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Protolabs Grows 3D Printing Capability with £10.5M European Investment

Protolabs has begun work on a £10.5M investment that will increase its 3D printing capability by 50% to meet the growing demand for this technology.

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Protolabs European Expansion

Protolabs breaks ground on European expansion. From left to right: Michael Meier, Protolabs; Edwin Klostermeier, Mayor of Putzbrunn; and Daniel Cohn, Protolabs.

Protolabs has begun work on a new production facility in Putzbrunn, Germany, a £10.5M investment that is expected to give customers even greater access to the firm’s automated manufacturing processes and quality systems. The facility is also expected to increase 3D printing capability by 50%.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic impacting economies across Europe, construction of the new building has started, with the initial shell scheduled to be completed by the end of December this year and the fit-out and machinery due to be installed in several stages beginning in May 2021.

Up to 25 further machines and state-of-the-art equipment will be added to the existing technology, whilst a CNC machining center - with a five-axis milling machine - will be installed to support the finishing of 3D printed parts for high-end applications. Automated finishing, coloring and painting systems will also be part of the expansion, along with additional 3D printing technologies in the future.

"We are the world’s fastest digital manufacturer, but a major goal for us is to produce 3D printed parts even faster. When a finished design enters our online ordering platform it goes through a short feasibility check by our expert design team and then on to be printed. The new facility will give us the capacity to speed this process up even more to real time,” explains Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director of Protolabs Europe.

“We will be able to move all departments from the current building in Feldkirchen near Munich to Putzbrunn and, importantly, with the larger production area and 50% more capacity, we’ll be able to deliver even more projects in as little as one day.” Klaas continues. “With optimized work processes and additional employees, the new location will support our activity in the UK, especially our ability to produce certified medical devices under ISO 13485.”