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Free Content Jakob Schlaepfer: A case study in laser innovation and the unexpected

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This report aims to counter some assumptions about the nature of industrial technology by exploring the creative potential of the distancing effect inherent in laser materials processing.

A case study of an industrially based project involving the textile company Jakob Schlaepfer, based in St Gallen, Switzerland, will provide the research material and underpin the report. The case study presents the development and expansion, by Schlaepfer, of self-customized laser technologies and how different laser processes have come to form an integral part of the design and production innovation process. Through this historical picture of Schlaepfer's commitment to new technologies and investments that encourage innovation, we aim to offer two propositions that are facilitated by the distance inherent in the creative use of lasers. Firstly, that it is possible to utilize technologies normally linked with impersonalized standardization in production, to instead create experimental products; and secondly, that technologies normally used to replicate the unexpected and unique capacities of traditional making, can be in-themselves capable of un-programmed unpredictability.

Keywords: creative; design; innovation; lasers; technology; unexpected

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Southampton, UK.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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