Rize xRize 3D printer

Desktop 3D printing options simplified with Rize-Dassault partnership

Image credit: Rize

Boston-based additive manufacturing company Rize and Dassault Systèmes have announced a strategic partnership that sees Dassault investing a significant sum in Rize in a bid to bring together Dassault's 3DExperience software with Rize's 3D-printing hardware.

With the strategic partnership, announced at a special press conference at SolidWorks World 2019, Rize will begin offering a total solution bundle comprising one of its desktop Rize One or xRize 3D printers plus a full SolidWorks software licence.

Dassault Systèmes’ investment is part of $15m in Series B funding received by Rize. The other investment partners are Innospark Ventures (an AI-focused fund and the lead investor), Sparta Group LLC (part of Deshpande Foundation) and Converge (an industry 4.0 VC fund and the first women-led fund).

Speaking at the press conference, Andy Kalambi, CEO of Rize, described the partnership as an “inflection point in the evolution of this industry” and the “result of [Rize’s] patented technology”, a reference to the company’s augmented polymer deposition, an industry-first hybrid process.

Kalambi hailed the “shared values” between Rize and Dassault Systèmes – namely inclusive and sustainable innovation – and Rize’s ambition to make industrial 3D printing “safe, easy and affordable”.

“Not many of you will have touched a 3D printer before,” he said to the audience, explaining that Rize want to change this so that anyone can print anything, making it a one-person, quick turnaround operation. This in part explains the partnership with Dassault Systèmes, as a customer would now be able to create and print a digital 3D model directly from within SolidWorks and send it straight to a Rize-model 3D printer.

Rize recently received a Frost & Sullivan award for best practices for technological innovation for zero-emission polymer additive manufacturing. Many 3D printers release considerable amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during their operation – it is not uncommon for over 200 VOCs and other toxic ultra-fine particles, irritants and carcinogens to enter the local atmosphere. According to Rize, this is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day if a human were to sit next to such a printer in operation.

The material that Rize chose to use in its 3D printers was specifically selected not to decompose as it is laid down during the 3D-printing process. The material used in Rize printers is deposited at 200°C, but has a decomposition temperature of 400°C. It therefore gives off zero emissions – hence the Frost & Sullivan award.

“It’s not just emissions,” Kalambi said. There are also chemicals used in post-processing, which also contributes to the toxicity.” Post-processing with Rize 3D-printed objects typically takes only a few seconds, compared to much longer with competing 3D printers, as the unwanted material can simply be broken off from the printed part. Rize’s own material is also fully recyclable. It may be possible in future to use other materials in a Rize printer, although the company said that any material will have to first be qualified by them in order to guarantee that it will work with its printers.

The Rize One printer is a single-colour device, while the xRize can print in all colours. One interesting feature is that a QR code can be built-in to the printed object, which is included below a protective layer so that it won’t get scratched or wear off. Within this QR code can be stored all the metadata associated with that printed part, such as date of production.  

Kalambi explained the rationale behind the xRize full-colour 3D printer, saying that already the US Army and Navy use it for mission planning, printing out 3D terrain maps; automakers use it for driverless car trials; architects use it to create more realistic building models; medical companies use it to print body parts for education and examination, and consumer product companies use it to prototype packaging.

It is also possible to specify company logos, branding etc from within the SolidWorks obj geometry definition file format, if specific artistic elements are desired to be printed directly into the object.

“Any technology becomes viral when it becomes inclusive,” Kalambi said, “and that drives up evolution.” Like the uptake and proliferation of laptops or mobile phones, Kalambi believes that 3D printing is heading in a similar democratic direction. Students in particular are an area with “a lot of innovation happening”.

According to Rize, end users for its printers might include engineers, manufacturers and even people with no access at all to this type of technology. Rize has already signed up with an NGO that goes into disaster areas to help rebuild the infrastructure, often using 3D printing: “Not just to rebuild the physical infrastructure, but also to build the social infrastructure. [3D printing] should be available to anyone who has an idea,” Kalambi added.

The stated aim for Rize is to be in the desktop industrial 3D-printing space – principally low-volume part production, not medium- to large-part production. Rize is focused on the desktop space, he stressed.

Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO, SolidWorks, added that Dassault “wants to cover everything – in software. Our focus remains on the software side of things”. The goal of this partnership is to offer the user a direct path all the way from idea to manufacturing and the bundle offer of a Rize printer with a SolidWorks licence is an obvious first step, in conjunction with Dassault’s 3DExperience.Works announcement yesterday.

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