Ricoh boosts productivity by replacing metal tools with 3D-printed lightweight tools

Japanese office automation equipment manufacturer Ricoh Industries is replacing traditional metal tooling with customized, lightweight 3D printed jigs and fixtures for its Production Technology Center assembly line – improving manufacturing efficiency while minimizing manual tooling errors. The assembly line, located in Miyagi prefecture in northeastern Japan, is dedicated to manufacturing large-format printers.

Assembling an electronic component using a 3D printed fixture produced in anti-static ABS plastic on the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer improves manufacturing efficiency (Photo: Ricoh)
Ricoh’s 3D printed jigs and fixtures boost assembly line productivity. These manufacturing aids were produced on the Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer using ABS plastic (Photo: Ricoh)

By producing the tools in durable acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) thermoplastic resin on a Stratasys Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer, Ricoh is able to customize each tool precisely according to the part geometry while reducing the tool’s weight. This has enabled Ricoh to accelerate the manufacturing process in which an operator typically handles more than 200 different part types each day.

Ricoh develops and manufactures high quality office equipment such as copiers, fax machines and projectors. The competitive nature of the electronics industry led the company to look for new ways to accelerate product launches while maintaining or lowering its production costs.

“Because we are producing an enormous number of parts, it takes a lot of time and effort to identify the right jigs and fixtures for each one. This manual process has become even lengthier as the number of components grows, requiring that an operator examine the shape, orientation and angle of each part before taking out a tool and placing it back in its original fixture. The operators were occasionally annoyed with the many different tools, and we were looking for a way to accelerate tooling to match our manufacturing schedule,” said Taizo Sakaki, Senior Manager of Business Development at Ricoh Group. “Now with Stratasys 3D printing, we are able to customize the tools according to the part and produce them on demand which is helping us restructure and modernize our production process.”

Prior to 3D printing, Ricoh had to outsource machine cut tools which could take two weeks or more. Now, Ricoh’s operators can determine the shape and geometry of a fixture that corresponds to its associated part through 3D CAD software and 3D print it in one day. This leaves the workers more time to attend to other stations. Moreover, new hires can now adapt to the tools and the workstations in two days when previously a new worker had to spend at least one week to learn all the tools. The jigs and fixtures are also much lighter so that workers can use them for a prolonged period of time without fatigue.

“The Stratasys Fortus 900mc 3D printing solution enables us to realize designs that are difficult for conventional cutting methods to replicate, such as hollow interiors, curves or complex shapes. The ABS material used to 3D print the tools is very strong and anti-static, which is important due to the large number of electronic components we are assembling, adding to the advantages

Kaspersky forecast on Robotos replacing humans

About 30 years ago the personal computer began to make its way into regular use – and it went on to transform society and the way we live our lives.

Kaspersky Lab’s experts decided to mark that anniversary by looking further into the future and imagining how information technology might develop and change our lives in the new digital realities of 2045, 30 years from now.

Robots EverywhereBefore long it’s likely that the world’s population will include billions of people and billions of robots, with the latter doing almost all of the heavy, routine labor. People will work on improving the software for the robots and the IT industry will be home to companies developing programs for robots just like they now develop apps for users to download and install.Mechanical PeopleTo a certain extent the boundaries between robots and humans will become blurred.

 Transplants will start using electronically controlled artificial organs and prosthesis will be a routine surgical procedure. Nanorobots will travel deep into the body to deliver drugs to diseased cells or perform microsurgery. Specially installed sensors will monitor people’s health and transmit their findings into a cloud-based storage that can be accessed by the local doctor. All of this should lead to a considerable increase in life expectancies.

Smart HomesMoreover, people will live in smart homes where most creature comforts will be fully automated. The software that runs the house will take care of energy, water, food and supplies consumption and replenishment. The residents’ only concern will be to ensure there is enough money in their bank accounts to pay the bills.Hyper IntelligenceOur digital alter egos will finally be fully formed within a single global infrastructure capable of self-regulation and involved in managing life on the planet. 

