In a recent conversation with project holders that have a keen interest in taking advantage of additive manufacturing (AM), we realized that for these professionals, one of the main concerns was to change their manufacturing partner every time a project required the use of a new additive manufacturing technology. Indeed, in this industry, 3D Printing service bureaus do not often possess several manufacturing technologies in their production center. They rather prefer to specialize in a unique AM technology.
At 3D print Lyon, a conversation with Kris Verelst, Engineer & Consultant for Ricoh AM Business – Benelux & France, highlighted the company’s new positioning as real proponent of additive manufacturing technologies.
Indeed, it’s already been a few years that Ricoh has been operating in this sector and a few minutes with Kris Verelst enabled to point out the importance of every AM technology. Since the launch of its additive manufacturing business, the supplier of electronic devices has built up a solid reputation in the industry, a reputation of experts that are in touch with innovation.
In its UK-based production center (Rapid Fab), Ricoh gathers HP MultiJet Fusion Technology, Stratasys FDM Technology and its own line of AM systems, the RICOH AM S5500P, high-end plastic sintering production machines. In other terms, the Japanese company owns an array of technologies that completes a wider range of packages that aim at delivering a complete offering to both professionals and demanding industries such as the automotive, aerospace, medical and architecture.
How does Rapid Fab distinguish itself from others of the same range?
“Imagine. Change.” This baseline has been at the heart of Ricoh’s strategy since the launch of the company in 1936. In 2014, the launch of the AM unit in Japan has demonstrated the ability of the company to create new value. The unit’s expansion to global locations has enabled Ricoh to rapidly compete at the international stage alongside other key players of the industry.
However, Rapid Fab is a 3D Printing service bureau that stands out from the crowd thanks to its ability to supply 3D Printing services with coveted and rare materials such as polypropylene (PP).
It is no secret that the success of the AM market lies on the crucial advances made in material sciences. Speaking of PP, K. Verelst explained us that the material is used with SLS 3D Printing. Once 3D Printed, the white material would deliver high elongation at break, and properties comparable to injection molded PP. The material is acknowledged for its ability to withstand fatigue and to deliver lightweighting properties. “Its unique advantage is its ability to directly produce the end-part, be it flexible or strong and we are among the few companies of the market that are able to 3D Print this material.”, added K. Verelst.
If Verelst pointed out Ricoh’s expertise as a renowned SLS hardware manufacturer, it should be noted that the company is also paving the way for creative applications in various industries. From the applications we saw at the Lyon show, Ricoh is definitely ready to take the lead in this race that consists in finding the right solution for the right application.
“If people are coming to us with something that is not yet on the market, we create and innovate. Today, we provide the market with a comprehensive range of services. We are in touch with innovation”, concluded the Engineer & Consultant for Ricoh AM Business.
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