After the Stratasys/Objet merger in 2012, Stratasys Ltd. has been able to bring Objet’s amazing PolyJet 3D printing technology to an even larger number of people, releasing the new line of the Objet500 Connex multi-material 3D printers capable of manufacturing full-color prints made from up to three different materials. Since then, the company has received an increased demand for these impressive machines and objects printed by them, leading Stratasys to open up a new production and operations facility in Kiryat Gat, Israel, with the ribbon cutting ceremony taking place just this week.
The opening of the new manufacturing plant was celebrated in the manner of most ribbon cutting ceremonies: a five-hour, 45 km bike ride. Interestingly, 60 Stratasys staffers pedaled all of the way from Stratasys’ Rehovot headquarters at 5 am to the new plant in Kiryat Gat, ending the ride with a symbolic passing of the Stratasys torch to VP of Operations in Israel, Amir Kleiner, who will be heading up the facility. The building is a part of an expansion of the company’s resin consumables site built in 2009, a facility which also serves to manufacture and assemble Stratasys’ PolyJet systems and houses the company’s branches devoted to operations, purchasing, and logistics.
Director of Stratasys, Ilan Levin, began the ceremony by addressing the crowd, “The opening of the facility marks an important milestone for Stratasys as part of our commitment to manufacturing high quality 3D printers and materials. The new facility will enable us to respond to increasing demand, will improve the quality of production, and will improve the working environment and conditions of the production team.”
Present at the event was Israel’s Minister of Finance, Yair Lapid, who toured the production floor of the new site, where he saw the entire process of 3D printing an object, starting with the conception of an item to its ultimate manufacturing. The Minister of Finance also spoke with the plant’s employees, regarding their training and experience. Alongside Lapid at the ceremony were the Mayor of Kiryat Gat, Aviram Dahar; Stratasys Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources and Training, Avi Jacoby; and Arita Mattsoff, VP of Marketing at Stratasys.
Lapid believes that the new facility will be a benefit to the city of Kiryat Gat, which, despite being home to an Intel microchip production plant, suffers from one of the nation’s highest rates of unemployment, partially because only a small portion of the workers at Intel live in the city. However, the Minister of Finance told the attendees of the ribbon cutting event, “If you want to understand how to create an economy, look here. Stratasys has built a facility with the latest 3D printing technology, contributing to the circle of employment. Kiryat Gat forms the microcosm of our economic activities creating the engine of growth. Many of the people working in the facility are from the area. This creates a cycle. Jobs generate growth which in turn, increase the standard of living. A factory, like the one inaugurated here today, which exports more than 99% of its products, is a major engine of growth for this region.”
Hopefully, Stratasys’ contribution to Kiryat Gat will benefit the 3D printing community at large, as well as the city’s local community, so that the company’s amazing PolyJet technology will symbolize, not only, additive growth for printed items, but for the people of Kiryat Gat, too.