The system will operate a bit like today’s TOR; the most active and effective users will earn moderator rights. The system will be geared towards distributing resources between people, preventing armed conflict and other humanitarian actions.3D Printing – Fast and CheapIt won’t just be dreary chores that are consigned to the history books – production of certain items will no longer be needed. Instead 3D printers will enable us to design and create what we need, from household items like dishes and clothes to the building bricks for a future home.

No More Computers

Robots Replacing People, Robots Serving People: Kaspersky Lab Presents a Forecast for 2045The PC might have started the whole IT boom, but by 2045 we’ll probably only see it in museums. To be more precise we will no longer need a single tool for working with data – which is basically all a computer does. There will be an even greater range of smart devices and these different gadgets will steadily take over the functions of today’s PCs.

 For example, financial analysis will be done by a server controlled by the organization concerned using electronic documents, not by an accountant on a personal computer.TechnophobiaNot everyone will be excited by a brave new robotic world, however. 

New Luddites will likely emerge to oppose the development of smart homes, automated lifestyles and robots. The opposition to IT developments will shy away from using smart systems, appliances and robots for certain types of work, and will not have any digital identity.

“The current rate of development in IT makes it difficult to deliver precise predictions about where we will be in a few decades. However, it is clear that every year our technologies will get even smarter and the people who work with them will need to keep up. We can certainly be sure that cybercriminals will continue to make every effort to exploit any new IT advances for their own malicious purposes,” said Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab. “But whatever our world looks like in 30 years, we should start improving its comfort, safety and well-being now. Technology is just a tool, and it is entirely up to us whether we use it for good or for evil”

To read about new trends in the APT world, please visit the Securelist blog.

To watch Kaspersky Lab’s video “Hacked off in 2014: the cyber-battle for cash and privacy”, 

please click here.

To find out more about key events that have defined the threat landscape in 2014, please read Kaspersky Lab’s report in full The interactive chronicle of targeted cyberattacks is available at https://apt.securelist.com.

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 17-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more atwww.kaspersky.com.

Sliced Light: 3D Printing by Replacing Filament with Light

ekaggrat-3When it comes to 3D printing on FDM based 3D printers, there are an increasing amount of materials and colors to choose from. One man, named Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi, however, decided to try something entirely out of the ordinary; print with light.

As many of us know, 3D printers use a technique where they print layer-by-layer until a design is complete. The objects come off the printer as whole 3-dimensional items. Ekarggrat decided to implement an entirely new concept within the print process. He wonder what would happen if instead of using traditional filament, he used LED lights, thus he set out on a mission to find out.

Of course, tangible objects couldn’t be printed in lights, as we all know that light is intangible. However, utilizing a camera, Ekaggrat was able to visuallize a complete 3D printed object, built entirely out of light.

ekaggrat-4

“What I did was attach a LED to the print head of a 3dr delta printer,” Ekaggrat told 3DPrint.com. “The LED is attached to pin 1 on the Ramps board of the printer. I wrote a custom script in grasshopper 3d. This script takes any 3D model, and converts it into a gcode which is specially meant to control the printer with the LED. This gcode just makes the printer move on a path and turns on and turns off a led without actually printing anything.”

ekaggrat-2He then took his NIKON D3100 camera, set it to BULB mode, and took a photograph using a very long exposure value. This was while the 3D printer moved using the LED light on the path he defined in the gcode. The extruder on the printer was turned off, so that it didn’t actually print with traditional filament.

“This is a twist to an age old technique called ‘light painting’,” Ekaggrat explained to us.

The results? They were quite incredible. You can see each layer that the 3D printer moved around, shining its LED light as it went layer-by-layer until the print was complete. Of course, there is no end product other than these fascinating photos that were taken.

The entire project took Ekaggrat only two days to complete, and he isn’t stopping here. He plans on implementing a RGB LED to add color to his modern day ‘light painting’ technique.

What do you think? Is this not one of the most amazing looking 3D prints you have ever seen? Discuss in the 3D Light Printing thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video showing the process which Ekaggrat used, below:

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