Brooklyn-based MakerBot once represented the shining face of the 3D printing industry to the grander public, but that image has slowly been evaporating as numerous controversies take their toll on the desktop manufacturer. As a result, the Stratasys subsidiary reduced its headcount by roughly 40% after two rounds of layoffs. Now, Crain’s reports that the firm has also cut the amount of space that it is leasing for its Industry City manufacturing center.
The amount of space being rented out from the facility has been cut from its highest point of 225,000 to just 135,000 square feet, an overall 40% reduction. There are, so far, no plans to shrink the space of their 37,000-square-foot headquarters, however, in MetroTech, according to Crain’s. A spokesperson relayed to the business publication, “We are continuing to evaluate options to optimize our operations and save costs at our Industry City location to better serve our customers.”
As the company withdrew from the Industry City location, MakerBot had to pay a cancellation fee to its landlord. Andrew Kimball, the CEO of Industry City made a statement to Crain’s that read, “Despite the recent uptick in manufacturing, MakerBot’s decision yet again points out how difficult it is for companies competing in the global marketplace to grow their manufacturing presence here in New York City. Real estate is only one of a number of factors these firms consider, and why we’re willing to be aggressive in helping them grow here.”
Much of the drop in production seen by MakerBot, I would venture, is due to the 5th Generation Replicator debacle, in which their machines were rushed to market with faulty Smart Extruders, now a piece of evidence in a class action lawsuit against Stratasys by investors. Recent attempts to rectify the Smart Extruder situation with a new Smart Extruder+ may have come too late. Coupled with the overall deflation of the 3D printing hype bubble, there seems to be less of a demand for their products, resulting in layoffs and now less space devoted to manufacturing their machines.