November 30, 2017, marked a serious milestone for US additive manufacturing (AM) company Rize as Andy Kalambi was named the new president and chief executive officer (CEO). Rize is called this a ‘bold statement’ in its media announcement, and looking at Andy’s career history and speaking with him by phone, ahead of the announcement, it would be hard to dispute that claim.
Andy’s move to Rize has been confirmed for some time, but the public announcement required sensitivity, as he was ‘coming from [such] a visible place,’ he told me when we chatted. Indeed, the formal press release highlights Andy’s 25 years of experience in executive and general management, sales and business development across various industries and global geographies, noting also that he has come to Rize from 3D software giant Dassault Systèmes.
Rize first emerged onto the 3D printing landscape in the summer of last year, when it came out of stealth mode with the announcement of its first 3D printer—the Rize One—based on its proprietary Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) process, notable for its significant reduction in post-processing requirements. The company is made up of a small team, each with an impressive pedigree, that has been through some of the typical ups and downs of a tech start up since launch. Most notably, the early departure of the original CEO, Frank Marangell, earlier this year. The departure was said to be a mutual agreement, but it left Rize seeking new leadership.
Without panicking or rushing into hiring someone—or anyone—this key decision has been carefully considered and the result is the announcement today.
Andy’s background dates back to his early career in mechanical engineering, which provides a solid foundation and a real understanding of manufacturing. He transferred into the software arena in 1995 when he worked for SAP for a number of years, specifically with supply chain management for various manufacturing sectors. He went on to set up MatrixOne’s Asia facility, until that company merged with Dassault Systémes in 2006, where he fulfilled a number of roles including as CEO of the ENOVIA brand and, more recently, as the global executive of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform driving digital transformation initiatives within global enterprises.
‘Digital transformation’ are perhaps the key words there, and Andy’s insight and experience of how the world is changing within a digital framework is going to be an integral ingredient of what he brings to Rize. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform was also ‘focused on AM as part of the platform story,’ Andy said, however, he followed this with ‘I am not an expert on additive, I still see myself as an outsider.’ It was a self-deprecating comment, but in reality, Andy has been inside the 3D printing ecosystem for some time, and it’s been well-documented that 3D printing cannot exist in isolation.
With the press announcement highlighting the scalability, inclusivity and sustainability of AM, it was not surprising that these were the messages that Andy was keen to expand on.
Scalability is an interesting place to start—within the context of 3D printing it is often used in reference to scaling up platforms (build sizes) or volumes of parts for production. However, for Andy, it is something different: ‘Yes, scaling can mean building bigger printers, with faster print speeds; but it can also refer to more use cases and putting the printer as close as possible to the point of need, safely. I want to make 3D printing pervasive—take it off the shop floor, where applicable, and disperse it.’
There is also an overlap with ‘inclusive innovation’ here. Andy highlighted ‘distributed manufacturing to environments that do not typically have access to AM. An example here is hospitals for medical applications.’ Rize already has some experience here, but there is scope to massively scale this application. ‘But it can only happen if the printer is safe within a hospital environment and that’s where Rize has a real value proposition,’ Andy continued. ‘My focus for scale and inclusivity lies in this direction. Rize is a small format 3D printer, but very capable and putting such a platform in many locals has huge potential.’ Another target market Andy highlighted in this regard was aboard ships, which kind of fits with the fact that the US Navy is a Rize customer (as is the US Army). There’s definitely a story there, but it’s not been made public yet.
Andy’s take on 3D printing application evolution was also interesting: ‘The evolution of 3D printing use cases is taking place on two fronts. 1/ How do I do what I have been doing better with the advantages of AM? 2/ How can I do things that were previously impossible?’
On the former, Andy believes that 3D printing is still too disruptive in many cases and that the costs are still prohibitive, but he believes it will continue to happen more and more. Andy believes the real opportunities lie with problems that have never been solved before. I’m still pondering those views.
Andy also believes in the team he has joined, and it is perhaps fitting that we concluded with his views on them: ‘I was most impressed by the incredibly innovative and committed team at Rize. It is an honor and privilege for me to join this great team and bring my global experience to serve the increasing needs in the world for inclusive and sustainable innovation.’