Digital manufacturing company, Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB) launched production capabilities for its metal 3D printing service. These capabilities use secondary processes to improve the strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance of metal parts. 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.
Recently, Protolabs joined 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.