Ricoh Targeting Industrial, Textile, 3D Bio-Printing

Ricoh production-printed image.

Like many office-imaging vendors, Ricoh Company of Japan is expanding out of office-imaging and printing into new segments. As outlined at its recent April 2019 investors’ conference, Ricoh said it’s seeking to expand into industrial printing – specifically, with inkjet systems for printing on textiles and packaging, and even on wall papers and flooring – as well as into commercial, thermal, and 3D printing.

To further its industrial-printer strategy, Ricoh, for instance, announced in November 2018  that it was acquiring ColorGate, which is based in Germany and makes software for industrial printing. Several years ago, it also purchased Anajet, which makes color printers for directly printing on textiles, such as on T-shirts, with Ricoh, for instance, introducing the Ricoh Ri 1000 direct-to-garment printer in February 2019. Ricoh currently markets four such direct-to-garment printers.

Ricoh 3D Printer

Ricoh is also said to be planning a new 3D printer. Ricoh introduced its first 3D printer, the AM S5500P, a high-end 3D printer for prototyping and manufacturing in 2015.

Ricoh’s new 3D printer will complement Ricoh’s medical-imaging business. The new 3D printer will be capable of bio-printing, and will be capable of supplying DNA standard plates via precise inkjet-based deposition of cells. Ricoh is targeting July 2019 for its introduction.

Commercial-, Industrial-, and Thermal-Printing Strategy

Ricoh aims to continue to develop products for the commercial-printer segment, while expanding into industrial printing. With industrial printing, it’s aiming to develop a “digital micro factory concept.” With this concept, textile print orders are received digitally, printed on-demand, with only required orders printed – in contrast to traditional analog textile printing with its longer wait time and production over-runs. With its thermal printer business, Ricoh is seeking to increase its operating margin to over 10 percent.

Recovering Profitability

Ricoh also explained that it’s recovering profitability, noting that while it recorded a loss of ¥115.6 billion for its 2017 fiscal year, it’s forecasting ¥86 billion in profits for its 2018 fiscal year, and targeting ¥185.0 billion in profits for its 2022 fiscal year.

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