Technologies

3D Printing technology

Ricoh offer a wide range of 3D print processes and technologies for fabrication of thermoplastic parts and prototypes

Power Bed Fusion

A range of materials for highly accurate end-use parts with a good surface finish

techpbf

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Diagram Largest model size
(WxDxH)
Minimum thickness Compatible materials
Selective Laser Sintering Diagram 550 x 550 x 500mm 0.1
[mm]
 

Polypropylene
Nylon 6 + Glass beads

  1. Lens
  2. Laser beam
  3. Re-coating roller
  4. Laser beam
  5. Powder bed
  6. Powder feed piston
  7. Build piston

SLS (also known as Powder Bed Fusion) involves applying a laser to a powdered material, which produces a highly accurate and durable model—making it ideal for producing functional end-use parts.

A thin layer of powder is layered across the build platform, which is then melted by the laser(s). The build platform lowers by the defined layer height, and another layer of powder is then deposited across the bed. The laser then melts the part area and it is sintered to the previous layer to create a 3D object. The process is repeated until the parts are created.

SLS systems do not require additional support material, as the surrounding powder that is not lasered supports the melted structure, therefore lots of parts can be manufactured inside the same build at once. Un-sintered material can also be recycled, which makes this a more cost-effective process. The polymer is manufactured inside a controlled heated Nitrogen-gas environment.

Features

Benefits
  • Precision & high durability
  • High speed
  • Shortened development cycles: parts can be produced and re-designed quickly
  • No tooling cost
  • Comparable strength to metal
  • Large build parts available (up to 500mmX500mmX480mm)
  • Support material not required (with polymer printing)
  • Ability to create highly flexible parts
Limitations
  • Range of materials
techsls

High Speed Sintering (HSS) / Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

Diagram Largest model size
(WxDxH)
Minimum thickness Compatible materials
High Speed Sintering Diagram HSS: 290x140x180mm

MJF: 380x284x380mm

0.1
[mm]
Polymer powder (PA12)
  1. Inkjet print head
  2. Powder feed
  3. Re-coating roller
  4. Inkjet print head
  5. Powder feed piston
  6. Build piston

High Speed Sintering (HSS) combines the process of Binder Jetting with the material offerings of SLS printing. As the name suggests, the process is typically 10-100 times faster than other 3D printing processes. This technology is one of the latest in 3D printing, and is ideally suited to the manufacture of high volume parts, due to the advantages in printing speed and price compared to Selective Laser Sintering. The process sinters real thermoplastic materials together to manufacture parts aimed at end use applications. The cutting edge technology uses an ink jet head to print a heat absorbent ink across the powder bed surface in the areas that are to be sintered to create parts. This ink then absorbs the heat from a series of heaters inside the printer to form 3D-printed parts. HSS is very similar to the Multi Jet Fusion process licenced by HP; the difference between the two processes is that the HP system lays down an additional ‘detailing agent’ via the ink jet head, following the heat absorbent ink.

Features

Benefits
  • Fast print speed
  • Removal of support material is not required
  • Large material range
Limitations
  • Pre-processed parts are grey (but can be dyed)
  • Small part builds
Assembly model, with parts produced by HSS

Assembly model, with parts produced by HSS

techhss

Material Extrusion

Endless materials and colours for all parts; well-suited to jigs and tool inserts

techmex

Fused deposition modelling (FDM)

Diagram Largest model size (WxDxH) Minimum thickness Compatible materials
Fused Deposition Modelling Diagram 355 x 406 x 355
[mm]
0.127
[mm]
ABS-ESD7
ABS-M30
ABS-M30i
ASA
Nylon 12
Nylon 12 CF
PC
PC-ABS
PC-ISO
ULTEM 1010
ULTEM 9085
  1. Build head
  2. Model material
  3. Model material
  4. Support material
  5. Build sheet
  6. Build platform
  7. Support material spool
  8. Model material spool

FDM constructs parts by extruding melted polymer through a heated nozzle, creating layers as it cools and solidifies which builds the model. FDM requires a support material which is deposited via a second nozzle. The support is always different to the final material, and is removed using a simple post-process where the part is placed into water to dissolve the support structure. FDM provides high durability and heat resistance, making it ideal for producing prototypes, jigs and tool inserts.

Features

Benefits
  • Good range of colour variations
  • Low wastage: eco-friendly disposal of support material
  • Ability to pause build to embed parts into the print (metal inserts)
  • Internal ‘honeycomb’ structures can be created to reduce part weight
  • Cost-effective parts
Limitations
  • Visible layers
  • Support material cannot be reused

In order to support the protruding elements of the model (such as the roof on the structure above), supporting materials have to be used. Without the support materials, protruding areas will fall before the model hardens. The support material will be removed after the build, ease of removal can vary depending on the shape of the model and supporting materials used.

Model produced by FDM

Model produced by FDM

techfdm

Injection Moulding

Discover our tooling options which cater to all volume requirements

techinj

By combining modern print with our extensive knowledge of moulding services, Ricoh are the ideal partner for a full end-to-end, design-to-manufacturing process. With our fast tooling methods and near limitless material choices, injection moulding is a reliable choice for manufacturing at high to medium volume. The process involves creating a hard tool out of steel or a soft tool out of aluminium or 3D printing a prototype insert. Melted polymer is the injected at pressure into the mould cavity. The malleable polymer fills and solidifies to create large quantities of plastic parts. Our team has many years’ experience with injection moulding and know how to use tooling and moulding to meet your specific application.

Features

Benefits
  • Fast production
  • Extensive range of materials and colours
  • Low part cost
  • Reduced waste
Limitations
  • Initial tooling cost
  • Part design restrictions
  • Small productions are less cost-effective
Material All standard, engineering and high-performance polymers
Model produced by injection moulding

Model produced by injection moulding

Notes

  • You can select from two types of filled structures – solid or semi-hollow- for models created with the FDM method. For more details see “Usage Precautions: Filled structures”.
  • We use the data received from customers without any modifications to perform the modelling. Please be aware that it is designed with a one-side tolerance so even if there is a deviation from the centre of the 3D data input value, it will be modelled on the input data.
  • Our 3D print fabrication service price structure can be found here.
  • The minimum reproducible dimensions vary with the modelling method and minimum thickness.
  • Support removal comes as standard. (Will not incur any additional costs)