Medical Device Qualified Supplier Directory
Protolabs, Inc. Company Profile
Qualifications: ISO 9001, Supplier to Medical Manufacturers, Exhibitor in at least 2 MD&M and/or MEDTEC shows
Protolabs manufactures custom parts for a global-base of designers and engineers through four distinct services: 3D printing, CNC machining sheet metal fabrication and injection molding. Our proprietary software and automated manufacturing processes allow for quick-turn prototyping and low-volume production of real plastic, metal and liquid silicone rubber parts in 1 to 15 days.
Protolabs: Rapid Prototyping and On-demand Production
Protolabs was founded in 1999 by Larry Lukis, an entrepreneur and computer geek who wanted to radically reduce the time it took to get injection-molded plastic parts. His solution was to automate the traditional manufacturing process by developing complex software that communicated with a network of mills and presses. As a result, plastic and metal parts could be produced in a fraction of the time it had ever taken before.
Over the next decade, we continued to expand our injection molding envelope, introduced quick-turn CNC machining, and opened facilities in Europe and Japan. In 2014, we launched our industrial-grade 3D printing service to allow product developers, designers, and engineers an easier path to move from early prototyping to low-volume production. In 2017, Protolabs acquired Rapid Manufacturing, expanding our service offering to include rapid sheet metal manufacturing and enhanced CNC machining capabilities.
Today, Protolabs is a leading manufacturer of custom prototypes and on-demand production parts due to our commitment to accelerating our customers’ product development. We have more than 12 manufacturing facilities located around the world and continue to explore new ways to accelerate product development, reduce costs, and optimize our customers’ supply chain with rapid manufacturing technologies.
Automated Quoting and Interactive Design Analysis
At the heart of our manufacturing speed is our proprietary software, web-based quoting system, and automated processes. It all starts with a customer uploading a 3D CAD model online and receiving an interactive quote within hours. Each quote contains design feedback and real-time pricing—so customers can adjust material, lead times, quantities, and more and instantly see the impact on pricing. Once an order is placed, digital manufacturing instructions are sent to the factory floor for production.
The interactive quoting system and digital manufacturing model enable Protolabs to provide some of the quickest turnaround times in the industry, a major advantage when producing parts for medical applications. The immediate design feedback drastically accelerates the process, resulting in better and easier-to-manufacture products, and removing potential visual or performance defects before production.
Industrial 3D Printing
3D printing at Protolabs consists of five commercial-grade technologies: stereolithography, selective laser sintering, PolyJet, Multi Jet Fusion, and direct metal laser sintering. 3D printing is an excellent way to quickly evaluate new product designs and produce parts with complex geometries. Fit and form testing made possible with 3D-printed prototypes is very useful in early evaluation of new medical parts. To ensure quality standards are met and precise parts produced with every build, each 3D CAD model is carefully reviewed by an applications engineer before the build begins and monitored throughout each build.
Quick-turn CNC Machining
CNC machining often plays a big role in a product’s early...