Protolabs has introduced automated design feedback—along with expanded material and finishing options for 3D printing—to product developers and engineers, globally
February 16, 2023
MINNEAPOLIS— By making design adjustments early, manufacturers can accelerate product development and avoid unnecessary production costs. That’s why digital manufacturer Protolabs recently introduced a new capability—instant design for additive manufacturability (DfAM) analysis on 3D-printed parts—through its online quoting platform.
The automated feedback enables product developers and engineers to optimize additive designs before parts are printed, Protolabs said in a release.
“Protolabs was one of the first digital manufacturing companies to launch automated manufacturability analysis on molded and machined parts—a tool that quickly became essential for our customers during their iterative design process,” said Protolabs Chief Technology Officer Oleg Ryaboy, in the release. “We’re excited to expand our design for manufacturability suite into 3D printing so customers can take advantage of the same speed and cost-reduction benefits.”
Design for additive manufacturability analysis is available globally on parts uploaded online at protolabs.com for any of the company’s plastic and metal 3D printing technologies. When users receive their quotes, the analysis immediately highlights potential manufacturability advisories concerning thin walls, small gaps, and parts that exceed maximum size restrictions, the company said.
Protolabs’ automated DfAM is also available through the company’s digital network of manufacturing partners at Hubs.
“Our DfAM capabilities significantly improve the 3D printing quoting experience, enabling customers to easily engage with our broad technical offering,” said Protolabs President and CEO Rob Bodor, in the release. “I am delighted by the initial customer response.”
Protolabs also recently broadened its additive material and finishing options. Now, product developers and engineers can choose 3D-printed silicone in multiple levels of shore-A hardness. The 100 percent pure silicone material is biocompatible and functional at a range of temperatures. Vapor smoothing, launched earlier this year for select materials, provides enhanced finishes that eliminate rough surfaces and leave a glossy, aesthetic appearance on 3D-printed parts, the company said.
Protolabs’ addition of design and production capabilities within 3D printing signals a larger push by the company to bring more manufacturing possibilities to its customers this year. In early February, the company also announced new CNC machining options focused on volume pricing, precision tolerances, and expanded finishes through its digital network at Hubs.
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