3D Printer Maker Stratasys Expands Production

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Stratasys Inc., the Minneapolis-based maker of 3D printers and production systems, says it’s doubled its capacity with the opening of a 90,000 square-foot facility, which the firm says will increase its manufacturing capacity so that it can produce some 10,000 3D printers per year, doubling its capacity. The cost to upgrade the facility for production was $6.5 million, with another $3 million required for new production equipment.

Stratasys invented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, an additive manufacturing process by which thermoplastics are laid down in a layered fashion to create objects, such as prototypes, models, and parts.

 Stratasys also manufacturers Hewlett-Packard’s Designjet 3D and 3D Color Printers, which are available at this point only in Western Europe, and can produce objects up to 7.99″ x 7.99″ x 5.98″ (203 x 203 x 152 mm) in size, with layer thicknesses down to 0.0098″ (0.25 mm).

“Although we don’t need the entire capacity immediately, we are planning for it now,” says Larry Doerr, Stratasys Senior VP of R&D and Operations. “You don’t wait until your capabilities are overwhelmed and the demand is upon you. That’s how you miss opportunity.”

The company purchased the building late last year and finished outfitting it this July.

“We’ve said we’re optimistic about the economy and our prospects,” said Stratasys CEO Scott Crump. “By opening this building, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. It’s evidence of our product’s market acceptance.”

 The new facility will be used to expand production capacity for machines and consumables, as well as streamline and consolidate warehousing and shipping operations. The added space allowed a reorganization of operations among four buildings in the company’s Eden Prairie campus, and will enable expansion of machine assembly in the company’s existing manufacturing building. 

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