With molding, machining, and now additive manufacturing, Proto Labs is in the unique position to take its customers from the very early stages of prototyping up through mid-volume production. “We’ve added five new manufacturing processes in the first five months of 2014,” says Holt. “It’s all about talking with our customers, listening to what they want and providing it to them. MIM, LSR and our three additive processes represent that.”About Proto Labs, Inc.Proto Labs is a leading online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. Proto Labs provides “Real Parts, Really Fast” by utilizing injection molding, computer numerical control (CNC) machining and additive manufacturing to produce custom parts for product designers and engineers worldwide. For more information, visit protolabs.com.
Proto Labs, Inc. (NYSE:PRLB) will formally introduce its new metal injection molding process in New York at the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing trade show on June 10-12. Over the past year, the online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer has developed an advanced process for molding low-volume stainless steel parts, which is now available to its customers.
Proto Labs is now accepting metal injection molding orders for low volumes of stainless steel parts. (Photo: Business Wire)Representatives from Proto Labs will be in attendance at AD&M discussing MIM and its different applications. Metal injection molding is a multi-step process that can produce complex, fully dense metal parts that are used across many different industries, particularly in automotive, medical and consumer electronics sectors. “The launch of metal injection molding at Proto Labs lets us fill a nearly unoccupied space in the manufacturing industry, which is the short-run production of metal parts,” explains Proto Labs President and CEO, Vicki Holt. “MIM has traditionally been limited to large-scale manufacturing of tens of thousands of parts; we can now machine a mold and deliver around 5,000 parts in about three weeks. We’re thrilled to provide that service for product developers.” Proto Labs’ integration of metal injection molding comes in parallel to its recent addition of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) molding, with the two new processes enhancing the established thermoplastic molding capabilities in Protomold. Additionally, the Minnesota-based company has made a major investment in additive manufacturing having just acquired FineLine Prototyping from Raleigh, North Carolina. The additive manufacturing service uses stereolithography, selective laser sintering and direct metal laser sintering to build rapid prototype parts, and is seen as a complement to Proto Labs’ Firstcut CNC Machining and Protomold Injection Molding services.