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News release


By Fernando Maroniene, Vice President of Marketing at Ricoh Latin America

RICOH Latin America, July 28, 2017

According to a recent study by GIA1 it is estimated that the world´s 3D printing market will reach the $2.99 billion dollar mark by the year 2018, driving the development of new technologies, applications and areas of focus. The expansion of the use of Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing in the manufacture of final products, the decrease of the cost of printers and the growing use of this technology in new areas indicates that it will undergo exponential growth in the next few years.

Additive Manufacturing can benefit a wide range of enterprises that work with plastic, metal and even foodstuffs. This allows them to be more efficient, innovate more rapidly and change the production chain. The potential this technology presents goes even further, becoming part of a system of super connected businesses, which would favor Industry 4.0 or the next Industrial Revolution. In combination with robotics and AI, 3D printing can create truly special opportunities.

The change in the production chain of the businesses that apply 3D printing is entirely measurable. For example, if a factory employee goes to the stock room to request a part, the stock room manager would typically look for the part and deliver it. What would happen if he could say that in a few hours he could have the part made on site, with the required specifications, without having it in the inventory or having to engage any logistics or transportation? Undoubtedly, this is an example of what is already happening with 3D printing, its applications are limitless because it relates to a concept, rather than a machine or a piece of hardware.

It also makes possible the identification of improvements in the pieces to be produced, prior in fact to their physical creation, which allows businesses to be more creative and innovative, while allowing them to save in production costs and time and enabling them to improve their time to market. In addition, at companies in the automotive sector, specifically, there is great enthusiasm for the capacity to produce polypropylene parts, since most of the car parts made of plastic nowadays are manufactured precisely in this material which allows them to consider the creation of small batches of functional parts with the same quality that they are accustomed to. The prototypes are generated more quickly and the production does not have to be massive. It is not necessary to invest greatly for a production tool, which reduces barriers to the generation of more innovative business models.

The current 3D printing technology applications include, but are not limited to: fast prototyping, low cost tools, complex parts, health care, architectural models to scale, entertainment (for instance, movie accessories), replication of ancient archaeological artifacts, personalized adjustment of electronics such as earmuffs, surgical tools and manufacturing components.

The aeronautical sector is one of the main drivers of this technology. Several companies use the techniques for myriad components used by NASA. 3D Printing is utilized in the production of pieces for final use and allow for the production of complex parts in demand for planes and rockets, guaranteeing timely delivery and rationalizing the supply chain.

On the other hand, in order to ensure that economies can take advantage of the benefits derived from 3D technologies, the syllabi of careers such as Engineering and Industrial and Technical Design have to start including theoretical and practical subjects that teach how these technologies will be used in the design and manufacture of products in the near future. Without a doubt, the evolution of 3D will propel the evolution of new professions like modeling biologists and scientists, experts in 3D operations and administration or 3D design modeling. Because of this, the training of specialized professionals in the field is needed beginning today. There are other relevant topics that beg questioning, such as the physical facilities and security guidelines, due to the generation of toxic gasses depending on the technology utilized.

Gartner declares that “3D printing is undergoing a widespread acceptance beyond its application by specialized industries”. Additive Manufacturing, or 3D printing is part of the digital transformation that we are now experiencing, as a transformational technology would be, offering innovation to a wide range of industries and segments. It uses technology and digital processes to deliver products in the physical world, achieving the connection between the digital and the physical world.

What is Ricoh’s Value Proposition?

Ricoh already works with multiple partners in this field with the objective of propelling the innovation of these technologies in different business sectors for the printing of functional pieces in demand and the creation of prototypes allows the companies to satisfy their need for innovation in manufacture, which is in constant evolution. With Ricoh’s end to end services, Latin American businesses now have a sole point of contact for everything related to Additive Manufacturing. This makes it easier for them to understand, roll out and implement additive manufacturing solutions that can help improve their efficiency, productivity and entry into new areas of business.

Another important point regarding what is developed in this field is not related to Production. Ricoh collaborates with its industrial clients to personalize technology, optimize processes and even create new solutions anywhere in the world.

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