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Prototype System Could Make Antwerp A Diamond Polishing Centre Again

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) announced that its Scientific & Technological Research Centre for Diamonds (WTOCD) has developed a technology that fully automates the diamond polishing process and opens up the possibility of diamonds once again being polished on a large scale in Antwerp.

According to a AWDC press note, FENIX, the new, fully automated technology, which has been 10 years in development, enables diamonds to be polished between 10 and 20 times faster than the current manual system. A stone, that would typically consumer and entire day in processing, can now be polished in one and a half hours, the AWDC said.

AWDC Chief Executive Ari Epstein commented, “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.”

In addition to being fast, FENIX is also extremely accurate and revolutionary in the way it polishes diamond, the AWDC said. Yves Kerremans, CEO of the WTOCD observed, “Each diamond has a specific grain, a crystal orientation that has to be taken into account during the polishing process. 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.”

The system is currently undergoing thorough testing by Antwerp diamond companies. Starting in September, the first machines utilising this technology invented in Antwerp will become operational.

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