GVUK Design has the laser design market covered with its extensive portfolio of laser welders, cutters and engravers, as well as CAD programmes, printers and scanners.

Director Graham Dicks describes the merging of its Coherent and Rofin brands, the benefits of CAD design, and how far the technology has come in a short amount of time.

How many years has GVUK Design worked with the jewellery sector and, for those that might not be familiar with the business, how would you describe your offering?

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We are just starting our eighth year as UK and Ireland distributor selling and supporting Coherent-Rofin laser welders, cutters and engravers, Gemvision CAD programmes MatrixGold and CounterSketch, EnvisionTEC professional 3D printers, and more recently Thunk3D scanners.

Tell us a bit about the company’s expertise and the ways in which you add value to jewellery trade customers?

With a jewellery manufacturing and retail background our team are perfectly placed to offer advice on bringing technology into your workshop or showroom.

It can be a challenge to know which way to turn and with incredible benefits to be gained – the wrong call can be very expensive.

What sort of jewellery businesses do you typically work with – and what are their main needs when it comes to the laser technology solutions you provide?

Most of our customers are sole traders. The UK is a micro industry enjoying the bespoke explosion and we are of course grateful to be supplying most of the major brands too.

It is more common to see a laser welder alongside your workbench today so it is important to have a laser welder that offers accurate laser welding with perfectly formed spot-size and shape that can deal with any challenge, including fast seam welding. Slow welding can lead to poor joins.

With superfast fibre laser engraving of logos and personal messages, the added value laser engraving brings is changing what you can offer your clients. Fingerprints on jewellery has really taken off and is a great way to personalise the simplest of pieces.

You’re at the forefront of the laser technology market. What are the key things that jewellers need to bear in mind when it comes to laser engraving and laser welding?

We know customers can have an emotional attachment to treasured items of jewellery. Some of it has greater sentimental than monetary value than others, so to be able to seamlessly repair platinum to base-metal without damaging the surrounding materials is a huge plus.

Pre-owned watches can have their scratches and dings filled using the same wire as the material the watch is made from. Steel is normally 316LS and experts will know if a case has been polished down but fill it and it will look just like new.

3D laser engraving is as close to hand-engraving as you can get, replicating CAD files to such a high standard – the detail is stunning.

The software and training provide huge potential for increased revenue to both workshops and retail jewellers.

How rapidly is laser technology growing in the jewellery sector – and are there any myths about the method that need to be dispelled?

Lasers are now the norm for most workshops but for those that are looking at making their first purchase be aware you might be smitten by the offer of very high-power units.

You will never use the extreme higher power levels. Stick to the quality of the manufacture of the whole unit and ask around. The Rofin brand, now Coherent, is the outstanding name for quality and reliability.

You’re the distributor of Coherent laser machines. What features make these systems stand out from other laser technology solutions in the market?

The construction of lasers like cars will vary and, for jewellers, quality has always been an important part of who we are.

You make or repair jewellery to the very best of your ability so it is natural to demand the very best components and manufactured by a laser company whose lasers are used to across all industries, from creating medical stents to defence and navigation and an annual turnover of $1.2 billion (£906 million).

Looking around, you will see the older laser welders are almost exclusively Rofin. Rofin and Coherent merged a few years ago and now use the Coherent brand.

Installation and maintenance are important considerations for jewellers when it comes to laser technology. What support do you offer on those fronts?

Our qualified service engineer installs all our laser sales and carries out on site training. The brilliant service and warranty plan allows monthly payments to cover a service with no additional costs with parts, labour and callouts covered. The upside of this is your laser will remain in tip-top condition for many years.

GVUK Design provides a comprehensive range of training programmes, which also extend to your other product lines, such as 3D printing and CAD/CAM. How much training do you offer around laser technology?

CAD training has benefited from our Gemvision on-line academy for Matrix and now MatrixGold and CounterSketch.

For lasers and 3D printing a hands-on approach to training works better and we do this on site, often training several team members together. In all cases telephone and web sessions are included.

Looking ahead to 2021, are there any plans on the laser technology side of the business that jewellery customers should keep an eye out for?

Look out for the latest 3D engraving. We are finishing off our trials and feeling very excited about the future of this deep laser engraving.