Stratasys’ investment in UK grows

Stratasys has further deepened its commitment to the UK manufacturing industry with a new logistics hub in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The new warehousing site will help Stratasys to leverage its UK-based business units and better support its UK user network with fast delivery of industrial 3D printers, materials and services.

The UK’s additive manufacturing (AM) strategy is a key part of the overall national High Value Manufacturing strategy, and AM continues to be a pivotal enabling technology set for manufacturers. The UK AM market is now worth an estimated £500 million and is expected to grow 10% annually for the next four years.

Stratasys’ new warehousing facility will see 14 dock levellers work alongside 15t and 7.5t cranes. The space includes capacity for 2,400 pallets, housed in 3 x 23m double racks

In consultation with High Value Manufacturing industries, AMUK, the UK’s trade association for AM businesses, identifies that the planned level of investment in AM by UK industry is £600m over the next five years, with a potential additional £400m if government funding becomes available.

Stratasys already has over 3,000 industrial 3D printers installed around the UK. This latest investment will help enable faster supply of high-value engineering-grade thermoplastics and resins for the manufacture of end-use products, as the AM industry becomes more widely accepted and adopted as a mainstream manufacturing technology. 

The UK has become a hotbed for AM developments and innovations over the last few years, leading to Stratasys making a series of strategic acquisitions and investments, including adding the proprietary technology of Selective Absorption Fusion (SAF™), acquiring a stereolithography (SL) start up, and adding anatomic modelling software to its global offering.

SAF 3D printing technology, which powers Stratasys’ H Series™ production platform, was added through the 2021 acquisition of Xaar 3D Ltd., which had developed an innovative powder-bed fusion technology initially conceived at The University of Sheffield. 

RPS also joined the Stratasys family in 2021, bringing with it UK-made large format SL Neo 3D printers to give Stratasys customers worldwide another flexible, reliable additive manufacturing process. Ideally placed for use in motorsport, amongst other industries, SL is used extensively by Formula One teams. A large range of resins for these printers are available both from Stratasys and through collaboration with some of the world’s foremost chemical companies.

In November 2022, Stratasys made a $10 million investment in Belfast-based medical technology startup Axial3D as part of a $15 million investment round. Axial3D offers AI-powered software to quickly convert digital files such as MRI scans of patient anatomy into 3D printable files, to help surgical teams plan and practice surgery as well as helping within medical education and medical device development.

State-of-the-art warehouse facility

The new site will allow customs-free trading and enable Stratasys wider and faster reach within the UK market. Additional investment in automation technologies at the site will further reduce lead times for UK customers. Solar panels and rainwater harvesting technologies have also been included in the build to help mitigate the environmental impact of operations at the site.

Commenting on the new warehouse, Yann Rageul, VP of Commercial Enablement at Stratasys, says: “The UK has become a highly strategic territory for us, so it’s vital that we are closer to the market in terms of presence while also having the increased versatility to improve our overall service offering. Cutting down lead times is one of our main goals and having this state-of-the-art warehousing facility on UK soil will facilitate that.”

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