An intensive three-day laser welding masterclass and evening seminar recently organised by the Technology and Training Department of the Goldsmiths’ Company as part of its ongoing support for the craft and industry, proved to be a resounding success and attracted overwhelming interest from the trade.
The first of a developing programme of industry related events and training opportunities organised by the department saw 12 delegates undertaking three days of intensive training in laser welding techniques. In addition to the masterclass held at Goldsmiths’ Hall from Tuesday 25 to Thursday 27, March, 2003, more than 200 members of the trade, almost three times more than originally expected, attended the evening seminar which focused on the general application of lasers within the industry.
Peter Taylor, Director of the Technology and Training Department, said: “We were absolutely delighted with the extremely positive reaction from people who attended the event. The aim of the Masterclass and Seminar programme is to give members of the trade access to relevant and current information from experts in a variety of fields, to encourage networking opportunities between companies and individuals and to highlight the Company’s increasing role as a technical and training resource for the industry here in the UK. I believe that the success of the event provides us with a solid base on which to build future activity. The use of laser technology within the industry is still in its infancy, however the overwhelming response to the Goldsmiths’ Company’s laser seminar and masterclass suggested that the trade is fully aware of its potential to revolutionise future jewellery production. Laser technology is already being used for general marking, hallmarking, welding and cutting.”
Leading the Masterclass were experts in laser welding techniques, namely the prize-winning German jewellery maker, Tom Rucker, also known as ‘Mr Laser’ and Ann-Marie Carey, a Research Fellow at the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre in Birmingham.
Each of the 12 attendees on the Masterclass, all from the jewellery trade, left after three days of intensive highly focused instruction with a considerably higher level of aptitude and greater awareness of the potential of the laser within the industry. The jeweller Malcolm Betts, said: “The course was most enjoyable and enlightening. From now on I will be experimenting with designs incorporating laser technology and in due course will think of buying a laser machine for my own workshop.” Dan Dower of jewellers Dower and Hall, added: “It was a very positive experience and also a useful forum to exchange ideas with fellow jewellers -just like being back at college!”
At the evening symposium, held on Wednesday, March 26, each of the presentations helped give the audience a broad picture of the application of lasers within the industry.
Dave MacLellan who works for the laser producing company Rofin-Baasel began with an overview of the laser and explained its capabilities and usages in a variety of industries. This was followed by a summary delivered by Ann-Marie Carey on the subject of laser marking options available to the jewellery industry. Dr Sarah Silve then explained the process and ongoing research into the complex but fascinating subject of laser forming. A visual display of laser welding techniques exemplified by the brilliant innovative work of Tom Rucker concluded the presentations.
The evening also provided the opportunity for delegates, representative of all areas of the trade including designer makers, workshops and manufacturers, to observe practical demonstration of laser welding by Tom Rucker and Ann-Marie Carey and to examine examples of the processes demonstrated. There was also plenty of time for asking questions and general networking.
A number of Tom Rucker’s stunning, award-winning jewels were on display and attracted considerable attention for their sheer brilliance.
The Masterclass and Laser Symposium are an example of the wide range of training activities that the Goldsmiths’ Company wishes to support in the future. This was the first in a series of similar events, concentrating on key areas of topical interest for the jewellery and silversmithing industries, which are planned for the future.