Dassault Systèmes and RIZE announced a further partnership between the two companies to provide a much better 3D printing experience.
Dassault Systèmes, of course, is well-known for their comprehensive 3DEXPERIENCE suite of tools targeted at designers of all types. The company’s flagship product, SOLIDWORKS, is a popular 3D CAD tool, however, the suite includes far more specialized components to provide virtually every conceivable function one might need to design any kind of object for many different industries.
Meanwhile, RIZE has been quietly building a powerful 3D printing product based on a different 3D printing process. Their process involves combining traditional extrusion technologies with high resolution liquid inkjets to enable advanced functionality such as breakaway support structures and full RGB color capabilities.
Having used full color 3D printers in the past, I know there are challenges in creating and 3D printing full color 3D models. Almost all 3D printers of today do not offer full color, and only some offer what might be called “spot color”, where chunks can be 3D printed in a different material. Few machines offer true, full color texture, as RIZE’s equipment does.
But the result of this mono to color ratio is that most tools and workflows in the 3D print space cater to mono-color objects. Very often specialized tools must be used to accomplish full color, and sometimes you must perform unnatural acts of file format conversions to persuade the full color 3D prints to be produced.
Those difficulties could be in the past if this new partnership works. According to RIZE:
“The jointly offered solution will enable users of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to seamlessly leverage RIZE 3D Printing technology to build intelligent parts with smarter workflows via connected, intelligent, interactive environments where hardware and software – in this case RIZE’s 3D printers and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform – allow users to easily design and print full-color 3D parts using industry standard software.
Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for design, and RIZE’s 3D printer for part creation, these intelligent parts with smarter workflows help improve collaboration across design and manufacturing to accelerate the innovation process.”
It seems that the ability to directly 3D print on RIZE equipment will be bundled into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, likely simplifying the process of 3D printing in full color greatly. In addition to the color 3D printing workflow, all 3D printing activity on RIZE equipment should be equally simplified, so long as you’re using 3DEXPERIENCE.
Somehow this deepening partnership is not surprising, and there’s a couple of reasons why. It turns out that RIZE’s CEO, Andy Kalambi, formerly worked at Dassault Systèmes for over 25 in a variety of executive positions. As well, RIZE VP of Products Kishore Boyalakuntla also spent considerable time previously at Dassault Systèmes. RIZE and Dassault Systèmes know each other very well indeed.
Secondly, Dassault Systèmes previously participated in a US$15M investment round in RIZE earlier in 2019. That investment was a bit of a puzzle for everyone, as Dassault Systèmes is essentially a software company, and as such would normally have no business investing in a hardware company.
Our thought at the time was that Dassault Systèmes is attempting to streamline the process of producing a part, from conception through design, prototyping and eventually manufacturing. That involves production, obviously, but it also involves traceability. A part should be traceable throughout the entire lifecycle. My thought was that RIZE’s unique capability to embed part numbers on and within a 3D printed part would be of tremendous utility in that regard in the future.
And that future now seems to have happened: Dassault Systèmes has adjusted their software platform to account for RIZE’s equipment, and this no doubt should include significant use of traceability functionality that would span both the hardware and software environments.
It seems that in order to achieve their vision Dassault Systèmes must pair up with hardware companies.
Could this be their only hardware play, or will there be others?