Stratasys Subsidiary MakerBot Outsourcing Manufacturing To China
MakerBot, the long-struggling subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Stratasys, announced it would no longer manufacture its own 3D printers and outsource the work to China.
CEO Jonathan Jaglom said in a blog post the company would shed an undisclosed number of employees—reports indicate it’s a “significant number”—that work in its Brooklyn, New York-based factory. MakerBot’s factory will be shut down altogether, according to the Verge, and the building of its 3D printers will be passed onto Jabil, a contract manufacturer.
“To ensure a smooth transition, the operations team will work closely with Jabil and apply the knowledge we have gained over the last couple of years,” Jaglom wrote. “Our parent company, Stratasys, is also helping us manage this transition. Last year, we started partnering more closely with Stratasys on key initiatives such as quality assurance and product development, and we continue to benefit from Stratasys’ 25 years of experience in the 3D printing industry.”
At the time of Stratasys’ June 2013 purchase of MakerBot, the two were set to be the 3D printing market’s dynamic duo. Stratasys, with its significantly larger size and international operations, had shown dominance in its sales of larger-scale commercial printers for NASA affiliates and Mayo Clinic. MakerBot, on the other hand, channeled the smaller-scale market by creating desktop 3D printers for education, design and everyday users.
Twice in 2015 MakerBot cut staff by 20 or more percent. Under its current restructuring move, MakerBot will continue at its Brooklyn operations albeit with only design, engineering, logistics and repair workers.
“Leading analysts predict significant growth for the 3D printing industry,” Jaglom said, “and we at MakerBot believe that we need to position ourselves today to be able to grow in the future.”