Boston-based 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs Ltd. is establishing its first development centre outside the United States here in Hungary with an investment of 2 billion forints (EUR 6.14 million).

“The Government is providing 171 million forints (EUR 522,000) in non-returnable funding towards the investment, which will create 100 jobs over a period of three years”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday at a press conference in Budapest to announce the investment project. “Within the 3D printer industry, it is the development of the software that serves as the basis of printers’ functioning that represents the ‘top category’, and it is in this segment that Hungary and those Hungarians who have undertaken a role in the development of 3D printers in recent years have now received a great honour”, he explained. “Instead of production, research and development (R&D) has now become the fundamental prerequisite for success, and instead of the number of jobs it is now the level of technological development of existing jobs, the ratio of R&D, and added value that matter. Accordingly, the modified investment promotion system now gives preference to technologically intensive investment projects”, the Minister said.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, the results speak for themselves in view of the fact that the investment projects realised in Hungary are representing an increasingly high added value. “This is also evident from the fact that while in 2017 the average salary with relation to the investments brought to Hungary by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) was 304 thousand forints, last year it was 425 thousand forints, and average salaries increased further to 505 thousand forints during the first half of this year”, he highlighted. The Minister also mentioned that Boeing, Tesla, Apple, Sony and Gillette all use applications or equipment produced by Formlabs, meaning the work of Hungarian development engineers will be trackable in some of the world’s most well-known products in the upcoming years. He said that in his opinion the significance of the company’s investment in Hungary points to the future with relation to the fact that it will be training young Hungarians for the next global economic era since the close cooperation established with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) is affording engineering students the opportunity to try themselves out in this high-added-value sector of industry.

“The information technology and production sector, of which the manufacturing of 3D printers is a part, now provides jobs to 132 thousand people in Hungary; 19 percent more that one year ago”, Mr. Szijjártó stated. According to the Minister, this also corroborates the fact that the added value and level of technology of the workplaces being created in Hungary is continuously increasing. “Until now, the United States has been the largest investor in Hungary, immediately following the Germans; the 1700 American companies currently operating in Hungary provide jobs to 105 thousand people, and this relationship is now being further reinforced”, he said.

“The investment also means a step forward for trade relations, although the United States is already Hungary’s number on export market outside the European Union”, he added. Managing Director of Formlabs Ltd. Ferenc Tajti told the press that the Hungarian subsidiary was established in 2018, but began operations in Hungary in 2015 with the production of the Form 2 printer in Székesfehérvár, which has since become the market leader in its category. “Since it was founded in 2011, Formlabs has achieved a company value of 1 billion dollars, it employs over 500 people, and its annual turnover has grown to exceed 100 million dollars. Production in Hungary has played a major role in this growth. Since then, the company has sold over 50 thousand printers with which clients have printed over 40 million objects”, the Managing Director said. “Our experience is that the engineering knowledge of Hungarian developers and the level of education here is competitive on a global market level. We would like to use the funding received to increase the number of employees from the current level of ten to one hundred over the next three years”, he emphasised.

“The company is working in cooperation with the BME’s Department of Information Technology and Control Engineering. We would like to provide an environment that enables anyone who has an interest in 3D research as a researcher, developer or even user to have an opportunity to do so. In the Budapest office, staff are working on software solutions that enable users to use printers more easily”, he explained. Deputy Mayor of Budapest’s 5th district, Ministerial Commissioner Csilla Jeneiné Rubovszky said the fact that Formlabs has chosen Budapest’s Inner City as the site for its development centre is a huge opportunity. “Unemployment in the Inner City is less than one percent, but it is highest among highly trained young people for whom, in their view, the available workplaces do not represent a high enough challenge. It is possible that 10-12 of our unemployed university graduates will find a job at Formlabs”, the Deputy Mayor said.