A photoconductor production line that achieves a substantial reduction in air-conditioned clean room space. Substantial reduction in capital investment and environmental impact achieved
Production of photoconductors, a component of multi function printers and printers, must be conducted in a clean space containing no dust. Conventional large production lines required expansive space for air conditioning and considerable amounts of energy to keep the air clean, which inevitably entailed big financial and environmental impacts.
To address this issue, the Ricoh Group has developed a new production line system where one or two units are manufactured at a time and air purifying and conditioning systems are used in that small area, instead of putting several dozen units on a pallet. In this system, small booths are created for the washing, painting, and drying processes, respectively, and these booths are collectively managed as one unit.
The hot blast drying process, which required vast amounts of energy, was abandoned and new drying technology adopting an IH heating method developed. This has led to far shorter start-up times and has significantly reduced energy consumption in the drying process. As a result of these efforts, a microminiature photoconductor production line was developed with a line length shortened to 1/6 that of the previous model, and reductions in a number of factors compared to conventional lines, including the equipment installation space to 1/16*, the area requiring clean air conditioning to 1/92, and capital investment to 1/3.
* Ratio of facility area to per-unit production capacity
As this downsized production line for photoconductors is small, it can quickly and easily be established at new production bases, thus contributing to improvement in productivity.
Figure 2:Downsized production line for photoconductors