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Luxexcel (NL) sets up innovation hub in Turnhout, Flanders

Luxexcel is a start-up that 3D prints complex glasses for daily use, as well as special lenses for pilots, golfers and swimmers. Its R&D and production departments are located in Turnhout, Flanders. Joost van Abeelen, one of Luxexcel’s managers: “It’s the perfect location for us, particularly to attract the right workforce: Flanders has plenty of well-trained scientists.”

Open Manufacturing Campus in Turnhout, Belgium

All the ingredients for growth

Forty staff members, thirty of whom are scientists. A large circle of shareholders, venture capitalists from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. A track record of almost ten years. A move to the heart of an innovative region, Flanders. It’s clear that Luxexcel has all the right ingredients for expansion.

That’s why the company expects to grow rapidly with the extra funding from its shareholders and is working towards an initial public offering. Luxexcel expects to be break even as early as 2019, thanks to rapid growth in turnover. According to the company’s management, this is possible because the 3D-printing machines have significant market potential and there are currently no competitors.

The need for speed

“Fast growth is key now,” agrees Joost van Abeelen, who is responsible for the company’s operations. “Our shareholders make this expansion possible, thanks to a new capital increase in the autumn.” The size of this round is not yet known but may be in the same order of magnitude as in 2017, when Luxexcel raised EUR 10 million. 

Expanding production

The first two units of a new generation of 3D printers for the optical industry, the company's only product, are now with American customers. However, Luxexcel is looking for another company to produce the 3D printer in larger numbers. Starting in 2020, the company seeks to place dozens of machines each year.

A strategic location

Luxexcel’s choice of Flanders for its headquarters was a strategic one. The firm received several million euros in support from Flanders’ PMV investment fund and was able to rent space at the Open Manufacturing Campus, a breeding ground for young companies in Turnhout. The OMC aims to be the hotspot for open innovation in the field of high-tech and life science manufacturing. Located about 40 kilometers from Eindhoven and close to Leuven and Antwerp as well, this was a prime location for the start-up.

Leuven is the center of 3D-printing technology in Belgium and Flanders. The oldest 3D-printing company, Materialise, has its roots there and now employs almost two thousand people worldwide. Proximity to Antwerp is also attractive because the area offers a highly skilled pool of chemists.

More info

LuxexcelOpen Manufacturing Campus (OMC)
Reported by
Het Financieele Dagblad
21 September 2018

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