MakerBot opens new factory at Brooklyn’s Industry City
Streamlines 3D printer manufacturing process
Desktop 3D printer innovator MakerBot cut the ribbon on Wednesday on a new and larger factory at the Industry City complex in Sunset Park. The new facility measures 170,000 square feet, which doubles the plant’s capacity compared to MakerBot’s previous Industry City facility.
MakerBot, naturally, used its own Replicator 3D printers to print up some of the factory’s jigs and fixtures.
“Since MakerBot was founded in 2009, we have been leading the desktop 3D printing revolution from Brooklyn and this has spearheaded a renaissance of manufacturing here,” Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot, said in a statement. “Brooklyn has defined what MakerBot is today and I couldn’t think of a better place for our new factory.”
Borough President Eric Adams called Brooklyn the new Silicon Valley. “The future has arrived, and its first stop is Brooklyn. We are witnessing the growth and evolution of 3D printing technology in our borough, a rapidly growing industry with infinite potential,” he said.
MakerBot started the desktop 3D printing craze on Dean Street in Gowanus. Tinkerers, makers and educators grasped the potential immediately, printing toys, jewelry, widgets and models.
Since then, the company has grown significantly to three locations in Brooklyn and across three continents. Today, 3D printers built by MakerBot and other companies are used by engineers and designers to manufacture industrial items and products like hearing aids, robotic prosthetic hands, wrist watches, nuts and bolts, factory fixtures and prototypes of all types.
MakerBot mini printers are even being sold at the WalMart-owned store Sam’s Club.
The company’s exploding growth led to several factory expansions, resulting in what MakerBot called a “suboptimal” manufacturing space.
The new factory should straighten out the kinks. MakerBot says the new space streamlines the manufacturing process by bringing crucial functions, such as materials, production, product testing, and shipping closer to one another.
MakerBot is also using the move to advance “lean” manufacturing principles, like those used at Toyota, that emphasize waste reduction and efficiency.
The new layout dedicates a larger space to product testing, an aspect called crucial for the company, which has experienced some bumps in quality control. The company called the space “the industry’s largest Quality Assurance operation.”
MakerBot says the opening of the new factory reinforces the company’s commitment to manufacturing in Brooklyn and is an important step in preparing the company for growth in the 3D printing market. The MakerBot factory employs 140 staff.
Other attendees at the ceremony included Brooklyn Technical High School Principal Randy Asher, Tech Alumni Foundation Chief Education Officer Matt Mandery, Dean of the School of Science and Engineering at SUNY New Paltz Dan Freedman, and as well as the Coolest (multi-tasking ice chest) founder Ryan Grepper, who raised $13.2 million last summer on Kickstarter. (Grepper prototyped his cooler using his MakerBot Replicator.)
MakerBot is a subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd.
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