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Company History

Coining Office Automation acronym

In 1974, Ricoh launched the RIFAX 600S, the world’s first high-speed office facsimile machine. In 1977, we coined the acronym Office Automation, for office automation. During the 1980s, we extended our office productivity support by rolling out a lineup that included computers and word processors, optical filing systems, and laser printers.

Corporate Milestones
1970 - 1984
Product & Technology Milestones
Jan. 1970

Ricoh of America, Inc. established in New Jersey ( running until 1984), through integration of New York office and Ricoh Industries U.S.A., Inc.

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Jan. 1970
Corporate Milestones

Ricoh of America, Inc. was established in New Jersey

Ricoh of America, Inc. established in January, 1970
Ricoh of America, Inc. established in January, 1970

The global success of its hit products provided Ricoh with a stream of opportunities to form technological tie-ups with leading manufacturers in various regions. To facilitate these activities, we set up local affiliates in Taiwan, Korea, the USA and the Netherlands, raising the recognition of the Ricoh brand outside of Japan. The earliest of these was Ricoh of America, Inc., founded in 1970 as the headquarters for our activities in North America.

Mar. 1970

Ricoh Pavilion appears at Japan Expo '70 with theme "Better Vision for Humanity".

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Mar. 1970
Corporate Milestones

Ricoh Pavilion appears at Japan Expo ’70 with theme of “Better Vision for Humanity”

Ricoh Pavilion welcomed many visitors every day
Ricoh Pavilion welcomed many visitors every day
Ricoh’s billboard tower became 
famous in Toyonaka City, Osaka
Ricoh’s billboard tower became famous in Toyonaka City, Osaka
Ricoh Pavilion used as the motif 
for a stamp issued by the Republic
of Liberia
Ricoh Pavilion used as the motif for a stamp issued by the Republic of Liberia
Float Vision “Eye of the Sky”
Float Vision “Eye of the Sky”

In 1970, Japan Expo ’70, the first world’s fair in Asia, was held in Osaka over 183 days starting from March 15. Ricoh participated in the event by setting up a pavilion, which was created fully utilizing its technological achievements and in line with the exposition’s overall theme of “Progress and Harmony for Mankind.” Our extraordinary exhibition feature a host of unique ideas that impressed many visitors and attracted a total of more than 7 million people at the Ricoh pavilion over the entire period.

Apr. 1971

Ricoh introduces the “RICOM 8”, the first office computer.

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Apr. 1971
Product & Technology Milestones

Ricoh introduces the RICOM 8, its first office computer

RICOM 8 (1971)
RICOM 8 (1971)

Ricoh was a pioneer in the field of office computer development that saw rapid growth in Japan in the 1970s. This is illustrated by the 1971 introduction of the RICOM 8, the company’s first office computer, which was developed jointly with TDK. The embedded magnetic core memory with a 2/4 kilobyte capacity and 64-bit CPU demonstrated exceptional (at that time) storage capability and high-speed performance. The product was also highly regarded for its space- saving tower-structure design.

May 1971

Atsugi Plant, Japan founded as key manufacturing base for business machines and communication and information systems.

Nov. 1971

Total Quality Control campaign intoroduced.

Nov. 1971

Ricoh Nederland B.V. established in Holland (renamed Ricoh Europe B.V. in 1986).

Mar. 1972

Ricoh launches the “RICOH PPC900”, its first dry-electrostatic-transfer plain-paper copier.

Jan. 1973

Ricoh Electronics, Inc. (REI) founded in the USA.

Apr. 1973

"RIFAX 600S", first high-speed facsimile machine for offices, succeeds in transmission between Tokyo and New York via satellite communications.

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Apr. 1973
Product & Technology Milestones

RIFAX 600S, first high-speed facsimile machine for offices, succeeds in transmitting a message between Tokyo and New York

RIFAX 600S (1974)
RIFAX 600S (1974)
RIFAX 600S high-speed facsimile 
enabling an astonishingly fast 60-sec. 
transmission, presented at the 
product launch conference at 
Keidanren Kaikan in April 1973, with 
Prime Minister Eisaku Sato (left) and 
Ricoh President Mikio Tatebayashi
RIFAX 600S high-speed facsimile enabling an astonishingly fast 60-sec. transmission, presented at the product launch conference at Keidanren Kaikan in April 1973, with Prime Minister Eisaku Sato (left) and Ricoh President Mikio Tatebayashi
RIFAX 600S exported to the USA (1975)
RIFAX 600S exported to the USA (1975)

