A mathematician and engineer by education, Sobhi Aris is also a seasoned global manager and financier who, since 2005, has played a role in making EnvisionTEC the global force that it is today in 3D printing.
The biggest sign of that success, according to Sobhi, is the continual growth of the company. “When you see a baby growing at a four-fold rate, it is very rewarding,” he explained.
That growth is also visible in the company’s expansion. EnvisionTEC’s International headquarters in Gladbeck, Germany, houses the company’s sales, service and R&D operations, but it also serves as a production facility.
“When EnvisionTEC started, we were in three rooms in Marl. Then we came to Gladbeck and we doubled the facility, and now we are tripling,” Sobhi said. “We should start breaking ground in early 2017.”
Known as a tough, driving force throughout the company, Sobhi takes pride in having built the company’s global network of dealers and resellers throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America.
He credits an engineering mindset—organized and methodical—as well as his experience in global finance, for helping to assemble a winning international team. Before coming to EnvisionTEC, Sobhi, who is fluent in Arabic, French and English, was president of Raja Holdings where he restore profitability through restructuring activities and grew the business through new investment opportunities.
Business has changed since Sobhi came on board with EnvisionTEC a decade ago. Back then, customers weren’t familiar with 3D printing or what it could do for them.
“You needed to educate the market—that this machine would make their lives easier and optimize their operations, cut down costs and increase profitability. We had to show them this machine will make money for you,” he said.
Today, customers know more about 3D printing, but they still need to be educated about the benefits of EnvisionTEC versus the competition.
“We build something that is industrial grade, for real manufacturers,” Sobhi said. “We use only the high end components, we only source the best—in optics, electronics …”
The other benefit of doing business with EnvisionTEC is the great engineering expertise in Germany and Detroit, where the team understands they are developing a total solution for serious manufacturing customers moving to 3D printing who have particular performance, functionality and material needs.
“We provide a solution, not just a printer,” Sobhi explained. “We are near our customers so we can work with them.”
And while Sobhi has been a driving force in EnvisionTEC’s growth, he credits the company’s founder, Al Siblani, whom he said simply delivers better 3D printing machines to the market.
“The main driver of this company is Al Siblani—Al and a good team after that,” Sobhi said. “He is a man with a vision, and he wears two hats. He has an eye on the commercial side and another on the technical side; he is technical and commercial.”