Thursday January 9, 2020 0 comments
LOVELAND -- Aleph Objects, maker of the LulzBot line of 3D printers, has completed its move from Loveland to North Dakota, where it is gearing up to restart production under new ownership, according to a story in the Loveland Reporter-Herald.
Now known as Fargo Additive Manufacturing Equipment (FAME) 3D, Aleph was sold last November to venture capitalist Ron Bergan in Fargo, who has relocated the company to that city.
“We completed production down there (in Loveland) right before Christmas,” FAME 3D CEO Grant Flaharty said from North Dakota on Tuesday. “We built out all the stuff that we had inventory for.”
Aleph Objects announced its sale to FAME on Nov. 8. The governor of North Dakota announced the move in a Dec. 18 press conference in Fargo.
Financial details of the sale were not released.
The company’s new owner found a 62,000-square-foot building in Fargo that he was able to purchase quickly in November, Flaharty said, and the company is in the process of unloading trucks and setting up the production facility in the new space, which is much larger than Aleph Objects’ former facilities in Loveland.
Flaharty said he expects production in Fargo to start next week, according to the Reporter-Herald story.
Aleph Objects was founded in 2011 by Jeff Moe.
The company makes the LulzBot and TAZ desktop 3D printers. The machines’ pricing, starting at $1,500, makes them accessible to a variety of users, including schools and private owners.
Last year, Aleph announced the release of the TAZ Workhorse, TAZ Pro and the LulzBot Bio, which moved the company more into the professional, industrial and biological spheres.
But despite the releases, the company was struggling, Flaharty said Tuesday.
In October, Aleph Objects laid off 91 of its 113 employees because of cash-flow problems due to delayed launches of all three new products and by orders and payments that didn’t come through when expected.
When the sale to FAME 3D was announced Nov. 8, Flaharty said the company would bring back some of its laid-off workers to resume production.
But by the time the company closed in Loveland in late December it was down to 20 or 25 workers, with some employees leaving as they found new jobs, he said.
The purchase by FAME 3D brings new life to the company, Flaharty told the Reporter-Herald.
“One of the things that we needed was an injection of cash,” he said. “LulzBot had struggled for quite a while. The last two and a half years it has been financially strapped. It was definitely needing an injection, and this allowed it to happen.
“There is no debt and a very strong balance sheet,” he said.
Most of the remaining employees were offered jobs if they moved to North Dakota, Flaharty said. He expected about 13 to take the offer, but so far, he said only three have actually moved, including himself.
The company is now actively hiring in Fargo.
“We’re trying to get 50 people on board right away,” Flaharty told the Reporter-Herald.
“It’s very positive,” he said. “The market seems to be receptive to the change, and things are moving forward and moving forward fast. … Aleph Objects is done, but LulzBot will survive.”