Protolabs celebrates 20-year anniversary with opening of new advanced manufacturing plant

Protolabs HQ
Protolabs headquarters in Maple Plain, MN).

Digital manufacturing company Protolabs (Maple Plain, MN) is celebrating its 20th anniversary today in grand style by opening a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility in Brooklyn Park, MN. The 215,000-square-foot CNC machining facility, which currently houses nearly 300 mills and lathes, is Protolabs’ eighth manufacturing plant in the United States, and 12th globally.

Protolabs calls the new plant the “centerpiece” of its 20th anniversary year. Founded in 1999, Protolabs has seen aggressive growth over the past two decades because, it says, of its manufacturing model that couples digital front-end part analysis with automated tool pathing to produce custom machined components in as fast as 24 hours.

“We are truly living in an on-demand consumer economy and that’s no different for manufacturing,” said Vicki Holt, President and CEO. “Our customers are hungry for manufacturing partners that can see their products through ever-shrinking life cycles, and Protolabs is uniquely positioned to serve our customers’ needs from early prototyping to on-demand production.”

The global digital manufacturer now serves more than 45,000 unique product developers each year across three continents and 60 countries. Over the past 20 years, Protolabs has grown in capabilities with four flagship services and 11 manufacturing technologies, and has added capacity with more than one million square feet of manufacturing space that houses more than 1,000 machines producing nearly four million parts each month, according to the company.

“Protolabs has exceeded my wildest dreams,” said Larry Lukis, Protolabs’ founder. “The company was born out of personal frustration that manufacturing parts took months, when it could take days or even minutes. There needed to be a way to make it easier and faster for product developers to get prototype parts and accelerate development cycles. Protolabs has achieved that goal and made advanced manufacturing technologies accessible for everyone, from makers to startups to Fortune 500 companies.”

The official grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting was held today at the Brooklyn Park facility, providing community and industry leaders with an opportunity to see the smart facility firsthand.

A digital manufacturing source for rapid prototyping and on-demand production, Protolabs produces custom parts and assemblies in as fast as one day using automated 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, and injection molding processes. Its digital approach to manufacturing enables accelerated time to market, reduces development and production costs, and minimizes risk throughout the product life cycle, said the company.

Protolabs will be exhibiting at PLASTEC East, part of the largest annual advanced design and manufacturing event on the east coast, from June 11 to 13, 2019, in New York. Visit the company at booth 415. The event includes the 3D Printing Zone, where companies such as Protolabs, 3D Systems and Stratasys will showcase their newest developments, as well as several conference sessions dedicated to 3D printing technology. Topics include engineering digital disruption, the reality behind mass customization, and emerging trends in metal and ceramics 3D printing. For more information and to register to attend, go to the event website.

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