Two powerhouses in additive manufacturing (AM) and global industry at-large, Ricoh and Siemens, have started collaborating to leverage Siemens Digital Industries Software and the Siemens’ Additive Manufacturing Network for Ricoh’s metal binder jetting (MBJ) platform. The beginning of the collaboration involves Ricoh’s use of Siemens’ digitalization solutions to optimize its MBJ workflow for aluminum parts output.
Via Siemens’ Brownfield Connectivity solution, Ricoh has started to monitor, collect, and store data related to the quality control of each step of the MBJ process. Both Siemens and Ricoh are especially interested in commercializing the solutions they’ve jointly developed for electrification applications, and EVs, in particular.
As seems to happen any time that Siemens is involved, this collaboration brings together some of the most significant threads currently at the center of focus in the AM sector. Upon reflection of the last year of AM progress, MBJ for decarbonization, as well as digital traceability of parts in every area of AM, are two of the themes from 2023 that seem poised to become even more fundamental to the sector’s activities in 2024.
Along those lines, then, it is intriguing to see those separate themes explicitly combined in this one collaboration, particularly since the primary market involved is EVs — another major theme from 2023 that should only gain further traction next year. While the Siemens Digital Industries Software VP quoted above is certainly correct that aluminum parts are “a” holy grail for AM, “the” holy grail, from a long-term perspective, may very well be the deployment of AM for EV supply chains.
This is by no means just because of the significance of the EV market, itself. Even more importantly, it is because the qualitative makeup of the manufacturing ecosystem for EVs is certain to have incalculable knock-on effects for all other areas of advanced manufacturing. The goals for the EV market are to decarbonize and scale up and incorporate automation to the fullest extent possible — all while digitally tracking the process at every step in the supply chain. All the other areas of global industry also need to know how to thread that exact needle, and they will all be taking their cues from the EV market.
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