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Promising £5 m expansion at Proto Labs creates 60 jobs

| Editor: Briggette Jaya

Proto Labs General Manager Lee Ball: “The expansion will give us the platform we need to deliver our ‘on-demand’ manufacturing offer to more customers.”
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Proto Labs General Manager Lee Ball: “The expansion will give us the platform we need to deliver our ‘on-demand’ manufacturing offer to more customers.” (Source: Proto Labs)

UK-based Proto Labs has reported the release of an investment of £5 million for expansion plans.

Leading digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts, Proto Labs, has released investment on a £5-million expansion plan for its Halesfield European Headquarters in Telford, Shropshire.

The company says the planned 50,000 sq/ft. extension at its Halesfield facility will house an additional 50 CNC machines and 20 more injection moulding presses. The investment will help the company, which works with product designers and engineers across Europe, meet growing ‘speed-to-market’ demand from clients across the automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics and heavy industry sectors. Over the next two years, it will also create 60 new high-skilled jobs in Shropshire.

Construction work has already begun and the project is set to be completed with new space already operational by early 2020, the company notes.

VP and MD at Protolabs Europe, Bjoern Klaas, commented: “The focus now, more than ever, is on speed and making sure new products and components are either first to market or ready when the end customer needs them.”

Klaas added that the company is set-up to meet this requirement with its design and analysis team and bespoke production software. On the completion of the expansion, Proto Labs will have some 300 CNC milling, CNC turning and plastic injection moulding sampling and production machines at its disposal. Combined with its state-of-the-art 3D printing facility in Germany, the company will have the capacity to turn jobs around in as fast as a day!

“Despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we are confident that our recent growth will continue and the expansion of our factory gives us an additional 16% capacity and, importantly, the level of technology we need to help us reach our five-year target,” Klaas explained.

Operating from manufacturing facilities across three continents, Proto Labs works with customers to accelerate product development, reduce costs and optimise supply chains with technology-enabled 3D printing, CNC machining and injection moulding. Clients upload their 3D Cad drawings onto the Proto Labs website, where customised software reviews models and emails an interactive quote with real-time pricing and design analysis from a 20-man team in the UK.

Proto Labs, which recently won the Queen’s Award for International Trade for the third time, says it produces one to 50+ 3D-printed parts within one to seven days, while one to 200+ CNC machined parts take between one to three days and 25 to10,000+ injection-moulded parts take one to 15 days.

Lee Ball, general manager at Protolabs, Telford, commented on the expansion: “It is the latest development in what has been a very busy 2019, with secondary services added to make sure we are keeping up with what the market requirements. These include detailed measurement and inspection reporting and anodising for CNC machined parts.” The company has also added new materials, including Inconel 718, Maraging Steel 1.2709 and copper to its list of metals for 3D printing, Ball added.

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