RICOH’s Digital Micro Factory: Sustainable Innovation in the Apparel Industry

  • Introducing: RAMP-UP: RICOH Apparel Manufacturer’s Partnership by Universal Platform
  • ShanghaiTex 2019, November 25-28, Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC)

RICOH unveiled its Digital Micro Factory (DMF) concept workflow at the 19h International Textile Industry Exhibition (ShanghaiTex 2019), held November 25-28 in Shanghai Expo Center. RAMP-UP: RICOH Apparel Manufacturer’s Partnership by Universal Platform was officially launched at the M2 Conference Hall on Nov 26 with a ceremony and press conference marking the new alliance and its fashion manufacturers. Tetsuya Morita, Corporate Vice President of Ricoh Co Ltd and General Manager of Industrial Printing, Koji Miyao, Chairman and General Manager of Ricoh China Co Ltd, and others of the Ricoh Group maintained a unified presence throughout the exhibition and conference.

In the opening speech of the ceremony, Koji Miyao said Ricoh aims to expand its China business into a core market, as Europe and the Americas, following impetus from this year’s China International Import Expo and 83 years of comprehensive market deployment. The Ricoh Group would continue to develop technologies and experience in Commercial Printing, but incorporating sustainable development and opening greater possibilities in Industrial Printing, with comprehensive and new, innovative technologies.

Tetsuya Morita, GM of Industrial Printing, announced that digital micro factory DMF, a very important concept to the Group, and RAMP-UP the apparel consortium had officially launched, answering to social issues in the future such as environmentalism and safety within the apparel ecosystem. Ricoh would strive to create an open global business environment, so as to push forward social problems such as water pollution, electricity consumption and excess inventory, maintaining a comfortable and safe living environment, a common issue for all human beings.

Morita discussed the proof of concept and the positive steps to be taken in testing from the first and second quarter 2020, with details on the company’s website. His next remarks were given to the Ricoh Group’s unremitting contribution to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) advocated by the United Nations, and to the role the DMF digital micro factory so vigorously launched will play in solving various social problems and providing new customer value to more and more people in garment and related markets.

Attendees at the ceremony already having joined the consortium were Dong YunLi, Deputy General Manager, Nantong Shenghe Industrial Co Ltd; Li Qun, Chairman, and Long Weiping, General Manager of Hangzhou 1949 Commune Cultural and Creative Co Ltd; and Kimio Uehara, Deputy General Manager, Brother Machinery Shanghai Ltd. Three additional companies including Hangzhou Dianshi Clothing Co Ltd had also confirmed joining the consortium, while many companies were in the process of joining the consortium as well.

Morita then spent an hour with the press, furthering understanding of the DMF concept. He acknowledged the highly developed nature of the Chinese apparel industry, but suggested the DMF concept was for the world market, including China. Ricoh hopes to expand sales of DMF workflow cloud solutions and textile printers, with a goal of JPY10 billion in revenue by the year 2025. DMF will produce significant social benefits using the advantages of industrial inkjet technology, such as diversity, customization, differentiation, multi-type small lot production and leading the industry trend.

Stepping up efforts to deploy the DMF concept itself, Ricoh entered a collaboration with Sweden’s Coloreel (March 2019) to develop an on-demand thread dye and inkjet printer. Ricoh also acquired LAC Corporation (2018, renamed Ricoh Digital Painting Company, Ltd.) and ColorGate Digital Output Solutions GmbH, (2018) a leading software provider with strength in color management. The ColorGate acquisition marked an important first step in active capital cooperation, eliminating self-efficiency, and permitting Ricoh to RAMP-UP its partnership programs.

China is the world’s garment factory, Tetsuya Morita said in closing. That is to say, China is ahead of other markets in terms of productivity and cost. Of course, the ‘digital micro factory’ is not suitable for mass production with this design. However, Ricoh was proposing its concept of DMF in today’s most efficient market today, aiming to bring China’s environmental protection system to bare, thereby achieving real sustainable development. We at the Ricoh Group believe this is huge. China is not only the garment factory of the world, it is the largest consumer and buyer of clothing in the world.

At present, Ricoh brings an environmental protection system and business model that conforms to trends of domestic production and domestic consumption. Ricoh, as the largest manufacturer of industrial print heads, has been providing print head services to garment manufacturers for many, many years. Today, we’re here as the manufacturer of print heads, the manufacturer of ink, and the manufacturer of complete systems. Therefore, we can work together with our partners towards providing an environmental protection system.

RAMP-UP: RICOH Apparel Manufacturer’s Partnership by Universal Platform:
– RICOH’s Digital Micro Factory,, Nov 26, 2019
– RICOH’s Industrial Printing Business,, Apr 11, 2019

The Ricoh Group exhibited at a 96 sq.m booth in the Digital Printing Machinery Zone at ShanghaiTex 2019. The booth was sectioned by DMF Zone, Component Zone and DTG Zone, introducing the DMF concept, component print heads & inks, and DTG printers.

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