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Environmental Impact Visualization Technology in Parts Manufacturing

The RICO2RET parts environmental impact visualization tool makes possible efficient environmental impact reduction in parts manufacturing.

Environmental Impact Reduction in Parts Manufacturing

To effectively reduce the environmental impact of its products, Ricoh developed RICO2RET (Ricoh CO2 Reduction & Evaluation Tool) to calculate CO2 emitted during the parts manufacturing process.

This tool is used to calculate CO2 emissions per part for each manufacturing process or each processing facility on the basis of inputs such as the types and quantities of materials and manufacturing supplies and the energy consumption of production equipment, air conditioning, lighting, etc. The tool makes possible efficient improvement by displaying the calculation results using graphs that make it possible to identify at a glance processes that entail high CO2 emissions. Ricoh will also make use of the tool in environmental impact reduction in parts manufacturing by updating as necessary the output units that are the basis for calculation in order to maintain data accuracy.

Figure 1: Schematic Representation of RICO2RET
Figure 1: Schematic Representation of RICO2RET

Visualization of the Environmental Impact of Each Manufacturing Process

We previously calculated manufacturing environmental impacts using process CO2 emission coefficients, uniquely determining manufacturing impacts by means of materials and mass. A problem with this approach was the inability to visualize improvement results in manufacturing processes, such as increases in production efficiency. Using RICO2RET, we are able to ascertain areas to target for impact reduction and evaluate the effects of manufacturing process improvements.

Ricoh has made it possible to engage in objective evaluation independent of the individual assessor by establishing common standards for the Ricoh Group and reflecting them in RICO2RET. In addition, we are contributing to the identification and reduction of environmental impacts by devising innovations in input methods and calculation methods to make possible calculation of environmental impacts with reduced assessor workload and by promoting their introduction.

Figure 2: RICO2RET Environmental Impact Visualization Flow
Figure 2: RICO2RET Environmental Impact Visualization Flow

Use of RICO2RET in the Ricoh Group and at Supplier Companies

To reduce the environmental impacts of raw materials and parts manufacturing, which have a major effect on the environmental impacts of Ricoh products, RICO2RET visualizes manufacturing process CO2 emissions and indicates areas to target for impact reduction. Ricoh not only uses RICO2RET at its manufacturing organizations and production-related companies, but also provides it free of charge to suppliers that do business with the Ricoh Group, where it is used in a CO2 reduction support program for suppliers.

RICO2RET Utilization Case Study

A Ricoh production organization calculated CO2 emissions in the fusing roller manufacturing process and implemented improvements, using RICO2RET to quantify each process and identify areas to target for CO2 emissions impact reduction. The organization was able to reduce drying process CO2 emissions approximately 80% by introducing synchronized single-unit processing using a compact hot air drier instead of the previous batch drying of 400 units in a large drying oven. This made possible an annual reduction of 7.8 tons of CO2 emissions in the fusing roller parts manufacturing process.

Figure 3: Example of Fusing Roller Manufacturing Process Improvement
Figure 3: Example of Fusing Roller Manufacturing Process Improvement

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