Leave it to the leading laser manufacturer to improve on a good thing. LaserStar, a driver in marketplace innovation of laser welders, continues to push the edge by expanding product capabilities and developing advanced features on their latest products, all while reducing the out of pocket cost for retailers. Understanding that retailers need tools to build additional revenue streams beyond finished goods sales was a driving factor when developing new product, and today retailers of all sizes are the beneficiary of a company that cares.LaserStar’s recent contribution to the jewelry industry is their iWeld® product line – a manual laser welder equipped with enhanced power and accuracy. Now in its 3rd generation, the iWeld® portfolio offers retailers many choices they didn’t have in previous models.
Would you prefer a table top model or portable pedestal device? What color would you like your iWeld® to be? Sapphire Blue or Ruby Red? Does your operator prefer the ClearView Scope or the Leica Scope? You can even choose the Removable Chamber Option on the pedestal version if it fits your needs. So many choices...
But it’s the intentional design with price in mind, without comprising the quality of the machine, that makes this product line appealing to businesses of any size.
“This family of products is targeted to all skill and financial levels,” remarks James Gervais, president and chief operating officer of LaserStar Technologies. “You don’t need to be a master jeweler to operate it and we’ve reduced the price range so that even the smallest companies can afford it. And, as always, our products come in a 120V version so that our customers can plug into any regular outlet. We are the only company that offers this.”
Out of pocket spend on an iWeld® ranges from $16,000 to $22,000, almost $10,000 below their next level of laser product. iWeld is safe to use on a variety of metals, including silver, making the machine an essential part of developing revenue from repairs or custom work. LaserStar ensures the highest level of hot-light energy transfer from the source through the welding chamber, reducing retailer liability. And the machine is designed with operator comfort in mind, complete with ergonomic features.
But LaserStar doesn’t stop there. Because they are the only laser welder manufacturer based in America they offer 2 day training sessions to their customers where training is done while working on actual jobs, making the training session even more productive. Trainees learn to use their iWeld® while repairing 3 stone rings, tennis bracelet clasps and even eye wear repair.
“We’ve really listened to our customers who told us we needed a product line that came in under $20,000, and we went straight to the drawing board to create the iWeld® portfolio,” states Gervais. “iWeld is important to us and the success of this line is tremendous. We’ve sold over 800 machines to the domestic jewelry industry alone and we will continue to support our retailers because we are headquartered right here in the U.S. with them.”
Continuing along the line of product and process improvement, LaserStar introduces a fiber marking and engraving system that is becoming commonplace across many industries, including fine jewelry. The system offers a non-contact, abrasion resistant permanent laser mark onto almost any material with high speed and incredible precision. The fiber laser marking uses focused light that interacts with a material to produce a permanent mark. The system also offers laser engraving and laser machine capabilities, including thin material cutting, scribing and material removal.
“This software can mark on almost any material and is very good at engraving on cylindrical items such as rings, which is why Tiffany’s, David Yurman, Kabana, Simon G, Kurt Gaum, Tessler & Weiss, IGI, Fable Designs, Heavy Stone Rings, Herff Jones and many others have become LaserStar customers,” states Gervais.
While fiber marking isn’t brand new technology, LaserStar is proud to be the first manufacturer to bring it to the fine jewelry industry at an affordable price. Historical pricing for a machine like this was around the $60,000 range. Today LaserStar offers the same technology starting at $34,000. They will also be introducing new product packaging making it easier for the operator to use, along with a software upgrade and enlarged chamber.
Fiber laser marking allows retailers to literally load large sheets of gold and populate the machine with 15-20 names and walk away. In a few hours the entire cutting job will be done. Retailers can mark text, graphics, logos, barcodes and data-matrix codes, all in an automated process.
Operated by LaserStar’s CAD2 Software, the system operates on a Windows XP and Windows 7 Professional operating systems. Installing the software is easy and only takes minutes, and once installed it will automatically detect the FiberStar® Marking System via USB connection.FiberStar® is a maintenance free, air-cooled system that offers extreme precision with a high beam quality. It will mark on different colors of titanium and stainless steel and has increased power for deeper engraving. Controlling spot size is another new feature that allows retailers to mark on items as small as an earring post.
Gervais describes the ‘power of hot light’ saying, “laser heat is so localized that it only hits the target area without damaging the stones or surrounding metals. There is no damage, no fire scale, no contact with the piece. It is just hot light that we are manipulating.”
LaserStar, in conjunction with the MJSA Vision Award Competition, sponsor a design contest focused entirely on laser produced jewelry pieces. Called the Laser Distinction category, designers have created amazing, complex pieces that capture the delicate beauty and intricate detail achieved through heatless pinpoint precision.
“One of our favorite things is to receive photos of items created by our customers in their spare time,” recalls Gervais. “These may or may not be items related to their business, but are incredibly creative none the less. Brian Barthelow uploaded a picture of a small motorcycle he created out of eyeglass parts. The possibilities are endless.”