Proto Labs is the world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. It’s a technology-enabled company that uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining
and injection molding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for designers and engineers and an on-demand manufacturing resource throughout a product’s life
Proto Labs began in 1999 specializing in the quick-turn manufacturing of custom plastic injection-molded parts. In 2007, the company introduced its CNC machining service and in 2014, expanded into 3D printing with the addition of additive manufacturing. Proto Labs is a global company with full-service manufacturing operations in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Why Proto Labs?
Proto Labs has radically changed the economics and lead times traditionally associated with manufactured parts. The rapid manufacturer provides a fast, easy and cost-effective way to obtain 1 to 10,000 parts within days, routinely shipping parts before conventional suppliers can even quote them. These quick delivery times are possible because it has automated the manual process of mold design and toolpath generation through the use of proprietary software.
Product developers can upload a 3D CAD model online at any time and receive an interactive quote with real-time pricing information and free design analysis within hours. The manufacturability analysis helps eliminate problems, like sink or warp, so modifications can be made before any actual production begins.
Proto Labs uses the latest additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) technologies to provide precision accuracy to plastic and metal part production — from small pieces with complex geometries to large, highly detailed patterns. 3D printing is ideal for 1 to 50 parts and works well for form and fit testing, reducing multipart assemblies and as fully functional components in some cases.
The company’s CNC machining service uses three-axis milling and turning with live tooling to machine up to 200 parts from more than 30 stocked plastic and metal materials. The result is functional parts made from engineering-grade materials for prototype testing, jigs and fixtures, and end-use applications.
For those who need low-volume production, bridge tooling or on-demand parts throughout a product’s life cycle, rapid injection molding can manufacture up to 10,000 parts from hundreds of different engineering-grade plastic, metal (including magnesium) and liquid silicone rubber materials.