Good references convinced Ricoh to choose Rocla AGV

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- 30 Jan 2014 ( #652 )
3 min read
In total, nine AGVs take care of inner logistics at Ricoh Industrie France. Click for larger image.
In total, nine AGVs take care of inner logistics at Ricoh Industrie France. Click for larger image.
Mr. Philippe Coulon feels relieved. After three years of automating the Ricoh production Mr. Coulon can say that project is ready. The massive automation project was not a piece of cake but it had to be done as Ricoh's production flow had grown since the year 1992, when production started in the current factory. Now Ricoh's thermal paper production process is automated with Rocla AGVs and warehouse management system (WMS).

In total, nine AGVs take care of inner logistics: AGVs transport raw material paper reels and pallets from arrival point to the production machines, from machines into the curing room, then into an intermediate stock and finally into loading area. Rocla AGVs even empty the trash containers.

Thanks to Rocla's WMS, at Ricoh people know where each roll is and in what phase. AGV system brought more space, as now they can store even four paper rolls on top of each other, as earlier, when transporting was done with manual forklifts, they could only store maximum two rolls upon another. The AGV system is also easy to install in an old factory.

As the business has become more demanding, customers want their products to be delivered quickly. That requires traceability of the whole production. Most of Ricoch's production is on reels and yet there are some products that are on pallets. Therefore AGVs need to handle both reels and pallets.

Ricoh Industrie France is situated in Colmar in the east-north of France. Company is constantly working to minimize the impact of its activities on this environment. The organization was one of the pioneers in the region to be attributed the ISO 14001 certification.

AGVs use environmentally friendly technology. Rocla AGVs are also manufactured taking environmental issues into consideration.

AGVs transport raw material paper reels and pallets from arrival point to the production machines, from machines into the curing room, then into an intermediate stock and finally into loading area. Click for larger view.
AGVs transport raw material paper reels and pallets from arrival point to the production machines, from machines into the curing room, then into an intermediate stock and finally into loading area. Click for larger view.

Ricoh Industrie France has expanded its activities towards developing various products for the copier market: multifunction printers (MFP) and the Green Line range products (remanufacturing activity), customized configured MFP, toners, recycled cartridges and thermal products and thermal transfer ribbons.

Rocla AGVs work in Ricoh Industrie France's thermal paper products' department. Thermal paper is a basis paper on which several layers of chemicals components are coated in order to give the paper its thermo sensitive properties. It's used e.g. in receipts, tickets and labels.

"Our material flow had grown and it was very complicated to handle without any automation or management systems. We had "near accident" situations as there was a lot of traffic. At the same we also wanted to rationalize our operations. We wanted to both increase safety and decrease costs", Mr. Coulon explains.

In result, Ricoh could reduce the amount of forklifts from 11 to 5. "Earlier our fleet of logistics was completely manual. We didn't have any warehouse management system and it was sometimes difficult to find reels", Mr. Coulon recalls.

"Take enough time to investigate your logistics flow and how to manage it. The better you do the preparation work, the sooner you get the benefits of automation", Mr. Coulon advises.

As Ricoh Industrie France is a part of Japanese Ricoh group, significant investments have to be approved in the head office. Therefore it was an advantage that the AGV supplier is internationally known and has a long history and good references in similar installations. Rocla is well known also in Japan.

"I benchmarked several AGV suppliers and finally ended up with two. In the final phase it was important for me that Rocla could show me references of similar installations. Also I appreciated the input of Rocla's agent in France, Mr. Malbet, who I knew already since several years and who is a professional of paper industry", Mr. Coulon explains.

After the tremendous project, Mr. Coulon now can advise those who plan to automate their production process:

"Take enough time to investigate your logistics flow and how to manage it. The better you do the preparation work, the sooner you get the benefits of automation", Mr. Coulon advises.

For more information on Rocla's comprehensive AGV solutions please visit www.rocla-agv.com

ROCLA OY

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Web: www.rocla.com

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AGV Services: +358 20 7781 312

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