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Optimal Environment for Superior Manufacturing

A Cleaner Clean Room

Naoyuki Wazumi,
Corporate Officer of PFU Techno Wise Limited

Dust is the most critical problem in scanner manufacturing. For example, if dust gets into the optical unit, which is the core part of the scanner, a black line might appear in the scanned data. In order to prevent this problem, we chose to manufacture dust sensitive parts in a clean room.

However, as the number of units manufactured increased, the more trouble we had with dust. Thus, our battle with dust began.

The fundamental concepts of keeping dust away are to prevent it from being brought into the factory and to prevent it from being produced within the factory. However, it is not easy to determine where the dust is coming from or where it is produced, and countermeasures are not possible until this is known. But never once did Ricoh give up. "Each and every employee was involved in considering how to improve from the bottom up," reflects Corporate Officer Naoyuki Wazumi of PFU Techno Wise Limited. By listening to feedback from the floor and continually improving, we have perfected the manufacturing environment with a defect rate of close to zero.

We use a variety of techniques to keep the clean room clean. We determined that the cause of our dust problem was the increased traffic of employees coming in and out that accompanied the increased quantity of manufacturing. We changed the factory uniform from a two-piece style to a one-piece style. We created small holes at the corners of the component boxes where dust collects easily, so the dust could be removed with the air shower. In the past, we conducted scanner testing in the clean room after assembly, but as this process produces a small amount of paper dust, we moved the evaluation process to outside the clean room. Of course, we also make every effort in daily cleaning, such as wet-wiping.

Several tools that employees suggested have been adopted at the factory. For example, in order to carry the parts outside the cleaning room, rollway trays are used to prevent the carts from touching the floor directly. In the clean room, water trays are placed underneath workbenches.

Stringent Processes to Maintain High Quality

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