Protolabs Launches Production Capabilities for Metal 3D Printing

New additive manufacturing capabilities ensure production-level part quality through enhanced secondary processes and inspection reporting

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.—June 4, 2019—Digital manufacturing company, Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB) has launched production capabilities for its metal 3D printing service. The new capabilities use secondary processes to improve the strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance of metal parts. As part of the launch, enhanced inspection reporting is also available.


"We see it every day. The designers and engineers we work with in industries like aerospace and medtech are choosing additive manufacturing for complex components in high-requirement applications," said Greg Thompson, global product manager for 3D printing at Protolabs. "These new production capabilities help them optimize their designs to enhance performance, reduce costs, and consolidate supply chains—and do so much faster than ever before."

Protolabs uses direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) technology—which is ISO 9001 and AS9100D-certified—to 3D print metal production parts. Once parts are built, several secondary options like post-process machining, tapping, reaming, and heat treatments are possible, and quality control measures like powder analysis, material traceability, and process validation are taken.

The production launch spotlights Protolabs' effort toward advancing industrial 3D printing beyond prototyping. "We're committed to servicing our customers' needs throughout the product life cycle across both conventional and additive manufacturing processes," explained Thompson.

A number of recent steps that Protolabs has taken reinforce this including joining GE's Additive Manufacturing Network and MIT's Additive Manufacturing Consortium along with teaming with Wohlers Associates for an immersive 3D printing design course. The company has also added capacity to support its growth with more than 25 GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab and M2 machines for DMLS production.

About Protolabs
Protolabs is the world's fastest digital manufacturing source for rapid prototyping and on-demand production. The technology-enabled company produces custom parts and assemblies in as fast as 1 day with automated 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, and injection molding processes. Its digital approach to manufacturing enables accelerated time to market, reduces development and production costs, and minimizes risk throughout the product life cycle. Visit protolabs.com for more information.

Featured Product

MarkLogic - How to Win the New Industrial Revolution

MarkLogic - How to Win the New Industrial Revolution

Use Data to Deliver Efficiency, Reduce Risk, and Create Better Products. Disruptive technologies and market changes are transforming the manufacturing industry, requiring a new focus on optimizing use of data and information. It all adds up to a new industrial revolution called Industry 4.0. Organizations who want to realize the potential of this revolution need to "Industrialize their data," making it a core asset to deliver better products and customer service, navigate complex business environments, and transform for the future. MarkLogic customers are delivering on this vision for data with a proven architectural pattern called the Operational Data Hub that simplifies the integration of data along the digital thread to power operational and analytic use cases across the enterprise.