Hobs relocates London 3D operation

By Max Goldbart, Tuesday 21 November 2017

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In a bid to more than double turnover by 2020, the London hub of Hobs Group’s 3D printing arm Hobs Studio is set to relocate.

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A mock-up of the new site at Here East

The new venue at Here East is based in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and is 670sqm – more than double the size of its previous London site – situated on a 111,500sqm campus. Hobs will begin the relocation of its machinery and 30 staff around Christmas time and will be fully operational by 2 January, bringing with it what it says is the largest 3D printer of its kind in the UK, the SLA iPro 9000XL, along with two iPro 8000s and a new SLA Pro X800. 

Taking up a 15-year lease, total investment has just topped the £500,000 mark, with £300,000 spent on fitting out the new site and around £250,000 invested on the Pro X800, which has been in storage in preparation to relocate to the new site since its July purchase. Division turnover is currently at £4m, with £10m targeted by 2020. The 55-staff operation also operates from outposts in Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow.

Last month the business also officially opened a new Hobs Studio Manchester hub, in the city's Northern Quarter. The spend on the 750sqm Manchester site, including new equipment, was £280,000.

The Manchester and London expansions comes after Hobs secured a £4m Business Growth Fund (BGF) funding package to continue the expansion of its 3D printing, reprographics, facilities management and legal support services businesses in the UK. This followed on from a £7m BGF investment it picked up in 2014. Repro division Hobs Repro Warrington operation also relocated to new 200sqm premises in August. 

Hobs Studio managing director Michelle Greeff said: “We’ve been plugging away for about nine months on this. One of the main reasons for the move is that we need to grow and within our budget for the next few years we are expected to almost triple growth, so where we are at the moment in Clerkenwell we don’t have any space. 

“It’s all about expansion and needing the extra space and when we saw them developing Here East and when I went in there it made perfect sense to move into this creative space; a lot of our collaborators are in this building.”

Mainly producing 3D print work for architectural and engineering firms, Hobs Studio, which is also due to launch a 3D academy once the new site is up and running, recently completed the UK’s largest 3D printed master planning model for Barking Riverside.

Other companies situated at Here East, which aims to attract new SMEs and large companies looking to innovate, include Ford, Ladbrokes Coral and Matchesfashion.com.

“Hobs perfectly encapsulates this [our] mission and we look forward to seeing the results of its collaboration with our existing tenants,” said Here East chief executive Gavin Poole. 

Liverpool-headquartered Hobs, which consists of Hobs Studio, Hobs Repro, Hobs On-Site and Anexsys, has more than 400 staff nationwide and a group turnover of more than £35m. For an in-depth interview with its chief executive James Duckenfield, check out last week’s PrintWeek magazine. 

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