Turning 80 Years of Manufacturing Experience into Additive Manufacturing Excellence
“The powder management capabilities of the software are unrivalled and give us exactly the controls we require, as we help move AM into the manufacturing market.”
- Paul Spragg, DCM Business Systems Analyst & Developer
Ricoh has a rich history in production printing and office automation and have effectively transitioned into additive manufacturing production.
As Paul Spragg, DCM Business Systems Analyst & Developer, explained “We’re one of few companies to have harnessed 80 years of manufacturing expertise to develop our own hardware and offer a full range of 3D and Additive Manufacturing technologies in-house.”
Ricoh have adopted FDM, SLS, HSS and MSF AM technologies into their additive operations to service a range of industries. “Together with our dedicated team of technical specialists, we provide a tailored end-to-end service including design, rapid prototyping, tooling, parts production and injection moulding. Our state-of-the-art UK facilities proudly showcase our ISO-certified services, which to a range of industries including automotive, industrial, medical and consumer.
Learn more at rapidfab.ricoh-europe.com
The Need for an Additive Manufacturing System
Despite having an ERP system for their core production printing services, Paul explains why the unique challenges of additive manufacturing required a specific system for it.
The traditional EPR systems that we use within our core business are set up for known repeat orders, with single operations dedicated to single components. In Additive Manufacturing, multiple components are manufactured within a single operation.
In 2015, when Ricoh first established our Additive Manufacturing service, there was no ERP system that was suitable for this method of production. Many ERP systems were unable to go to the level required to provide full end-to-end control and maintain traceability.”
DNA.am for Quality Management
At Ricoh, quality and a robust manufacturing operation is at the heart of what we do. In our core business operations, traceability of material and product is paramount. We expect the same level of operation and control from our Additive Manufacturing systems too.
DNA.am allows us to manage raw material and gives us part traceability throughout the end-to-end production process. The powder management capabilities of the software are unrivalled and give us exactly the controls we require, as we help move AM into the manufacturing market.”
Improved Production Process and Turnaround
“We have worked closely with Valuechain to integrate the software into the relaunched Ricoh Rapid Fab website, so that as soon as an order is placed it goes seamlessly to production; providing our customers with a quicker turnaround in parts. We aim to turnaround all orders within 5 working days, so this software integration means there are no delays for our customers.”
Shaping The Future of AM and Ricoh with DNA.am
“DNA.am will allow for the effective management of series production parts. The industry as a whole is at a transition point, as the move to production grows. As an early adopter of Valuechain, Ricoh is ready for the next generation of additive manufacturing.”
Spragg also considers DNA.am as a step in their journey to Industry 4.0, stating “Ricoh has the latest in hardware technologies which are key to driving Industry 4.0. Now we are starting to see the production management software catch up and realise true “lights out manufacturing”. We are committed to developing DNAam alongside Valuechain by giving this invaluable partner access to a real-life 3D print provider.”