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MakerBot outsources hardware to China

by • April 25, 2016 • No Comments

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MakerBot has created a landmark decision to outsource the manufacture of its complexware to China.

The 3D printing giant has done a deal with Jabil, which can manufacture all the complexware at its facilities in the Far East. A number of staff, which include designers, engineers, logistics and repairs, can remain with the company at a slimmed down facility in Brooklyn, New York, but layoffs are inevitable.

We don’t have any news yet on the number of staff which can lose their jobs, but MakerBot has cut its floorspace in its New York facility in half in the last year alone.

“It is a specific, painful decision in the sense which we are going to have to let a few folks go, but it’s captured over a much broader strategic decision, which is a quite significant one and a quite positive one for MakerBot in the long term,” Jonathan Jaglom, MakerBot’s CEO, said in an interview with The Verge.

Mass production the reason?

Jaglom claimed which the facility in the US may just not store up with the demand for consumer and pro 3D printing equipment which we all understand is coming in the years ahead. So for the excellent of the company he had to plan ahead and do a deal with a company which has the infrastructure in place to handle the volume.

Whilst it anticipates a sturdy consumer demand, which is one market where MakerBot has conspicuously failed to manufacture an impact. Deals with Home Depot and Micro Center came to nothing and the company actually opened its own outlets in another failed experiment. It in addition laid off 20% of its staff, twice, in 2015.

Lawsuits introduced to MakerBot’s problems

On top of which there were lawsuits, claiming MakerBot wilfully sold faulty extruders. None of this looks excellent and it does suggest which Jaglom may be putting a positive spin on the news.

Obviously outsourcing to China can reduce overheads and it means which MakerBot can hold a third party responsible for high end control.

It in addition marks a mildly embarrassing U-turn for a company which has publicly avowed its dedication to the US base. “The thing which we are quite proud of is which it’s all taking place in Brooklyn,” Jaglom said in 2013. “The commence of factory here in the present day proves the fact which are committed to remaining here.”

After relinquishing half the company’s floorspace in Industry City, he said: “If we play our cards right — and I’m certain we are, we are doing a lot of excellent things here — over time, the company can grow additional, and through which growth we can bring additional ability under our rooftop. Our DNA and our culture quite much remains a Brooklyn one, we are quite proud to be here in Brooklyn.”

Was MakerBot ahead of the curve?

Others have now filled the consumer niche, but MakerBot may just have been ahead of the curve and this deal with China may assist it fix any high end control issues, reduce prices and manufacture another assault on the consumer market. This may manufacture it a positive move in the long run.

Of course the company can create on its good results with industrial and educational partners. It is complex to see how outsourcing making to China and gearing up for weight production, yet, can mean anything but a renewed focus on the home user.

It is set to become a potent market in the years ahead and soon equite home may have a 3D printing device. If MakerBot can overcome the challenges of the last year and create top high end printing equipment with the right ticket price, and so the consumer can not care where they are put together.

For the industry yet, and for those which created their living at MakerBot, this is not excellent news.

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