When aircraft are grounded for annual overhauls, usually for just one or two weeks at a time, companies supplying refits and maintenance services have to respond quickly to ensure they return to service without delay. "Our customers are very demanding," says James Deans, director of Airline Components International (ACI), a company specialising in the design and manufacture of aircraft interiors. "Initially, we were looking for a company that could produce larger prototype models than we could in-house. We were delighted when we discovered that, as well as, making prototype injection-moulded parts, Proto Labs could also deliver short production runs that are so much more time-effective than traditional injection-moulding suppliers." "Using Protomold has allowed us to shorten the lead-time for a new part by several weeks. That means customers can order parts when the aircraft is grounded and have them fitted and back flying within the allotted maintenance window. That's good for us and very good news for them." At the time, ACI was working on creating a project of large injection-moulded parts for the Royal Air Force. "The steel tooling for this small project was going to cost over £200,000 and the finished parts were going to take 12-16 weeks. Proto Labs told us we could have a finished, injection-moulded part in the same production-intent material without compromising performance, in one, three, five or 15 business days." Protomold also use an intuitive online quoting system, ProtoQuote. The system takes an existing 3D CAD model and uses a super compute cluster to process the model and design tooling, with a dedicated project manager available to deal with any quirks. Proto Labs will be in Hall 4, stand 4661, at MACH 2010.