Rich Minifie, senior AM engineer at Ricoh, outlines the importance of “right first time manufacture”
When a new 3D printer arrives, it’s tempting to put it into action straight away.
Just like when you buy a new car you want to get behind the wheel and see how it performs, so there will be engineers itching to see the new machine in action.
After making a significant investment it also makes financial sense to get the machine operational as soon as possible.
It’s typical of any industry that you simply cannot afford to have a costly machine sitting idle. It needs to be earning its keep.
But here at Ricoh our “more than a printer” promise means we are committed to taking a more disciplined approach to ensure we understand the machine fully before it is put into commercial use.
For our latest HP 4200 Jet Fusion printer, for example, that means an extensive testing period and machine validation before we start using it for our customers.
That’s because we pride ourselves on being a ‘right first time’ manufacturer. We want the product to be as good as it can possibly be, first time, every time.
The machine will have been stringently tested before we purchase it – but then our engineers conduct their own exacting procedures.
We practice a robust ‘gate’ or ‘new model introduction’ process to seamlessly integrate any new machine into our production, back office and front-end systems; including operator training, planned preventive maintenance schedules, risk assessments and the control of spare parts.
Further machine validation tests are undertaken, as well as material performance analysis via disruptive testing. Once complete, the transition period from engineering to production allows the machine to come online to our customers.
That’s ‘The Ricoh Way’ – making sure everything we do is geared towards quality and value.