MakerBot has officially opened its brand new factory in Industry City in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. The 170,000-square-foot space spans three floors, with the main production lines on the third floor of the building. The new location is four times larger than the company’s previous Industry City location and will allow the company to double its production of 3D printers. This is far cry from the garage it started out in nearly two and a half years ago.
MakerBot kicked off the opening of its new locale yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. We were on the scene to capture this latest milestone for the 3D printer company.
The factory’s opening not only marks the expansion of the company, but also the expansion of manufacturing in Brooklyn. Jaglom pointed out that back in the 1930s, Brooklyn was the ship-building manufacturing hub; however, by 1970 industry had dwindled greatly in the borough. MakerBot’s commitment to bringing manufacturing back to Brooklyn led Borough President Eric Adams to remark, “The sun is going to rise on Sunset Park.” He continued, “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.”
The Brooklyn-centric company employs over 140 workers, most of them hailing from Brooklyn. MakerBot has actively been recruiting for even more workers from the NYC area, going as far as hosting job fairs that resemble barbecues.
This employee expansion is a turnaround from the company’s recent layoff of about 20 percent of its workers, mostly from its retail division. Jaglom views the layoffs as part of MakerBot’s restructuring. He commented that it was better for the company to focus on creating and improving other aspects, such as training teams and channel enablement.
One place MakerBot is now focusing its attention on is the schools, specifically Brooklyn schools. MakerBot aims to put one of its printers in every school in the borough from the primary level all the way to the universities. In fact, the company has already started this ambitious goal by partnering with Brooklyn Technical High School and SUNY New Paltz, placing 3D printers in both schools. Brooklyn Tech Principal Randy Asher said that the addition of MakerBot’s 3D printers in classrooms has transformed the way students think. “We’re not teaching students to use the tool; we’re using the tool to teach the students.”
At the end of the day, Jaglom says it’s not about the printers, it’s about what’s being made with them. “The product at the end of the day for us is that printed part; the printer is the enabler, allowing you to generate that product… At the end of the day, you want to look at the model and what you can do with that model.”
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Neighborhoods : Sunset Park