Digital manufacturing company Protolabs (Maple Plain, MN) has launched production capabilities for its metal additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) service. The new capabilities use secondary processes to improve the strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance of metal parts. As part of the launch, enhanced inspection reporting is also available.
Protolabs uses direct metal laser sintering (DMLS)—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.
The production launch spotlights Protolabs’ effort toward advancing industrial 3D printing beyond prototyping. Recent steps include joining 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.
Protolabs produces custom parts and assemblies in as fast as one day with automated 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, and injection molding processes. Its digital approach to manufacturing enables accelerated time to market, reduces development and production costs, and minimizes risk throughout the product life cycle.
For more information, please visit protolabs.com.