It’s hard to believe that another year has passed. In fact, it was just over a year ago that I joined RIZE. And what an amazing year it has been!
We started the year focused on making Desktop Industrial Printing Safe and Easy. By doing so, we said 3D Printing would be more inclusive and sustainable and, hence, more scalable.
We are thrilled with the results:
- At CES 2018 and SOLIDWORKS 2018 we showcased how Industrial 3D Printing can safe and inclusive to all kinds of users
- At AMUG, we released the industry’s first every Digitally Augmented Parts to solve the problem of trust in 3D Printed parts. Finally, it is possible to have fully traceable and authenticated 3D Printed parts
- Safety is a growing concern, as recent reports highlight the toxic emissions and materials associated with using almost all desktop 3D Printers. Our focus on zero emissions was recognized by Frost & Sullivan, which awarded us ‘2018 Best Practices in Technology Innovation in the Zero-Emission Polymer Material Additive Manufacturing Industry.’
- Our constant efforts to innovate on the user experience and, hence, create new business models, resulted in a breakthrough agreement with PSMI/Azoth
- These efforts did not go unnoticed by IDC which named us an ‘IDC Innovator in Plastic-Based 3D Printing, 2018’
- Our crowning moment for the year came at Formnext 2018. We redefined desktop industrial 3D printing forever with the announcement of a new desktop additive manufacturing system, XRIZE™, which will, for the first time, enable users to manufacture functional composite parts and polymer parts in full color. XRIZE has forever redefined the Desktop Industrial 3D Printer industry.
- We also announced a compelling range of new materials for RIZE™ ONE and XRIZE – RIZIUM™ CARBON and RIZIUM™ ENDURA – to enable a new set of industrial applications
- Today, RIZE has the privilege of serving customers and partners across 14 countries and multiple industries. We are delighted to see that an investment in RIZE pays rich dividends, including an ROI of less than 4 months in many cases.
So, all in all, it has been a busy year full of fun and excitement.
Year end is a great time to reflect on key trends that occurred in 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing over the past year. Three key trends emerged in 2018.
- Additive manufacturing finally began to expand out of the lab and become more pervasive. We saw an increasing number of users with little or no 3D printing experience adopting the technology at every level. For example, our customer PSMI, a subtractive solutions provider, never had 3D printers before adopting RIZE. Yet, they had the courage and conviction to form an entirely new business based on additive manufacturing. Many of our resellers are also first-time entrants into 3D printing, diving in from a range of industries, including CAM software, CAD software, machine tools, banking and financial services. This is a very positive trend because it demonstrates that additive manufacturing is evolving from a niche industry into a mainstream industry, which will drive scale. This is just the beginning.
- As 3D printed parts enter the supply chain and eventually end-use applications, there must be a high degree of trust in those parts. 3D Printing is a technology that can replicate easily, so building trust into parts will be critical. We saw the start of this trend in 2018 with RIZE ONE, where users can 3D print authentication into parts with secure marking, such as a QR code – similar to the way we can embed digital rights management (DRM) into a document with a watermark. Building trusted parts and building trust into parts enables users to scale the use of 3D printed parts throughout the enterprise.
- There was considerable discussion in the industry this year about multiple materials. Until now, 3D printed parts were based on existing materials and those materials had to be able to function in the 3D printer. Hybridization emerged in additive manufacturing, which is the ability to combine different materials in the 3D printer to create new digital materials. Hybridization enables us to engineer the materials to suit a specific purpose in additive manufacturing, such as eliminating VOCs. RIZE demonstrated this most recently by combining functional inks with new materials in the XRIZE 3D printer to create functional parts in full color. This was only previously available in select printers at a very high cost and with minimal capabilities.
Looking ahead, here are my predictions for 2019:
- Execution will be paramount in 2019. Many 3D printing companies are bubbling with innovation, but some of those companies will not make it; that is the nature of any industry. The companies that execute well will succeed. This means machines and technology that deliver on promises, management teams geared toward solving customer problems and technology that is easy to use for both non-expert and expert users.
- The recent trend toward building trust into functional 3D printed parts with secure marking, such as QR codes, will intensify. 3D printing is a digital technology, not just a physical technology – combining the virtual and real. Users will look to 3D print more digital information into parts for authenticity, traceability and compliance and then extract that information on demand. This will become a major area of focus as people try to solve problems in the areas of service, production and engineering.
- Most innovation in 2019 will be driven by hybridization, not just the core 3D printing technologies. We will see more 3D printers become hybrid technologies, with the ability to combine different materials in the 3D printer to create new digital materials for a specific purpose, such as electrically conductive properties, and much more.
I want to extend a special note of thanks to our wonderful customers, partners and team for their trust in RIZE, commitment and hard work to achieve all we have accomplished in such a short period of time. We wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season.