We are pleased to share some success stories from Ritech, the Japan-based entity of the Rieckermann Group.
Industry: Plastic | Market: Japan | Customer: TOTAI Co. Ltd
The Japanese economy is facing a nationwide crisis of labor shortage due to an aging population that is contributed by high life expectancy and falling birth rates. Many companies in Japan are feeling the impact of this shortage, particularly those in industries whose workforce mainly consists of highly skilled or highly experienced workers.
Japanese converter company, TOTAI Co., Ltd., was also feeling the effect of this labor shortage issue and wanted to find a solution.
The Rieckermann solution
TOTAI installed a solventless laminator from Ritech, the Japanese entity of the Rieckermann Group, at its plant in Fujikawa in 2017. The machine was installed mainly because of its installation footprint; it does not require the high ceiling or exhaust systems that dry lamination would. Additionally, the machine can be easily and effectively operated even by operators without extensive experience in the industry. The investment into solventless technology contributes to a clean, environment-friendly and safe working environment.
The key result
Since introducing the solventless laminator, TOTAI was able to open opportunities in the converting industry to a more diversified and unconventional workforce. In TOTAI’s case, the operation of the laminator was assigned to a pair of high school graduates, 19 and 20 years of age, both of whom are female. This segment is traditionally not represented in the manufacturing field of the converting industry in Japan. This is a very appropriate case study of how technology has important effects on business operations.
Industry: Plastic | Market: Japan | Customer: Dainihon Package Corporation
Dainihon Package Corporation’s line of business includes gravure printing and preparing plates for printing. Its main flexible packaging gravure printing plant is in Koshigaya, Saitama, Japan. It traditionally used a manual process to remove stubborn dried ink from the doctor blades of its four printing machines at the plant. This method of cleaning doctor blades was to first immerse them in an organic solvent and then scrape them with a metal spatula to remove the hardened ink.
The traditional method was a time-consuming and labor-intensive task that slowed down the efficiency of printing jobs. On top of this, Dainihon had to keep additional doctor holder sets as printing units to increase the operational rates of the machines with the manual process. The manual cleaning process also created health and safety issues. The organic solvent used to clean blades were a health risk to those who were exposed to it. The cleaning was often done in a rush too, which led to workers being cut by blades if they did not take time for safety precautions.
The Rieckermann solution
Dainihon automated the cleaning process of doctor blades with the installation of a parts washing system from Ritech, the Japanese entity of the Rieckermann Group.
The key result
With the parts washing system, seven to eight blades could be cleaned at once in a span of 30 minutes, as compared to the traditional process that took about 15 to minutes to clean a single unit. Faster parts washing meant they could also reduce the number of doctor holders needed to maintain high operational rates. With the parts washing system, Dainihon can use solvent-free cleaning solutions, which are environmentally friendly and not hazardous to the health of its operators. The installation of the machine has already attracted the interest of other companies in the printing industry who were also interested in improving occupational safety. The companies’ representatives had paid a visit to Dainihon Package to test the machine with their own parts and were pleasantly surprised with its cleaning outcome.