This technical information has been contributed byMAPLE PLAIN, Minn.—Proto Labs, Inc., recently announced that it has acquired a new, 77,000-square-foot facility that will allow the digital manufacturing company to expand its 3D printing service into a larger and more efficient additive manufacturing space. Proto Labs will house all of its stereolithography (SL), selective laser sintering (SLS), and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) technology under one roof at the new plant, which is located “in the North Carolina area where Proto Labs’ current additive facilities are located,” according to a release from the company. The new plant is scheduled to become fully operational in the first half of 2016.
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Proto Labs Expands Its Additive Manufacturing Footprint
In addition to moving its existing equipment into the larger space, the prototyping and low-volume manufacturer plans to increase its overall 3D printing capacity with new machines. Anchoring the expansion will be SLS and DMLS equipment, which produce durable nylon parts and functional metal parts, respectively. As 3D printing continues to grow industry-wide, Proto Labs plans to be well-equipped to accommodate the ongoing evolution of additive manufacturing.
“Since the launch of 3D printing at Proto Labs, we’ve increased our material selection and improved our turnaround time to days,” said Proto Labs Vice President of Additive Manufacturing Rob Connelly, in the release. “We have also introduced additive services in Europe. Our state-of-the-art facility will be a critical driver in advancing 3D printing for many years to come.”
Over the past year, Proto Labs has fully integrated the additive manufacturing capabilities of FineLine Prototyping, Inc., which Proto Labs acquired in April 2014, into its operations. As a result, additive manufacturing has become one of the company’s three flagship services, alongside injection molding and CNC machining. Proto Labs’ revenue from additive services reportedly totaled $4.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, a 79 percent increase over FineLine’s first quarter of 2014.
“We could not be more excited about the progress we’ve made in one short year with our additive manufacturing service,” said Vicki Holt, president and CEO at Proto Labs. “With three uniquely different and complementary offerings, we’re now truly able to help designers and engineers take a product from the initial stages of prototyping through low-volume production.”
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