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Protolabs launches metal 3D printing production capabilities

The company hopes the quality of its parts will ensure use beyond the prototyping phase.

The Minnesota-based digital manufacturing company, Protolabs, has launched production capabilities for its metal 3D printing service.

Using secondary processes, metal parts will feature improved strength, dimensional accuracy and cosmetic appearance. Such advances are contributing to Protolabs’ efforts to make the additive manufacturing of metal viable beyond just prototyping.

“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.”


Using direct metal laser sintering to build parts, Protolabs’ technology also features secondary options and quality control measures. The company says these include post-process machining, tapping, reaming, heat treatments, powder analysis, material traceability and process validation.

The company recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with the opening of a new 215,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Minnesota. Protolabs specialise in the rapid manufacturing of sheet metal, injection-molded, CNC-machined and 3D printed parts.