Proto Labs, Inc. (NYSE: PRLB) has acquired a new facility to expand its 3D printing service into a larger and more efficient additive manufacturing space. The 77,000 ft2 facility will allow the digital manufacturing company to house all of its stereolithography (SL), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technology under one roof. The new plant is scheduled to become fully operational in the first half of 2016, and will remain in the North Carolina area where Proto Labs’ current additive facilities are located.
In addition to moving its existing equipment into the larger space, the prototyping and low-volume manufacturer plans to increase its overall 3D printing capacity with new machines. Anchoring the expansion will be SLS and DMLS equipment, which produce durable nylon parts and functional metal parts respectively. As 3D printing continues to grow industry-wide, Proto Labs’ plans to be well-equipped to accommodate the ongoing evolution of additive manufacturing.
“Since the launch of 3D printing at Proto Labs, we’ve increased our material selection and improved our turnaround time to days. We have also introduced additive services in Europe,” stated Rob Connelly, Proto Labs’ VP of Additive Manufacturing. “Our state-of-the-art facility will be a critical driver in advancing 3D printing for many years to come.”
FineLine Prototyping, Inc. was acquired by Proto Labs in April 2014, and over the past year, its Additive Manufacturing capabilities have been fully integrated into Proto Labs, serving now as one of three flagship services alongside injection moulding and CNC machining. Proto Labs’ revenue from additive services totaled $4.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, a 79% increase compared to FineLine’s first quarter of 2014.
“We could not be more excited about the progress we’ve made in one short year with our Additive Manufacturing service,” says Vicki Holt, President and CEO at Proto Labs. “With three uniquely different and complementary offerings, we’re now truly able to help designers and engineers take a product from the initial stages of prototyping through low-volume production.”
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