Jun 19, 2018

AWDC Introduces New Technology Set to Revolutionise Diamond Polishing

The Wetenschappelijk en Technisch Onderzoeks Centrum voor Diamant (WTOCD), translated as the Scientific and Technical Research Center for Diamond, which is a part of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), announced recently that it has developed the technology for the fully automated polishing of diamonds.

The new machine, FENIX is said to speed up the production of polished diamonds to a great extent. The developers of the technology say that tasks which today take people an entire day to accomplish, can be completed in one-and-a-half hours with this technology.

The process of diamond polishing has seen little progress since it was first discovered sometime in the 15th century. Though there has been partial mechanisation introduced, most of the work is still done by human hands. This has resulted in high-wage countries having to shut down much of their manufacturing facilities, as diamond polishing costs became unviable compared with competing centres.

Ari Epstein, CEO of the AWDC has been quoted by media as saying: “This discovery fundamentally changes the diamond-polishing process. Today’s wages simply make it too expensive to conduct this labour-intensive job in our country. FENIX puts an end to this, and can therefore be a real game changer for the Antwerp diamond industry.”

The developers believe that FENIX is also more precise than manual polishing. “Each diamond has a specific grain, a crystal orientation that has to be taken into account during the polishing process,” explained Yves Kerremans, CEO of WTOCD. “This grain is in part the reason that diamond polishing is such a labour-intensive process. FENIX is the first technology that makes grain independent polishing possible, and which furthermore increases the speed of the polishing process by a factor of 10 to 20.”

It is learnt that the technology is currently being tested by several Antwerp-based diamond companies and is expected to be put on the market by September this year.