RIFAX 600S was the world’s first high-speed facsimile machine for offices, designed to be able to transmit an A4 page in 60 seconds—an outstanding performance compared to the three to six minutes required for contemporary standard models at the time. The product was also capable of international transmission. At the product launch conference held in April 1973, a transmission demonstration was successfully conducted between Tokyo and New York via satellite communications, establishing the global reputation of Ricoh as a leading technology brand. This machine was included in the Essential Historical Materials for Science and Technology list (No.00170) for fiscal 2014.

RIFAX 600S: The World’s First High-speed Digital Facsimile for Offices, Capable of Connecting to Public-line Networks

Apr. 1973

Hasama Tohoku Ricoh Co., Ltd. founded (renamed Hasama Ricoh, Inc. in 1977)

May 1973

Rapifax Corp. established in the USA for marketing of facsimiles (renamed Rapicom, Inc. in 1978).

Jul. 1973

Ricoh Optical Industries Co., Ltd. founded in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.

Feb. 1975

Ricoh launches the “RICOPY DT1200”, a wet-type plain-paper machine that becoming the world's top-selling copier.

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Feb. 1975
Product & Technology Milestones

Ricoh launches the RICOPY DT1200, a wet-type plain-paper machine that became the best selling copier

New RICOPY DT series highly evaluated for its quality performance (1975)
New RICOPY DT series highly evaluated for its quality performance (1975)
Company-led rally held at Atsugi Plant to increase production of the new RICOPY DT1200 in October, 1975
Company-led rally held at Atsugi Plant to increase production of the new RICOPY DT1200 in October, 1975

The new RICOPY DT1200 was developed to satisfy the ever-higher expectations of users for plain-paper copiers (PPCs) at that time. We offered this model with confidence as a reflection of its strong features, namely, a single touch switch between two different paper size feeders, marking the first time that such a function had ever been employed for popular model PPCs; a liquid development method employed to consume the entire supply of toner loaded in the machine; and stable functionality for quality results, proven even with one million pages running consecutively, thus reducing the amount of required maintenance work. These superior specifications were highly regarded by many users, particularly in the USA, where in general, availability of maintenance service was geographically limited. In 1991, the RICOPY DT1200 was enshrined in the nation’s Copier Hall of Fame to acknowledge the significant role the product played in the history of wet-type copier development.

Nov. 1975

Ricoh becomes the first recipient for the Deming Prize in the office automation industry.

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Nov. 1975
Corporate Milestones

Ricoh becomes the first recipient of the Deming Prize in the office automation industry

Deming Medal
Deming Medal
Ricoh President Mikio Tatebayashi 
shaking hands with Dr. Deming at the 
award ceremony at Keidanren Kaikan 
on November 17, 1975
Ricoh President Mikio Tatebayashi shaking hands with Dr. Deming at the award ceremony at Keidanren Kaikan on November 17, 1975

In November 1971, Ricoh introduced a total quality control (TQC) campaign, aiming to build a recession-proof robust corporate structure. We began to conduct various TQC activities throughout the company to improve its management systems, setting as the goal the winning of the Deming Prize, the world’s top quality control award. As a result of consistent efforts over the ensuing 46 months, on November 17, 1975, Ricoh became the first office machine manufacturer to receive the Deming Prize. This recognition served to verify our successful structural reform directed at growth in the coming era.

1976

Establishes the Environmental Promotion Section

Jul. 1976

“RIFAX 600S” plays active role in Montreal Olympic Game.

Oct. 1976

  • President Mikio Tatebayashi passes away.(22nd)
  • Shinichi Miyoshi appointed chairman and Takeshi Ouye president.(26th)

Dec. 1976

Ricoh Credit Co., Ltd. established. (renamed Ricoh Lease Co., Ltd. in 1984)

Mar. 1977

The corporate headquarters completed and opens at Aoyama, Tokyo.

Apr. 1977

Ricoh introduces the acronym OA, for office automation, at CeBIT in Hannover.

Jul. 1978

Ricoh Deutschland GmbH established in Germany. Construction of Numazu R&D Center completed in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan .

