Ricoh Company, Ltd. (President and CEO: Shiro Kondo; Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; hereinafter "Ricoh") together with Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co, Ltd. (President: Toshikazu Nishimoto; Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; hereinafter "Tokyo Steel"), has developed electric furnace-made steel sheets (*1)with the properties required for use in office equipment parts, and decided to use the material for multifunctional printers. The first models will be released during fiscal 2012. This is the first time in the office industry that devices will be built in part with electric furnace-made steel sheets.
(*1) Steel sheets that are principally made of 100% steel scrap.
Steel sheets made in electric furnaces have mostly been used as a construction material with an emphasis on strength. The joint development undertaken by the two companies has succeeded in ensuring the quality and features required for office equipment use, including thinness (a thickness of 2mm or less), electrical conductivity and processability, enabling their use in office equipment.
Specifically, Ricoh specified the material properties required for office equipment, to which Tokyo Steel responded with material development focused on a thinner product, plating, improvements in electrical conductivity, and pressing/forming. Tokyo Steel then used its advanced impurity removal and rolling technologies to develop and produce high-performance steel sheets for office equipment use.
Ricoh believes that if we are to continue using limited resources into the future, we need to start using steel sheets made of steel scrap and produced in electric furnaces for all possible applications. Since the electric furnace-made steel sheets developed thus far have ductility issues when compared to those made using blast furnaces(*2) from the point of view of Ricoh's requirements, we will use them in parts that we have specifically selected in consideration of the difficulties involved. We will continue our development efforts with Tokyo Steel to improve material properties with an eye to greater application in more advanced techniques such as deep drawing.
(*2) Steel sheets made of pig iron extracted from iron ore reduction reaction.
With the aim of developing a sustainable society, Ricoh has set a target for reducing the amount of resources it obtains from the Earth by 25% by 2020 and by 87.5% by 2050 (compared with 2007). This is because extraction of virgin resources has a profound impact on the global environment, such as destroying forests as well as depleting the resource itself. Toward this end, Ricoh has taken various initiatives such as downsizing products, developing renewable resources like biomass, and recycling resources.