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Proto Labs Chooses Grapevine, TX, Metal Additive Manufacturing Anchor

One of the world's fastest digital manufacturing sources for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts, Proto Labs, Inc. of Maple Plain, Minnesota, has chosen Concept Laser of Grapevine, Texas, to be the anchor of its newly designed metal additive manufacturing center.

The technology-enabled company uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for product designers and engineers worldwide.

According to the firm, Proto Labs will integrate multiple Mlab cusing and M2 cusing machines into its new 77,000 sq. ft. facility later this year. The LaserCUSING technology will complement its existing portfolio of industrial 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding processes.

“Our business is built on a foundation of speed, efficiency, and delivering a superior quality of parts. Concept Laser metal powder-bed systems provide us with the ability to deliver on that promise to our customers,” said Rob Connelly, Proto Labs' Vice President of Additive Manufacturing. “The Mlab cusing and M2 cusing machines from Concept Laser enable us to manufacture with a variety of reactive and non-reactive metal powders in various build volumes.”

“Maximum throughput without compromise to quality is one of the competitive advantages our machines offer. The integration of safety features, such as the closed-loop material handling system along with the patented passivated filter-change mechanism, minimizes the operator’s exposure to powders and streamlines the process,” said John Murray, President/CEO of Concept Laser Inc.

According to a company spokesperson, LaserCUSING systems can use a variety of alloys, allowing prototypes to be functional hardware made out of the same material as production components. Since the components are built layer by layer, it is possible to design internal features and passages that could not be cast or otherwise machined. Mlab cusing and M2 cusing machines produce full-strength, functional metal parts with the same ease and speed as plastic parts, with the potential to transition into metal injection molding when increased production is needed.

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