Chris Hewitt of Hewitt Jewellery Equipment Ltd pays a visit to A Gleadall & Sons.
Chris had the pleasure of making a visit to A Gleadall & Sons, based in the Big Peg, Hockley to find out how well they are doing with their new Neutec USA tabletop ‘Studio 60’ laser welder which they purchased from Hewitt JEL & Robotech Developments in May 2008.
A Gleadall & Sons is owned by Nigel Gleadall and his daughter Alex and is a wonderful example of an old established family business looking to the future with new technology and techniques of jewellery repair and manufacture, without losing that old fashioned customer service for which so many Jewellery Quarter based companies are renowned.
The business was started by Nigel’s great uncle in the 1930’s, who was bought out by his brother, Nigel’s grandfather Alan Gleadall.
Their original business was making bangles and lockets. These skills have been passed on through the generations to Nigel and now to Alex, where they use them mostly for repairs to antique and modern jewellery, as well as special bespoke assignments.
They supply a lot of retail jewellery shops and jewellery quarter customers. They work in all alloys, including platinum, gold and silver.
I asked them why they decided to look at buying a laser machine and Nigel’s answer was typical of his forward-looking approach to his business and customer service. He wanted to be able to continue to offer the best possible service to his customers, and new technology such as laser welding will allow them to do this.
They decided to buy the Neutec ‘Studio 60’ from us, as this machine represented the best value for money, with more than enough laser power, (even for silver) and with its small size it would easily fit into their workshop. It can be plugged into a 13 amp socket and being water cooled it can run all day. The fact that we are only up the motorway in Stoke-on-Trent, should anything go wrong was also an important consideration.
When you look at some of the laser welding work Gleadalls are doing, you can see exactly how their new laser has allowed them to give a better service to their customers.
For example, I saw at least three very important types of welding, some of which were impossible without the laser and others where the work has been made much easier.
There is the Indian 22 karat brooch, which is made up of very fine filigree work, which when broken can only be repaired using the fine welding of the laser. A conventional torch would have melted the fine filigree metal and ruined the piece.
Then there is the antique brooch with pearls. This piece required one of its claws to be repaired, without causing any damage to the rest of the piece or removing the pearls. The laser was able to weld on the new claw without removing or damaging the pearls and without the need afterwards to clean up the area of work which was so small.
Then there is the re-sizing work which Nigel does for silver, platinum, and gold rings. The laser makes this work much easier to carry out than using the more conventional torch methods. Even fairly thick silver rings for example can be re-sized using the ‘Studio 60’ laser, despite the problems associated with silver’s high reflectivity. The machine has more than enough power for working on silver as well as all other precious and non-precious metals.
There are many more examples of how Gleadalls are using the laser to help them carry out jobs that before were more difficult to do. I was very pleased to hear that the laser had exceed their expectations!
They were also very pleased with the high level of service we provided, and the fact that we are only 40 minutes away in Stoke-on-Trent, is a great comfort to them, if any problems arise that require our support. We are able to service all the lasers we supply, and if necessary carry out maintenance work either on site or at our factory.
Training is also provided on the day of delivery, which allows customers to start using their laser to achieve the results now being achieved by A Gleadall & Son.
Please contact Chris on 01785 815800 or look at their web site www.hewitt-impex.co.uk for more details on their range of Neutec lasers and other casting equipment and supplies. They will also be showing the full range of Neutec laser welders and other casting and finishing equipment at the next NEC Spring show in February 2009 on stand F43 in hall 17.
A Gleadall & Son Ltd www.jewellery-repairs.com can be contacted on 0121 233 3865 or email , and they would be pleased to show anyone their laser and discuss laser welding work.