Boston-based Rize Inc. has seen its Rize One 3D printer used for numerous applications, as customers find great promise in the professional desktop system. Famously requiring minimal post-processing, the system is proving itself on the market as customers such as New Hudson Façades (NHF) bring the Rize One into operations with a speedy return on investment (ROI).
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Andy Kalambi, President and CEO of Rize, who gave me an update on the company’s operations and ethos.
“We’ve had a mission to set for ourselves, for inclusive and sustainable innovation,” Kalambi told me. “With that approach we can take additive everywhere and to everyone. The way to do it is to make industrial 3D printing easy, safe and fully digital.”
Bringing operations together under one common vision is a necessity to drive success, and Kalambi and the Rize team focus on two key words: inclusion and sustainability. Acting as the North Star for the company, these principles serve as a guide for every strategic decision.
One of the primary advantages of 3D printing as a manufacturing technology is its digital nature, which impacts every step of production from design conception to supply chain operations. However, the Rize CEO was quick to note, “that digital experience is quickly lost” as soon as a part comes out of the 3D printer. One of his favorite moments at this year’s AMUG event was during a presentation from an aerospace engineer who said, “3D printing is 21st century until it comes out of the printer, then it is 19th century,” in terms of the need for post-processing and other physical processes to complete the production stages. “We want all of it to be 21st century,” Kalambi said.
Rize is seeking to create a better workflow, focused on sustainability and inclusion in innovative approach.
“To drive this approach, three things need to hold true”
- Be a true platform
- Business model innovation
- Attract top talent
These three action items together, Kalambi noted, will allow for Rize to deliver on its promises.
Be a true platform
Kalambi notes that platform thinking will ultimately enable success for a full offering.
“This means the end-to-end experience, a complete digital experience,” he said. “We need to bring out new applications very, very quickly, and at a relatively lower cost. The dollar per new application should be the lowest.”
Upcoming announcements will see “a complete paradigm shift that happens in industrial 3D printing” as Kalambi hinted toward new introductions at this year’s formnext. “The Rize One will no longer be just a 3D printer; it will be a complete desktop additive manufacturing platform.”
He clarified that by “desktop additive manufacturing platform,” he meant something inherently different than “desktop 3D printing.” The desktop additive manufacturing platform focuses on functional and end-use parts production, and that is where Rize is focusing its attention and nomenclature.
“A platform approach is the only way to really drive sustainable growth. Something sustainable is scalable,” Kalambi continued.
Regarding its other pillar of innovation, Kalambi noted that platform thinking enables inclusiveness through expanding the user focus beyond trained additive engineers.
“In terms of inclusiveness, we look to a new market, to new users, to practically anyone we can think of who can use industrial 3D printing—not just limited to additive engineers, but production engineers, people on the shop floors who have never used 3D printing before; people who have never used any equipment before. We’ve made a push-button approach,” he said.
“Tremendous innovation gets generated from inclusive innovation.”
Business model innovation
This focus on expanding toward inclusive use led Kalambi neatly into the second aspect of Rize’s thinking. This need to reach out to new users in new markets requires business model innovation, he explained.
“The end game of additive is really not just printing parts in an additive context, but being able to change the business model and how customers engage with their customers,” he told me, touching on Rize’s recently formed partnership with PSMI and the NHF case study as examples of encouraging these new forms of engagement.
With NHF, for instance, “It’s a company of CNC users and CNC programmers, who are not normally using additive on their own. The usage [of 3D printing] is just mind-boggling.” The proven ROI within three months of getting the Rize One up and printing represents for Rize “a dream come true,” Kalambi said, adding that “it’s very heartening for us.”
Julie Reece, Rize’s Vice President of Marketing, added that NHF Engineering Manager Andrew Black is effectively running the 3D printer 24/7.
“He knew he wanted to use AM and had an innovative mindset, but he didn’t quite know how; he knew he wanted to use it to streamline their prorcess,” she said. “He didn’t want to have to train specialists, he didn’t want to have to add facilities; he wanted CNC operators to use it, and he wanted to use it himself. It’s next to his desk so he can use it all the time, literally in an office environment.”
NHF is putting their Rize One to use in assembly and in quality inspections, among other applications, saving time and money on producing parts—and seeing a production increase of 15% by increasing the number of inspections that can be done.
Attract top talent
Kalambi, who has held the position of President and CEO of Rize since November 2017, well understands the need for having the right people in place for the right job in order to get the job done right.
“We’ve been building out the team; it’s twice as big as you saw six months back,” the Rize CEO told me. “We’ve doubled within the last six months, and within the next six months we’ll double again.”
The growth in the team has been merited by growing business operations; revenue has been increasing “at a very fast clip,” Kalambi confided. While Rize does not publicly disclose its financial figures, he could confirm that numbers have “been ahead of targets every quarter and every month now.”
He sees talent acquisition as key to continuing to drive sustainable expansion, noting recent appointments of high-profile positions filled by experienced individuals familiar with advanced technologies. Among these are Kishore Boyalakuntla as Vice President of Product, who Kalambi notes as “now driving the product portfolio, marketing functions and application engineering functions” and is now serving as “one of my key leaders;” and Tim Ruffner as Sales Manager, Americas, who is a “top sales guy and really experienced from work with other 3D printing companies.” Bringing in capable employees with established industry expertise is helping Rize to “build out the team with our message and what we are doing,” Kalambi commented.
Sustainable and inclusive innovation is possible
“These three things have been the big things in terms of proving that sustainable and inclusive innovation is possible,” Kalambi said as we closed our discussion. “It’s incredible to see the response we are getting from the community… Together, we can expand this market. This markget has to grow much, much more than it is today.”
Rize will continue to work toward its goals in leading innovation within the industry—a message that is indeed resonating with increased customer installations, repeat orders and material orders from those frequently putting their 3D printers to use.
“At last count we’re in 14 countries,” Kalambi said, noting a presence in Singapore, Japan, and India in addition to established installations in Europe and North America.[Images provided by Rize Inc.]