Tech professor's jewelry robot picks up marketing steam
The VDK 1000 is a robotic jewelry polishing system that can pick up a ring, polish it and place it in a tray. (Courtesy photo)

RAPID CITY - The VDK 1000, a robotic jewelry-polishing system invented by South Dakota School of Mines & Technology mechanical engineering professor Vojislav Kalanovic, has been accepted by Gesswein, one of the world's largest suppliers of jewelry manufacturers, to market and sell.

Eight years ago, Kalanovic invented the robotic jewelry application. Since then, he has received a number of patents and awards for his work.

The VDK 1000 can pick up a ring, polish it, grind it and replace the ring in its original tray before picking up the next ring.

Kalanovich said the VDK 1000 can function about three times faster than a human operator when configured as a grinder and about four times faster when configured as a pre-polisher.

The VDK 1000 allows users to better control the material removal process which limits the amount of precious metal being removed and brings about savings in refining costs. VDK 1000 is currently successfully producing jewelry at The Mount Rushmore Jewelry manufacturing plant in Rapid City, which is part of the Riddle's Group.

The VDK 1000 is being marketed and manufactured under Control System Technologies, a limited liability company owned mostly by Kalanovic.

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CST is actively tied to the School of Mines as one of the first clients of Tech Ventures, a solely owned corporation of SDSM&T Foundation.

The company employs three engineers and has 14 local owners.

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