Injection moulding service Rapid dispatch guaranteed: Protolabs launches CTQ inspection service

Editor: Alexander Stark

UK — With as little as one day from CAD upload to the shipping of parts, Protolabs claims to be the world’s fastest injection moulding service. The company now launched a Critical to Quality (CTQ) inspection service for its on-demand injection moulding, whilst maintaining its rapid dispatch times.

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One of the world’s fastest digital manufacturers has launched a Critical to Quality (CTQ) inspection service for its on-demand injection moulding.
One of the world’s fastest digital manufacturers has launched a Critical to Quality (CTQ) inspection service for its on-demand injection moulding.
(Source: Seefeldtphoto/ Protolabs)

UK injection moulding expert Protolabs has added Critical to Quality inspection to their services. This new service is to save design engineers days or even weeks of time for the delivery of quality assured parts. A key aspect behind this rapid reporting and delivery is the company’s new software platform, which creates a digital thread as soon as a customer uploads their CAD into the system.

Working within the new platform, the client simply submits a print of their model and uses red circles on their design to highlight up to five features where dimensions and tolerances are critical. They can also use a blue circle to indicate additional features they want measuring for reference — these are not critical to the part, but will still need reviewing. Engineers from Protolabs will then review the model and email an Inspection Statement of Work, which will highlight if any of the features circled as critical have issues with tolerances and mouldability.

If there are no issues, the order is issued to meet the customer’s delivery schedules without delay, whilst, if there is an issue, the client will be notified and will need to liaise with engineers to decide on what steps to take. After completing the mould development process, Protolabs will inspect the first three shots from the tool using a coordinate measuring machine (CMM). This will measure the critical features highlighted in the CAD and provide a First Article Inspection (FAI) Report.

Using the same CMM, the company will then inspect a further 30 parts from the order, taken at equal intervals from the production run, to produce the Critical to Quality inspection report. The new service is available as part of Protolabs’ on-demand manufacturing service, which allows engineers to control the complete development and production of their parts from their own desktop.

According to the company, the on-demand manufacturing service puts all the control with the customer — it’s like having their own production line controlled from their desktop. If everything runs smoothly then rapid production and dispatch is assured, but even if there is a problem — having such visibility and control — allows them to resolve the issue without delay.

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