Alberto Ferrari, head of research and development at DiamArt, presents the main characteristics that make micro diamond surfaces a unique product in the world.
What's your role in the company?
My position is head of research and development. It's an area that I feel a close connection with, because I'm motivated by a great curiosity and passion for everything to do with innovation, experimentation and finding new solutions. My professional training comes from a lengthy spell in a major company producing diamond tools for cutting marble and granite. This allowed me to build up a base of in-depth technical knowledge of diamonds, their applications, and their physical and chemical characteristics. It’s an essential part of my current role. The idea of putting my knowledge and experience to work exploring a new direction was immediately appealing to me. It led to years of demanding and fruitful work.
Are patents a part of the outcome of this?
Patents are an essential objective for DiamArt. With them we haven’t merely protected a product, but we have instigated a revolution in the application of micro diamonds. We patented the technique of securing diamonds to a surface, overturning the traditional concept of the diamond: it's no longer an individual stone, but previously unthinkable surfaces.
We are now the owner of a unique process which makes it possible to produce large surfaces in which diamonds are tangible and present in a given percentage, with guaranteed and certified carat count per square centimeter and a repeatable mechanical fixing process which guarantees resistance to abrasion and wear.
What's more, DiamArt surfaces are perfect single layers; the micro diamonds do not overlap or merge together but are set and fixed side by side on a single layer of base material, giving a velvety feel to the surface.
All this is our first patent, which combines endless potential applications, aesthetic appeal, resistance, and moderate cost.
You mentioned objectives, in what sense?
Because a patent has to fulfil very precise criteria: newness, innovation, industrialization. Newness because it must be a product that didn't exist previously. Innovation because the patent has to take the product to a new level, not only an addition, an improvement or a modification to what went before. Industrialization because the process must be able to be reproduced at large scale. It is not enough to have a utility model, there must be these three characteristics which confirm the feasibility of patenting, and the fact that we've achieved them is actually proof of the nature of DiamArt micro diamond surfaces. It all began with the spark of an idea, followed by years of work, research and experimentation, culminating in the sought-after high-quality product we offer today.
Are there others?
Yes, we also hold two further patents, which might be called corollaries of the first. These relate to the method of creating colored surfaces thanks to a masking pigmentation technique which exploits the extraordinary transparency and light-reflecting properties of diamonds. This process is particularly recommended for the creation of logos and writing with color effects which impact strongly on aesthetic appeal and economic value.
What's the current challenge in research and development?
The challenge, which I'd say is a constant for DiamArt, is finding ever-new solutions for application on an increasingly wide range of different materials. This arises above all from our determination to respond as fully as possible to the requirements of our clients, who demand the highest standards in product customization. We’re already able to offer an enormous range of options for bespoke products, but it's not uncommon to receive requests that present us with new challenges. And this spurs us on to find new and unexpected solutions.
And looking to the future?
Research and development are always looking to the future, by definition, while drawing on a base of in-depth knowledge. I like to think of it as continuous evolution, always seeking to respond to the demands of a complex market like the one we operate in. New materials and new combinations. All input we receive becomes a stimulus to seek new paths and new opportunities to enrich and enhance our micro diamond applications.