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3D printer-maker STRATASYS expands production capacity

With a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event at its newest building yesterday, 3D printer maker, Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS), expressed a vote of confidence in an uncertain economy.

Stratasys says the 90,000 square-foot building doubles its capacity for machine production. 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," says 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 additional manufacturing space allows for machine production growth with a capacity of 10,000 units per year for professional- and production-grade 3D printers.

"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 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 it enabled expansion of machine assembly in the company’s existing manufacturing building.

Stratasys says it cost approximately $6.5 million to improve and build out the facility and another $3 million for new production equipment. The building was occupied in July, and production is expected to begin later this year.

An example of a leading edge application, the 3D printing of an entire car body for the Urbee — a 200 mpg hybrid — was discussed on BBC online and Fast Company magazine last week. The Urbee was the first car to have its entire body 3D printed.

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