Ricoh will improve productivity by replacing metal tools with Stratasys 3D Printed customized and lightweight tools.
In addition to be lightweight, Stratasys 3D printed tools represent jigs and fixtures for its Production Technology Center assembly line. They enhance manufacturing efficiency while reducing manual tooling errors.
Geometric design freedom
We are far from traditional methods that required to outsource machine cut tools. With CAD software and 3D printing, Ricoh can now determine the shape and geometry of a device.
Working and learning time are both reduced: less than two weeks for outsourcing and two days for learning time.
“The Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D printing solution enables us to realize designs that are difficult for conventional cutting methods to replicate, such as hollow interiors, curves or complex shapes. The material used to 3D print the tools is very strong and anti-static which is important due to the large number of electronic components we are assembling, adding to the advantages of Stratasys 3D printing,” explained Sakaki.
How Ricoh transforms its assembly line for its large-format printers
The manufacturer of high quality office equipment such as copiers, fax machines will now produce the tools in durable ABS thermoplastic on its Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer. The company can customize each tool precisely according to the part geometry while reducing the tool’s weight. This allowed Ricoh to further the manufacturing process in which an operator typically handles more than 200 parts each day.
“Because we are producing an enormous number of parts, it takes a lot of time and effort to identify the right jigs and fixtures for each one. This manual process has become even lengthier as the number of components grows, requiring that an operator examine the shape, orientation and angle of each part before taking out a tool and placing it back in its original fixture. The operators were occasionally annoyed with the many different tools, and we were looking for a way to accelerate tooling to match our manufacturing schedule,” said Taizo Sakaki, Senior Manager of Business Development at Ricoh Group. “Now with Stratasys 3D printing, we are able to customize the tools according to the part and produce them on demand which is helping us restructure and modernize our production process.”
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