MakerBot, the 3-D printing company that became the poster child for Brooklyn's creative manufacturing renaissance, is slashing its production space by more than 25 percent in the borough.
The company shed 65,000 square feet at Industry City in the New York City borough. It also vacated another 25,000 square feet that it continues to lease at the property. Some workers were laid off and some were relocated to MakerBot's headquarters at One MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, the company stated.
MarkerBot now occupies about 135,000 square feet at the complex — 40 percent less than it had at its peak. MakerBot's spokesman said the company doesn't have plans to reduce its 37,000-square-foot headquarters office at MetroTech
"We are continuing to evaluate options to optimize our operations and save costs at our Industry City location to better serve our customers," a spokesman told Crain's New York Business in an email. CNBY is a sister publication of Plastics News.
The space reduction follows two rounds of layoffs that took place last year at the 3-D-printer maker. In 2013, MakerBot originally took about 55,000 square feet at Industry City, bucking the strategy of most large electronics manufacturers that situate their production facilities in lower-cost labor markets overseas. The startup, founded by entrepreneur Bre Pettis (who left the firm last year) and now owned by 3-D-printing company Stratasys Ltd., subsequently grew to 225,000 square feet at Industry City.
Last year, MakerBot announced that it was broadening its sales efforts in Asia, opening the possibility that it would move some of its manufacturing there as well.
MakerBot has continued strong sales. On April 4, it announced that has sold its 100,000th 3-D printer globally, saying it was the first 3-D printing company to hit that milestone.
“Being the first company to have sold 100,000 3-D printers is a major milestone for MakerBot and the entire industry,” said CEO Jonathan Jaglom in a news release. “MakerBot has made 3-D printing more accessible and today is empowering businesses and educators to redefine what's possible. What was once a product used only by makers and hobbyists has matured significantly and become an indispensible tool that is changing the way students learn and businesses innovate.”
That announcement came just a day before consulting group Wohlers Associates Inc. announced that the global additive manufacturing market topped $5 billion in sales for 2015, with low-priced desktop machines selling for less than $5,000 — such as those made by MakerBot have helped drive that growth.