In a somewhat surprising and low-key announcement, RICOH has unveiled a new Binder Jet Metal 3D printer leveraging its own industrial inkjet printhead technology. The new machine, which will be officially unveiled at the upcoming Formnext fair, is intended to realize the ambition of metal binder jetting technology to produce parts at high speed and, importantly, in a stable manner, supporting various materials including—reportedly—aluminum for final parts production.
RICOH’s recent history in 3D printing is articulated. The company was a major distributor for 3D Systems in the UK, when it entered the market with its own, large format, SLS system, in 2015, promising the ability to proficiently manufacture propylene parts. The company also established a large AM center in the UK. The AM business was initially accelerated thorugh high profile partnerships with materials providers BASF and Solvay. More recently Ricoh 3D partnered with US-based Impossible Objects to bring the company’s innovative continuous fiber composites AM technology (CBAM) to Europe.
Today RICOH offers 3D printing services through subsidiaries in the US, in the UK and in Europe, providing a full range of end-to-end solutions. Ricoh 3D leverage in-house expertise and knowledge and instant quote 3D printing, taking an integrated approach and working closely with customers on specific AM requirements. Services range from removing tooling costs, slicing product development time or achieving mass customisation, make processes more profitable, productive, sustainable and secure.
Although the company can leverage ae global support network, to date RICOH’s AM business has not yet fully emerged as a consistent and reliable source of revenue for the company, although the launch of the new metal system seems to indicate that RICOH is doubling up its commitment.