Ricoh to Automate Production Process

Ricoh to Automate Production Process

Ricoh to Automate Production Process

Japan-based printer OEM Ricoh plans to automate all of its the production processes for drum units and toner cartridges at one of its Japan plants by March 2023.

According to Reuters, the company has used robots to perform most of the processes already. Since April, technicians have been monitoring equipment on the factory floor from home.

Ricoh to Automate Production Process

A self-driving vehicle with parts is pictured at Ricoh’s photocopier components factory in Atsugi, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan July 13, 2020. Picture taken July 13, 2020. REUTERS/Naomi Tajitsu

“Of course, you need to be on-site to assess and execute solutions when issues come up, but identifying and confirming are tasks we can now do from home,” said Kazuhiro Kanno, general manager at Ricoh’s printer manufacturing unit.

Global manufacturers have long used robots in production while leaving the knotty work of spotting flaws mainly to humans. That process tasks workers with constantly monitoring all aspects of the production line to spot irregularities, and has made quality control one of the last human hold-outs in otherwise automated factories.

But social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have prompted a rethink of the factory floor.

In addition, automating inspections is challenging, given the need to teach robots to identify tens of thousands of possible defects for a specific product and apply that learning instantly.

But a solution came from Israeli entrepreneur Ran Poliakine, who applied AI and optics technology he had used in medical diagnostics to the production line.



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