It’s okay to admit it: you hate post-processing. It’s easier once you’ve admitted it. It’s easier still if you can virtually eliminate the need for it — or at least that’s one foundational belief at Rize, which emerged from the ether last summer to present the Rize One 3D printer, said to essentially cut out the need for post-processing.
We’re not the only ones who think that’s a pretty rad idea, as Gartner this week named Rize among the three Cool Vendors in 3D Printing for 2017. Post-processing, as Rize has said from its earliest public statements, has been the dirty little secret of 3D printing, and the company has worked with experts to determine the need for this seemingly necessary evil. While there is still work to be done on a part pulled off the bed of the Rize One, it’s the work of literal seconds; at SOLIDWORKS World in February, then-President and CEO Frank Marangell handed me a printed piece with supports on it. I snapped them off, cleanly, in about half a minute, tossing them into the recycling bin. We’ve been keeping tabs on the company, which has since released case studies and talked to us about the broader 3D printing industry — and three months after SWW and the Rize One hitting the market, I met again with the Rize team in person at RAPID + TCT to learn more about what the company has been up to since we last spoke. (Note: see the end of this article for leadership updates even since this recent conversation.)
“We’re trying to be conservative,” Marangell told me of the company’s approach to the market since SWW. “We didn’t try to sell before SOLIDWORKS World. We decided on the US channel network in February, and are now working with ten territories and getting two or three dealers in every territory. The reception has been great.”
Since its release in February, nine Rize One machines have sold, and that number is set to rise pretty quickly. Shipping starts in June, and Marangell noted high hopes for additional sales closing soon. Tradeshows, including SWW, AMUG, and now RAPID, have been instrumental in showcasing the Rize One to potential customers and have been a boon for direct sales. Rize is moving toward the dealer model to be out there, “touching the market,” and is additionally setting sights next on the European market.
Again, comparisons in the industry run rampant, especially at large tradeshows surrounded by other players, and like the Markforged team, Marangell pointed to busy industry giant Stratasys. That company, he noted, has an amazing channel, and not everyone else has as good a thermoplastic machine as they do; “We fill that void. Customers want thermoplastic, but don’t want low-end,” he said. (It is also worth noting that Marangell was the President of Objet North America prior to its acquisition by Stratasys and the Vice President of Global Field Operations thereafter.) With Rize’s patented Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) technology, Marangell noted, “We co-exist with 3D Systems, EnvisionTEC, EOS, with CAD guys who want in on 3D printing.” Because its technology is unlike, but can be complementary to, other 3D printing technologies, Rize sees value in offering another solution to customers who have already invested in additive manufacturing. As an example, Marangell pointed to EOS, which has a strong reputation in metal 3D printing, but whose customers may also want to work with plastics — without dropping $250K on another 3D printer, no matter how excellent that machine might be.
“You’ve already invested there, but you need another tool without high expense,” Marangell noted of this positioning.
The Rize One is an all-American endeavor, as well, with design done in Massachusetts, the system made in Vermont, filament made in Massachusetts, and ink made in-house. Rize does plan on partnering with material companies, though at the moment this ambition remains in the planning stage.
Materials innovations are also forthcoming, with the next material expected to be faster, higher-temperature, and stronger. Material considerations are important, as Rize focuses on the strength benefits the APD process is capable of; indeed, a recent strength test found parts 3D printed by Rize to be the strongest, particularly regarding Z-strength. Marangell noted that Rize keeps isotropic by jetting solvent between each layer, thus chemically and thermally binding layers.
Rize will be presenting additional usage studies before September’s TCT Show, but ahead of that has had some use cases to present. Working with one (unnamed) consumer products company that compared the Rize One against a Fortus 3D printer, the company spent $90K on the Fortus process to create a given number of their specific product. The same amount of products made, Marangell noted, cost $8-11K using the Rize One — and made lighter-weight products, as Rizium One material is lighter than ABS. In addition to being noticed by customers (and potential) customers, the industry has been taking notice of Rize’s efforts, as the company has been nominated for and has won several awards over the last six months. In addition to being a Gartner Cool Vendor, Rize took home gold in the B2B category for a 2017 Stevie award, and the company’s VP of Marketing won Silver in the same awards for marketing executives.The company remains on a solid growth trajectory, though with some changes in place that we’re just learning about. Since my recent meeting with Rize at RAPID, the company’s leadership has undergone a change as Marangell has left the company. Julie Reece, Vice President of Marketing, provides us today with an update:
“We have decided to make a leadership change at Rize and have parted ways with Frank. We have a great product and team, a fast-growing channel and we are continuing to develop innovative new products. We are committed to the success of our partners and customers and believe this change in leadership will most effectively deliver on these goals. Our Founder, Eugene Giller, will now serve as Founder and President.”
For his part, new company president Giller has been with Rize from the start, and brings with him a strong background in additive manufacturing. With roots at the well-known Z Corporation (acquired by 3D Systems in 2012), Giller brings great experience to the fore as he continues to lead in his new role at Rize. Discuss in the Rize forum at 3DPB.com.[RAPID photos: Sarah Goehrke]