based on Solid Edge makes this possible.”
The use of Solid Edge has also helped Shiv Diamond’s management address another one of its ongoing challenges – keeping its diamond inventory as low as possible. This is important because the company doesn’t want to be caught with a large inventory when the price goes down. The increase in sales that has resulted from the use of Solid Edge has increased inventory turnover. “This helps us to maintain our capital in the business,” says Jariwala.
Thanks to the success of Solid Edge, Shiv Diamonds is now looking at implementing CAM software to speed the manufacturing process.