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Marc Thomassen, Chief Officer Equipment
“M-Screen, screens at a speed of minimum 3 stones per second.”
By: Diamond World News Service
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Feb 20 2016 2:19PM
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Reference: 12714  

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Marc Thomassen, Chief Officer Equipment, HRD Antwerp, shares some insights about ‘M-Screen’, its latest screening device for synthetic diamonds with Gunjan Jain. The M-Screen automatically feeds, screens and sorts round brilliant diamonds at a super speed of minimum three diamonds per second or 7.200 per hour. Depending on the size of the stones and the size of the batch, interestingly, the speed can be as high as a staggering 18.000 diamonds per hour.

‘M-Screen’ caters to whom?
The ‘M-Screen’ has been designed to screen parcels of melee diamonds within the range of 1 to 20 points. This means that most of the ‘M-Screen’ units will be used within environments processing a high capacity of melee goods such as diamond polishing factories or diamond jewellery manufactures and everybody in between. Synthetic diamonds can be mixed with natural ones in every stage of the production process or in every stage of the trade. Therefore, the ‘M-Screen’ is the perfect tool to check all parcels (and not only samples) that are supplied or purchased.

How does its introduction help?
With more and more companies venturing into the production of synthetic diamonds these days, an influx of such diamonds entering the market seemed inevitable. Due to the fact the quality of laboratory grown diamonds produced today is of such a high quality, differentiating natural diamonds from their lab-grown counterparts has become increasingly more difficult.

All HRD Antwerp labs have the expertise and equipment to screen and detect laboratory grown diamonds but the financial cost of these examinations often outweighs the value of small, melee size diamonds. The development of an automatic melee screening device therefore deemed necessary in order to help both diamond traders as well as jewellery manufactures to enhance consumer confidence.

To that aim WTOCD, the Antwerp research centre for diamonds has developed the ‘M-Screen’ which is commercialized by HRD Antwerp.

What role will it play?
The significant economic growth in India and other emerging countries has exponentially increased overall consumer purchasing power, which directly fuelled the domestic diamond and diamond jewellery market. As a result, jewellery manufacturers were to process large batches of small diamonds at once which, until now, were difficult to screen for lab-grown diamonds, potentially treated diamonds or simulants.

The ‘M-Screen’ provides a superfast screening solution, enabling traders and manufactures alike to screen large melee parcels. This will undoubtedly enhance trust throughout the diamond world.

What is the strategy adopted ?
The launch of the ‘M-Screen’ took place at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Show on September 17. It was followed by demonstrations of the ‘M-Screen’ at the Symposium in the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai, India on December 15 and 16, 2015. In January 2016, we introduced the screening device at the IJT-fair, Tokyo, Japan. In the coming months our dedicated equipment sales team will organise public demonstrations for interested parties, so they are able to experience the extraordinary features of the ‘M-Screen’ firsthand, at the Hong Kong March show and the Shenzhen-show in April 2016.

Is it the best solution to detect lab-grown diamonds?
Absolutely, since all stones, i.e. complete parcels are screened instead of only sampling them at a super speed of 2/3 stones per second. Other screening devices often screen only samples. Screening samples offer no “full guarantee”. One cannot exclude that there still may be lab-grown stones in the parcels. It takes only one lab-grown diamond in the parcel or the jewel to harm (damage) the reputation of the supplier.

What is the cost ?
The selling price is € 78.000, installation and training and one year free update of software and minor hardware are included. The high standards set by the ‘M-Screen’ make it the optimal screening device for the years to come. R &D is a continuous process yielding optimisation on the current technology mainly in terms of broader specifications. Therefore it is foreseen in the design of the instrument that other features can be added, or existing features can be upgraded. That means that HRD Antwerp can update the machine, so that the customer is not forced to buy a new one. This policy covers the concern of many potential clients.

How efficient is it?
Because of its high screening speed, ALL stones can be screened. The screened diamonds end –up in 3 different bins: PASS – REFER and SIMULANTS . The ones in the Pass bin will be 100 per cent natural diamonds. The ones in the refer-bin have to be checked by other screening and detection instruments using different technologies.

The ‘M-Screen’, screens at a speed of minimum 3 stones per second. It can handle a parcel of 500 cts in one go; if this parcel contains only 0.01 cts, or 50000 stones, the screening is done in less than 5 hours.

By when will the machine be installed in the market for the trade to use?
The first machines will be delivered mid-February to the first Antwerp customers. A few weeks later we will deliver the ‘M-Screen’s ordered by our Indian and Hong Kong customers. Worldwide installation will be executed in April- May 2016.

Will HRD Antwerp also provide M-Screen testing services in their other centres?
In addition to the commercialisation of the ‘M-Screen’, HRD Antwerp started with a screening service in its Diamond Lab in Antwerp, December 1, 2015. The plan is to have testing centre in Hong Kong, April 1, 2016 followed by Mumbai, Surat and Shenzhen.

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