One of the continuing trends in Brooklyn could be upturned, according to a new report from the Center for an Urban Future. Manufacturing in the city? Maybe not as dead as so many luxury converted-loft condos would indicate.
“There are no longer many manufacturing sectors where New York can boast a competitive advantage, but 3D printing is one of them,” the report says:
One of the industry’s leading online platforms, 3D Hubs, reported in July 2016 that New York “continues its reign as the 3D printing capital of the world.” According to its data, accessed in mid-July, New York is home to 3,739 makers and 516 3D printers, far ahead of second place Los Angeles (which has 2,557 makers and 410 printers), third place London (3,326 makers and 358 printers), and fourth place Paris (2,069 makers and 313 printers).
And get this: according to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the 3D-printing industry is expected to sextuple in the next eight years, from $4.98 billion today to $30.19 billion in 2022, as it moves into more end-use manufacturing, printing pieces that can be put together to create a full product.
And one of the companies best situated to capitalize on that projection is East Williamsburg’s Voodoo Manufacturing, the report says.
“New York’s 3D printing industry came to prominence with MakerBot and Shapeways. Since the early 2010s, numerous other companies have opened shop in the city to provide 3D printing services. The most prominent may be Voodoo Manufacturing, which manages a fleet of 125 machines via a proprietary computer system.”
We interviewed one of the cofounders of Voodoo Manufacturing, Max Friefeld, when the company launched officially last October. He is as bullish as they come when it comes to 3D printing.
“You can do custom, low-volume items and you don’t have to make them by hand,” Friefeld said at the time. “When we succeed, products will look different. The past two industrial revolutions are being reversed because of 3D printing.”
According to the report, manufacturing left the city in droves in the first decade of the century. Between 2001 and 2011 the city lost an average of 8,370 manufacturing jobs a year. Since 2011, though, it has recovered gradually, adding 3,900 jobs in the last five years, and 1,100 in just the last 12 months.
“What we heard, again and again, is that New York’s competitive advantage in manufacturing today—and its best hope for growth in the future—is undoubtedly with small firms that operate in niche markets and take advantage of modern production processes,” the report says.
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