Ricoh Company, Ltd. will expand its Customer Experience Centre (CEC) in Telford, the UK, on November 7 to accelerate co-creation with customers and partners in the manufacturing industry. It will particularly benefit those considering using metal binder jetting (MBJ), and specifically aluminum binder jetting, 3D printers for electric vehicles (EVs), electric aircraft, etc., to create new value such as improving the energy efficiency of electric components (e.g., motors and batteries).
In particular, Ricoh’s approach to binder jetting technology targets the use of aluminum, a challenging material to sinter. By this strategy, Ricoh hopes to enter the metal binder jetting race which has been accelerating in recent months with HP’s official launch of its Metal Jet technology and first systems as well as the acquisition of metal binder jetting pioneers Digital Metal by Markforged. They will go head to head with current market leaders Desktop Metal (including ExOne) and GE Additive’s still-in-development H2 system.
Aluminum parts produced by MBJ
This CEC, dedicated to additive manufacturing, will be established as a place for co-creation activities. Through demonstrations, Ricoh will help customers understand the capabilities of Ricoh’s technology. Furthermore, Ricoh will also deepen its understanding of customers’ potential pain points through activities at CEC and propose solutions that can contribute to realizing new value beyond customers’ expectations by providing 3D printers and a total solution for production workflow.
Ricoh can utilize the strength of 3D printers to manufacture aluminum parts with complex shapes that cannot be made using existing manufacturing methods, producing lightweight parts, high-performance heat exchange parts, and other components. This will help solve the problem of cooling, which has become a significant issue in the electrification of various areas. In addition to heat exchangers, 3D printers have many other possibilities. Ricoh will explore applications for aluminum BJ technology with customers.
Targeting more efficient production
The company has positioned the “realization of a zero-carbon society” as one of its material issues. Ricoh aims to achieve zero GHG emissions throughout its entire value chain, enabling customers to develop highly energy-efficient products by using Ricoh’s 3D printers, thereby contributing to the realization of a zero-carbon society.
Tokutaro Fukushima, General Manager of Additive Manufacturing Business Center, Ricoh Futures BU, Ricoh Company, Ltd., said, “There are technical issues with many products where they cannot fully perform due to heat problems or limitation of weight reduction. We are confident that Ricoh’s unique aluminum BJ technology will significantly contribute to solving these issues our customers face. With the opening of the CEC, we would like to accelerate co-creation with our customers to realize additional value for customers’ clients.
“Furthermore, we would like to actively promote collaboration with technical partners who have unique technologies. We hope to welcome partners who support our vision to “Make a significant contribution to a zero-carbon society and lead to the realization of a wonderful future for children” through co-creation activities”.