Protolabs expands CNC machining offer through its Digital Manufacturing Network of global suppliers

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World-leading digital manufacturer Protolabs has announced an expansion of production capabilities within its global CNC machining service, creating new opportunities for product development worldwide.

Protolabs CNC facility at its UK headquarters in Telford
Protolabs CNC facility at its UK headquarters in Telford

Customers who upload a 3D CAD model to the online quoting platform can now access a range of better-qualified suppliers through Protolabs' digital supply network at Hubs for qualified geometries.

The seamless transition between in-house and network production options opens up a wealth of advanced machining capabilities designed to reduce part costs, increase tolerances, provide a broader range of finishing options, and allow for the design of larger and more complex parts.

"Our business is all about helping customers to innovate, so it's vital that we constantly seek to improve our offering," said Bjoern Klaas, vice president and managing director of Protolabs Europe. "With this launch, our customers can now benefit from the fastest and most well-rounded machining service possible."

With volume pricing options, customers can lower their overall piece-part price as quantity increases—up to 1,000 or more machined parts. Tighter tolerances down to 0.020 mm are now achievable, as are complete parts with all features milled, holes tapped, and post-process finishing applied.

Regarding finishing options, plating (black oxide, nickel), anodising (Type II, Type III), and chromate coating in larger quantities are available. And parts as large as 1,000 mm to as small as 0.5 mm are possible.

Bjoern concluded: "We decided to transition into a prototype-to-production provider to support customers even further, and this development supports that strategy.

"When designing and developing parts, customers can benefit from the speed, precision and reliability in CNC machining that they expect from Protolabs, with added capabilities to support their projects even further."

All of the advanced machining capabilities are now live and available to customers via