Rapid prototyping and on-demand manufacturer Proto Labs reports its largest European infrastructure investment since the UK business was established in 2005. The business has financed a spend of around €4 million on new manufacturing technology and facility renovations; primarily in Telford, UK and also its other locations across Europe. The investment is in response to current and projected customer demand for Proto Labs’ advanced manufacturing services from across Europe.
During June and July 2017, Proto Labs, digital manufacturing service providers in 3D printing, CNC machining and injection moulding, confirmed their large-scale purchase of Haas CNC machines and ARBURG injection moulding machines.
“Proto Labs offers a supremely fast and reliable service,” said Lee Ball, Proto Labs General Manager in the UK. “Because customers today across all industries require fast turnaround, especially in product development. Our continuous investment allows us to meet the ever growing needs of our thousands of customers across all industries.”
The new Haas machines will be configured for either mould making or component machining, with both of these services growing at a rapid pace. Including the new machines, Proto Labs UK’s inventory now totals 130 CNC machining and 57 injection moulding machines. “We are seeing demand for moulded parts increase across the board year-over-year, from both long- standing and new customers, for a range of products and industries. To meet predicted levels of growth, a critical leverage is this investment in new technology.” said Lee Ball.
Demand for the Proto Labs’ industrial 3D printing service, which operates from two sites in Germany, is also growing.
“The rapid increase in order intake is being fuelled by more customers, across varied industry sectors, now realising the extensive possibilities to prototype parts with complex geometries cost-effectively using 3D printing technology.
For certain parts, the only possible option is to manufacture using this technology.” said Daniel Cohn, Managing Director of the 3D printing business Proto Labs GmbH in Feldkirchen, Germany.
“For example, our Eschenlohe facility is certified with EN ISO 13485:2012 quality management standards. For customers, they benefit from our technical capabilities to manufacture specific medical devices using 3D printing DMLS technology, including parts approved for human implantation,” continued Daniel Cohn.
This recent capacity growth is reinforced by business expansion across Proto Labs’ European locations. Since 2015, the business has supported annual growth in excess of 20 percent in manufacturing and engineering, sales and administrative functions.
“Additional space will be required within the next 18 to 24 months to accommodate our projected level of growth, both to our office space and manufacturing capacity,” said Lee Ball. A similar expansion plan is also in development to support expected growth in the company’s German facilities at Eschenlohe and Feldkirchen.