Rapid prototyping and on-demand manufacturer, Proto Labs has announced its largest European infrastructure investment since the UK business was established in 2005.
The investment on new manufacturing technology and site renovations has primarily taken place in Telford, UK, and also its other European locations, according to Proto Labs, and was made in response to current and projected market demand.
During June and July 2017, Proto Labs confirmed its large-scale purchase of Haas CNC machines and ARBURG injection moulding machines. The new Haas machine will reportedly be configured for either mould making or component machining, with both of these services experiencing a significant rise in demand.
Including the new machines, Proto Labs UK’s inventory now totals 130 CNC machining and 57 injection moulding machines.
Proto Labs General Manager in the UK, Lee Ball explained: “Because customers today across all industries require fast turnaround, especially in product development. Our continuous investment allows us to meet the ever-growing needs of our thousands of customers across all industries.”
Demand for the Proto Labs’ industrial 3D printing service, which operates from two sites in Germany, is also growing.
Ball noted: “The rapid increase in order intake is being fuelled by more customers, across varied industry sectors, now realising the extensive possibilities to prototype parts with complex geometries cost-effectively using 3D printing technology.
This recent capacity growth is reinforced by business expansion across Proto Labs’ European locations. Since 2015, the business has reported annual growth in excess of 20% in manufacturing and engineering, sales and administrative functions.
Ball said: “Additional space will be required within the next 18 to 24 months to accommodate our projected level of growth, both to our office space and manufacturing capacity.”
A similar expansion plan is also in development to support expected growth in the company’s German facilities at Eschenlohe and Feldkirchen.
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