Proto Labs launches insert molding capabilities at advanced manufacturing event

On-demand manufacturer of prototypes and low-volume production parts Proto Labs Inc. (Maple Plain, MN) officially launched its insert molding service at Pacific Design & Manufacturing today. Expanding on the company’s rapid injection molding offerings, this new capability can produce 25 to 10,000-plus insert-molded parts in 15 days or less. Pacific Design & Manufacturing is co-located with PLASTEC West and MD&M West in Anaheim, CA. The trade show and conference, billed as the largest annual design and manufacturing event in North America, runs from Feb. 7 to 9.

Protolab insert molding“We’re delighted to now be delivering a new service that designers and developers have been asking us for,” said Proto Labs CEO Vicki Holt. “As we help companies large and small accelerate their product development with our digital manufacturing methods, insert molding offers another important tool for these companies to make prototype or end-use parts as quickly as possible.”

Insert molding is the process of overmolding thermoplastic material around a preformed component (an insert) to create a finished part that incorporates multiple materials, explains Proto Labs. The inserts are generally metal parts that are used to reinforce the mechanical properties of the plastic part. The metal inserts are placed into the mold to form the part.

Components manufactured using insert molding include electronic parts, medical equipment, housings, knobs, handles and dials. Product designers and engineers frequently turn to insert molding for improving part strength while trimming part weight and reducing assembly costs, production time and labor. The parts are routinely used in the medical, automotive and consumer products sectors, among others. 

Proto Labs inaugurated a 77,000-square-foot additive-manufacturing facility in Cary, NC, in October 2016. The plant contains more than 70 3D printers, most of which are stereolithography based but also include some selective laser sintering and direct metal laser sintering machines.

Visit the company at booth 3415. For more information on the co-located shows this week in Anaheim, go to the PLASTEC West website.

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