Last September Protolabs presented its new additive manufacturing service for the European market. Vicki Holt, CEO and President of Proto Labs Inc. commented: “The additive manufacturing will provide the possibility of implementing forefront prototypes and will exert an enormous impact on the manufacturing industry. Thanks to three different but complementary solutions, we can really assist developers and designers in the product implementation, from the initial engineering phases of the first prototypes up to the final production in small volumes. From concept models up to shape and adaptation tests, functional testing and final production in small volumes, no other company can supply such an extended range of customized products with a level of speed, reliability and detail care that can be compared to ours’ “. Selective laser sintering and direct laser sintering processes of metals will be introduced in 2016; the additive manufacturing by Proto Labs currently offers the stereolithography service. The stereolithography consists in the polymerization, by means of ultraviolet laser, of successive layers of thermosetting resin that, after repeated stages, allows obtaining the growth of the desired component. The stereolithography allows manufacturing even very complex three-dimensional geometries, permitting a fast prototyping to product developers, even in case of very small parts or with very detailed geometries.
The introduction of the additive manufacturing completes the services of injection moulding and machining with Numerical Control (CNC) plants by ProtoLabs, thus completing a suite of services ranging from the prototyping to the production of small batches and making Proto Labs a unique reference partner, being able to satisfy the numerous requirements in the development and implementation of industrial prototypes and components.