In October 2019, desktop 3D printing was rocked by rumors that Aleph Objects, the parent company of well-known machine brand Lulzbot, was set to close down following a number of staff redundancies. Luckily, a month later, the company completed a deal securing its acquisition by Fargo Additive Manufacturing Equipment 3D (FAME 3D). A limited-liability corporation, FAME 3D was set up by Ron Bergan solely for the purpose to buy Aleph’s assets. Now setting the stage to bounce-back, in the latest update on these proceedings the parties have announced that Aleph Objects and the Lulzbot brand will be relocating to Fargo, North Dakota. In addition, FAME 3D has set out its intentions to hire 50 new members of staff as soon as possible to get the new offices up and running.
The move to Fargo has been warmly welcomed by the local government. Announcing the development on December 18, Governor Doug Burgum expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunities the company will bring to the area, “This is an exciting day for Fargo and the entire region as we welcome a business with cutting-edge technology and dozens of jobs to North Dakota to build upon the state’s flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the Governor said. Referencing Bergan’s history with the area, as the former owner and CEO of electrical wiring manufacturer Fargo Assembly Company, the Governor added, “We’re grateful to Ron for continuing to believe in North Dakota’s people and invest in our economy.”
Lulzbot moves out of hardship
Founded in 2011, Lulzbot has always operated on opensource principles, values that some of its contemporaries have either struggled to navigate or eventually turned away from as business progressed. Still, there remains a healthy community supporting the open-source movement and other like-minded competitors appear to be thriving in the market.
Throughout its hardship earlier this year, Lulzbot maintained that it would continue to manufacture and sell LulzBot Mini 2, Workhorse and Pro series of printers as it negotiated a potential sale. The company also promised to uphold all warranties for new 3D printers.
The new owner of Aleph’s assets, Ron Bergan, previously sold the Fargo Assembly Company in 2017. With the acquisition, Bergan has expressed his vision to grow the 3D printer beyond its peak in Colorado. He has also confirmed that the company intends to continue work on the forthcoming bioprinter and that a high-temperature system is also currently in the works.
Moving to Fargo
Lulzbot’s new premises in Fargo will be on 25th St. N, within one of twenty-five areas across the state that have been designated as “Opportunity Zones” under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Granted certain tax benefits to investors with eligible capital, these Opportunity Zones are designed to promote economic growth within disadvantaged communities. Just a few blocks across from 25th St. N, Lulzbot will also find itself in the company of local 3D printer parts and repairs provider Fargo 3D Printing.
Moving with the company to Fargo will be 13 of Lulzbot’s current employees. Following hardship earlier in the year, Lulzbot reportedly made 91 out of 113 employees redundant. With the new target set by FAME 3D, this number should soon be back up to over 60 employees – only have of the original operational power.
Current opportunities at Lulzbot in Fargo include positions in light assembly, customer service and support with training offered to successful applicants. An assembly line at the site is expected to start operations after the New Year, though manufacturing will continue in Colorado through the end of January 2020.
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Featured image shows a 300 hour Rocktopus print made with Lulzbot MOARstruder tool on display at CES 2017.Photo via Lulzbot