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LEADERSHIP PRINT TECHNOLOGY GIANT Ricoh is a force to be reckoned with and has made great strides in its industry to stay on top in an ever-changing environment. Peter Williams, Executive Vice President of Ricoh Europe, understands that change is inevitable in technological manufacturing: “Historically, we’re a manufacturing company, with our core products being office-based printing items. However, we’ve branched out into software development, and therefore moved away from manufacturing as the sole source of our value proposition; we’re a software applications and solutionsbased company now. We’re very proud of our roots, but they’re no longer the sole part.” Founded in Tokyo in 1936, Ricoh has slowly but surely expanded into a $20 billion company. It was the first provider of digital machines that moved printers into scanners and made them more integral in the workplace, with the majority of the high technology work done in Japan, a country known for its electronics quality. Ricoh is also an early innovator in inkjet printers, and supplies large quantities of heads to partners and competitors. The biggest market for inkjet 8 M arch 2016

heads is in Europe, and the largest applications for these is now 3D printing. Williams runs the 3D – otherwise known as ‘additive manufacturing’ or ‘AM’ – group in Europe, and is aware of how important this technology is: “It’s only recently we’ve become directly involved with 3D printing. There’s a lot of hype around being able to produce body parts, machinery parts, and having 3D printers on space ships so they can self-repair; to a certain extent, all of those are possibilities. 3D is very interesting but there’s still a long way to go before it moves into being on the forefront of peoples’ minds. There’s a huge amount to be done on the material side.” Ricoh’s own 3D printer, the RICOH AM S5500P, is capable of creating high-definition and durable fabricated objects. Regardless of how much work there is to do before 3D-printing becomes mainstream, the launch of this product has given Ricoh a reputation as a major player in AM development. “We were at Formex in Frankfurt last year, and the presence of Ricoh authenticated the business sector. It was a real honour. People were saying ‘now Ricoh is involved,

Manufacturing Global magazine - March 2016  
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