A number of Japanese tech companies are poised to enter the 3D printer market, with Ricoh, Japan’s leading multinational precision instrument company already developing a 3D printer for car and machinery parts they aim to have in production by 2016. They hope to capitalize on demand for mass production as well as prototyping. The printers are expected to be priced between $46,900 to $187,670. Ricoh is targeting small and midsize parts makers as potential clients.
In the meantime, in efforts to get their feet wet in the 3D printer market, Ricoh will start offering prototyping services, and will be importing and selling 3D printers from global leader Stratasys, a manufacturer of 3D printers and 3D production systems for office-based rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing solutions.
Ricoh will also distribute products from 3D Systems, a global integrated solutions 3D printing company, specializing in 3D printers, print materials, professional and consumer custom-parts services and 3D imaging and customization software. Its products are meant to make manufacturing processes more efficient, without requiring tooling.
Ricoh’s initial target is annual sales of $2.8 billion for its new 3D printer business, including its own products. The company will conduct research and development activities using its inkjet and other printing technologies to carry over to their 3-D printers. Ricoh will set up two offices in Kanagawa Prefecture by the end of this month, one in Yokohama and the other in Atsugi, to sell 3-D printers supplied by makers such as U.S. firms Stratasys Ltd. and 3D Systems Corp. The offices will also provide services in which 3-D projects can be created based on customer data.
The Ricoh Company, Ltd. is a Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company, originally founded in 1936 as Riken Sensitized Paper. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh produces electronic products, primarily cameras and office equipment such as printers, photocopiers, fax machines, document solutions and also projectors. In the late 1990s through early 2000s, the company grew to become the largest copier manufacturer in the world. During this time, Ricoh acquired Savin, Gestetner, Lanier, Rex-Rotary, Monroe, Nashuatec, IKON and most recently IBM Printing Systems Division, Infoprint Solutions Company.
Ricoh has many technology and customer research groups around the world. For example, Ricoh Innovations is a research subsidiary of Ricoh Company that is located in Silicon Valley, California, focusing on technology, cloud, mobile solutions, and customer research. Information about other Ricoh research labs can be found at Ricoh’s R&D website.
Other Japanese companies edging into the 3D printing business are Canon and Seiko Epson. Let’s hear your thoughts on Rocoh’s entry into the 3D printing market in the Ricoh 3D printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.