High-growth Welsh 3D printing company expands with move to Cardiff

Large-scale 3D printing company, Lunia 3D, formerly based in Cowbridge, has upsized and moved its offices to Cardiff after a strong first four years in business.

The business was founded by childhood friends, Ken Pearce and Yousef Ahmed, both 26 and from Newport. The pair reunited after a decade to combine their skills and launch the business in 2020, transforming what was a garden shed hobby to a successful 3D printing firm within the space of 12 months.

The pair were supported initially by a £2,000 Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme to invest in their first commercial 3D printer, followed by an additional £12,000 loan, also provided by the Start Up Loans programme. Since then, Lunia 3D has cemented itself as a key player within the nascent, high-growth 3D printing sector and was chosen to represent small businesses in Wales as a Start Up Loans Ambassador because of the business’ potential.

The move to a bigger site in Cardiff has enabled Lunia 3D to upscale its printing capacity even further, replacing older machines with more efficient models. Ken and Yousef have also invested in their biggest printer yet, allowing them to take on more large-scale commissions which they previously had to create via a jigsaw method or outsource to external companies.

In recent years Lunia 3D has attracted a range of commissions; from lifesaving military equipment for the Ministry of Defence; to a full-scale car prototype for self-driving testing, and a large bespoke shopfront display for a high-end jeweller in Mayfair, London.

In the short time they’ve been in Cardiff, the firm has already received an influx of new business, something Ken and Yousef put down to their new, more central location.

Yousef said: “We always knew we would eventually need more space to grow the business, but it happened sooner than we’d anticipated. Moving wasn’t something we had seriously considered until we realised we were at maximum capacity at our Cowbridge site. And being in Cardiff not only gives us more space, but makes us more accessible as a business. 

“Being able to upscale so soon into our business journey is something we’re hugely proud of. Looking back on how far we’ve come, starting with our two Start Up Loans, which were the driving force behind getting our business off the ground, to funding this move is something we’re really pleased to have achieved.”

As part of its growth, Lunia 3D now employs an additional two people in the team alongside Ken and Yousef. Safwan Iqbal is the new sales and customer relations officer and James Bristow is the education lead.

Over the last few years, Lunia 3D has been running workshops for both school children and adults, but they’ve been working hard to develop this arm of the business further, recently running a class for a group of teenagers with autism, as well as a group of over 50s.

Jessica Phillips-Harris, Senior Manager for Wales at British Business Bank said: “Ken and Yousef have displayed such fantastic drive and ambition, and they should be proud of how much growth they’ve achieved in just four years in business, not to mention this recent move into Cardiff.

“The Start Up Loans programme exists to support entrepreneurs with big ideas but who lack the initial investment capital. It’s been a pleasure to follow Lunia 3D’s journey over the last couple of years and we hope they continue to flourish in their new location.”

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