In 1985 CAD/CAM systems were in use in the class ring business and had been as early as 1978 (at the L.G. Balfour Company). CNC technology was in use in tool and die shops around the country. Benzinger of Germany had marketed a very sophisticated CNC lathe to machine wedding bands for some years. But, only Richard Krementz, Jr. had the vision to focus CAD/CAM systems to the JIT manufacturing of a product category. The category he chose was signet rings. These were truly the early years of applying this technology in main line jewelry.

The Project

Prior to this project there were generally two processes for making a signet ring— either investment casting or striking a humped-back flat blank and rounding it into a ring. Investment casting posed a general quality problem and rounding a ring involved skilled and expensive labor.

As the Manager of CAD/CAM for Krementz & Co. from 1985 through 1988 I was responsible for leading the team that developed the specifications, manufacturing technology and computer programs to design any signet ring from 7 design parameters and machine them one at a time from karat gold tube stock. From a quality and production rate perspective, the product was a resounding success. We were able to produce a machined ring in 12-20 minutes in a cell where the CNC machine operator completed the finishing of the ring.

When I left the company in 1989 my team members honored me by manufacturing the paperweight size (50mm ID about finger size 47!) brass ring with my initials engraved shown to the left and below. A great honor from a truly dedicated and professional team.
Parametric Modeling Without a “Parametric Modeler” 1987-1989
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