It’s Time to 3D Print Luxury Watches
IperionX and Panerai partner around advanced AM to prototype watch cases in an effort to promote sustainable luxury goods.
September 19, 2022
Luxury watches are designed with the highest quality precious metals and stones, feature superior craftsmanship, and in today’s modern world, are sometimes produced with the help of advanced additive manufacturing (AM).
Panerai, founded in 1860, is known for making watches that seamlessly meld Italian design flair and history with Swiss horological expertise. Its latest generation of luxury watches marries that long-standing heritage with a state-of-the-art manufacturing approach involving fully recycled titanium metal powders from partner IperionX and additive manufacturing technologies .
With a portfolio of breakthrough titanium products, IperionX’s mission is to be the leading developer of low carbon, sustainable, critical material supply chains focused on advanced industries, including space, aerospace, electric vehicles, and 3D printing. IperionX’s processes are designed to produce titanium products that are sustainable, 100% recyclable, and which offer a low-carbon intensity at product qualities that meet or exceed current industry standards.
For example, the company’s Hydrogen Assisted Metallothermic Reduction (HAMR) process is an energy-efficient thermochemical process that produces ether commercially pure (CP) or alloyed titanium powders at low cost and with low emissions. The firm’s Granulation-Sintering-Deoxygenation (GSD) thermochemical process produces spherical alloy powder that combines low-cost feedstock material with high-yield production—again, producing titanium alloy powders at a significantly lower cost than most commercial powders, company officials claim. Also key to Iperion’s portfolio is a synthetic rutile that upgrades lower content titanium dioxide ilmenite minerals into a high-grade titanium product without use of carbon reductants like coal, which are commonly used in the transformation process.
IperionX is producing these titanium metal powders from titanium scrap at its operational pilot facility with the goal of scaling production later this year.
As part of their collaboration, IperionX is working closely with the Panerai product teams to identify watch designs that could be produced using additive manufacturing methods combined with its low-carbon, recycled titanium metal powders. The company has produced prototype watch blanks for Panerai and will begin manufacturing of a watch case for a limited edition design slated for market release in 2023. The partners will continue to work on joint watch designs.
IperionX called out the significance of the partnership, saying it highlights the potential for titanium applications in the fast-growing luxury goods market. IperionX aims to establish a low-carbon, closed loop and circular supply of titanium, which it claims is superior to existing aluminum and stainless steel applications in this market.
“This deomonstrates the potential in other consumer-facing sectors, which are demanding fully recycled and sustainable, low-carbon materials,” noted Anastasios (Taso) Arima, CEO and managing director of IperionX. “One of the most existing sectors are the high-growth markets in smart watch, wearable device, and smartphone markets.”
Check out this video to learn more about IperionX’s titanium processes.
About the Author
Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].Follow DE