Ricoh Officially Launches 3D-Printing Business, Two New Rapid Fab Facilities

rapid fab 2Ricoh Company of Tokyo has officially launched an additive manufacturing business (AM Business) centered on 3D printers. Through this new business, Ricoh says it will sell 3D printers and its associated output service directly to manufacturing customers, as well as provide consulting services to these customers.

To support its launch, Ricoh will open two “RICOH Rapid Fab” facilities dedicated to advancing innovation in manufacturing, in Yokohama and Atsugi, in the Kanagawa prefecture. Ricoh will first focus sales in the Japanese market through Ricoh Japan Corporation. Ricoh is also looking to develop this business globally.

The firm notes that the manufacturing industry has seen a significant increase in the interest of 3D printers as they provide key time- and cost-saving prototyping capabilities for manufacturers. It says the move into 3D printing is a natural step for it, and that it already has a number of technologies for providing prototyping and molding, in addition to its accumulated experience using 3D printers for its product design over the past 20 years. With the launch of the AM business, the firm says it’ll apply this experience and knowledge to accelerate innovation directly with its manufacturing customers.

RICOH Rapid Fabs will be tasked with researching and developing manufacturing innovations using 3D printers, primarily for design and manufacturing businesses. Customers can use the Fab as a showroom to experience 3D printing products, and also take advantage of the 3D-printer output service using their own data. The Fabs facilities will also offer Ricoh consulting services.

The RICOH Rapid Fab in Shin-Yokohama opened on September 8th and is located inside the Ricoh’s Shin-Yokohama office in the Kanagawa prefecture, while the Fab in Atsugi will open in late September and will be within Ricoh’s Atsugi plant, which is also in the Kanagawa prefecture.

The firm notes that there are a number of 3D printing methods, including inkjet, material extrusion, and laser sintering. It says it has its own technologies related to inkjet, materials, and powder. Additive 3D printing is the most well-known type of 3D printing – with this technology, the printer lays down successive layers of material, usually plastic, in a manner similar to how inkjet printers deploy drops of ink, in order to create 3D objects. With another type of 3D printing, subtractive 3D printing, the printer removes excess from a block of material to create a 3D object.

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