Dec. 1978

Ricoh Business Machines, Ltd. founded in Hong Kong (renamed Ricoh Hong Kong Ltd. in 1987).

May 1979

Ricoh Systems, Inc. established in California to carry out R&D (later merged with Ricoh Corporation in 1987).

Jul. 1979

Materials R&D Center formed at Numazu R&D Center, Japan (renamed Chemical Products R&D Center in 1990).

  • Toda Technical Center established in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture Japan.
  • Ricoh UK Ltd. established.

Jan. 1981

Ricoh begins marketing Ricoh brand dry PPCs in Europe.

Mar. 1981

Service Parts Center established in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Apr. 1981

  • Ricoh begins marketing Ricoh brand dry PPCs in North America.
  • Construction of Ricoh Electronics Development Center completed at Osaka Plant, Japan.

May 1982

Fukui Plant, Japan, founded for production of sensitized paper.

Jun. 1982

Ricoh introduces the “RICOPY FT4060”, the first dry-toner plain-paper copier.

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Jun. 1982
Product & Technology Milestones

Ricoh introduces the RICOPY FT4060, the first dry-toner plain-paper copier

RICOPY FT4060 (left) / RICOPY FT4030
RICOPY FT4060 (left) / RICOPY FT4030
The RICOPY FT4000 series won a gold award at the international 
trade fair in Bulgaria in September, 1983
The RICOPY FT4000 series won a gold award at the international trade fair in Bulgaria in September, 1983

The RICOPY FT4060, an A3-page plain-paper copier (PPC) complete with a zoom feature, enjoyed phenomenal market success, with a total of 100,000 units sold in 10 months from its release. Keys to this success were the model’s high definition quality, operational durability and compact body. These properties were achieved through an effective combination of a newly developed electrophotographic imaging system and many other technologies related to mechanism and supply items, including toner. Also, with increased availability for paper type and size, this innovative PPC model contributed considerably to raising the efficiency of duplication work in offices.

Jul. 1982

Hatano Plant begins operations in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Nov. 1982

Ricoh introduces the “RICORE 3000”, a digital document processor.

Apr. 1983

Takeshi Ouye appointed chairman and Hiroshi Hamada president.

Jun. 1983

Ricoh launches the “RICOH LP4120” laser printer.

Oct. 1983

Ricoh launches the “RIFAX 1300”, a first plain-paper facsimile machine.

Dec. 1983

Ricoh UK Products Ltd. founded.

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Dec. 1983
Corporate Milestones

Ricoh UK Products Ltd. founded

Ricoh UK Products Ltd. (RPL), our first manufacturing subsidiary in Europe
Ricoh UK Products Ltd. (RPL), our first manufacturing subsidiary in Europe
Norman Lamont, the then UK Minister of State for Trade and Industry (left), 
and Ricoh President Hiroshi Hamada announcing the establishment of RPL 
in October, 1983
Norman Lamont, the then UK Minister of State for Trade and Industry (left), and Ricoh President Hiroshi Hamada announcing the establishment of RPL in October, 1983

In the 1980s, Ricoh proactively pursued global business development. Export sales grew to account for 34.1% of the total for fiscal 1978, and operation bases were set up in new locations around the globe. Major subsidiaries established at that time included Ricoh Electronics Inc., a manufacturing company for office automation equipment founded in California, USA, in 1979; and Ricoh UK Products Ltd., a manufacturing firm established in Telford, UK, that went on line in December 1983 to produce office automation equipment. Following expansion in North America, an earlier target region for advancement, we began to focus on Europe to build the foundations for future growth.

Ricoh UK Ltd

Feb. 1984

The “RIFAX 1300HS” awarded Nikkei Product Excellence Prize.

Mar. 31, 1984

Chairman Takeshi Ouye passes away.

Apr. 1984

  • Ricoh Corporation established by merger of Ricoh of America, Inc. and Rapicom, Inc.
  • Eleven service subsidiaries merged into two Ricoh Service Co., Ltd.(Tokyo, Osaka) . (renamed Ricoh Technonet Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Osaka) in 1988)
  • Ricoh establishes Manufacturing Technology R&D Center at Atsugi Plant, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
  • Imaging Technology Development Center established at Ohmori Office, Tokyo, Japan (renamed Imaging Technology Center in 1995 and then Imaging Technology Division in 1999).
    General Electronics R&D Center formed at Ohmori Office.