MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel — Stratasys announced that Ricoh Japan is replacing traditional metal tooling with customized, lightweight 3D printed jigs and fixtures for its Production Technology Center assembly line—improving manufacturing efficiency while minimizing manual tooling errors. The assembly line, located in the northeast branch of Ricoh Industries in Miyagi prefecture, Japan, is dedicated to manufacturing large-format printers.
Assembling an electronic component using a 3D printed fixture produced in anti-static ABS plastic on the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer improves manufacturing efficiency.
By producing the tools in durable ABS thermoplastic on its Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, Ricoh is able to customize each tool precisely according to the part geometry while reducing the tool’s weight. This has enabled Ricoh to accelerate the manufacturing process in which an operator typically handles more than 200 parts each day.
Ricoh develops and manufactures high quality office equipment such as copiers, fax machines and projectors. The competitive nature of the electronics industry led the company to look for new ways to accelerate product launches while maintaining or lowering its production costs.
“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…