3D Printing

Barclays to Support Local Businesses with 3D Printing Labs

“Nothing distracts the public from a countless string of market-fixing scandals than a good marketing scheme.” This must have been what British multinational banking and financial services firm Barclays thought when they made plans to launch 20 high-tech labs at their banking branches this year. Equipped with laser cutters and 3D printers, Barclays Eagle Labs are being pitched as a means of helping local businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship in universities and schools.

Eagle Labs 3D printing at Barclays

The program will see these various labs installed throughout Barclays branches with each unit designed to suit the local community, meaning that every one will be different. Trained staff at each location, dubbed “digital eagles”, will guide users in the use of the technology there.  With laser cutters and 3D printers, the labs and their staff will aid businesses and entrepreneurs in designing and prototyping ideas, without the need to outsource the work otherwise. Ashok Vaswani, chief executive at the Barclays UK retail division, elaborates, “All businesses are, at some level, struggling with the digital revolution. We’re providing space where they can come in and free their thinking.”

eagle labs barclays 3D printing

The Eagle Labs program is actually not new, it turns out.  In 2014, the banking giant installed its first lab in their old branches in Brighton, after successful pilot testing in Bournemouth and Cambridge.  According to John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, the pilot did indeed help the local community.  “The early take-up has been encouraging and our aim is for many local people, businesses and entrepreneurs to use this new facility,” Beesley says.

barclays eagle 3D printing labs

How a company that has, year after year, been found guilty of rigging various markets and financial instruments (Libor in 2012, the US electricity market in 2013, and the price of gold and foreign exchange rates in 2014) is still in business is beyond me, but they are.  And because they are, you can now head to your local branch for the same firm that inadequately supervised mutual fund transactions to supervise you while you handle a laser cutter.