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Protolabs / 05 Nov, 2019
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EXHIBITOR NEWS: Digital Manufacturer Protolabs Launches Polypropylene 3D Printing in Europe

World-leading digital manufacturer Protolabs is excited to announce the launch of polypropylene 3D printing in Europe. The development of the new material for selective laser sintering allows design engineers to develop and test prototypes rapidly. It also allows for complex designs that were previously impossible in this material using injection moulding or CNC machining.

Says Andrea Landoni, 3D printing product manager for Protolabs: “Polypropylene is one of the most used plastics available to modern manufacturers and is widely used for a number of applications. Until recently you could only use 3D printed polypropylene-like materials that mimicked this plastic, but they did not have all of the same properties and were not as durable.”

“Now that we can cost effectively produce a prototype in polypropylene, design engineers can develop and test it in an application using the same material that it will be manufactured from. The product design can then be quickly reiterated and retested until they have the perfect solution, before they commit to tooling.”

“This breakthrough truly takes product development to the next level using this most versatile of plastics.”

3D printing polypropylene also opens up a whole host of designs with complex geometries that were previously impossible, such as honeycomb structures to reduce weight or organic shapes such as internal channels. Continues Landoni, “Before if you wanted to use polypropylene then you were limited in what you could design by the manufacturing technology available to you. Now the only limitation is your imagination. There are many times, however, when the best solution for a manufacturer may be to produce polypropylene parts using injection moulding or CNC machining. We can give you unbiased advice on which is best to use because we offer all three manufacturing technologies.”

Moreover, with all three technologies available, Protolabs can help a manufacturer through the complete product development cycle. From initial prototype, to checking that the final design is suitable for mass manufacture using its Design for Manufacture Analysis software (which is available for its injection moulding and CNC services). As the world’s fastest digital manufacturing resource, they can also offer on-demand production using bridge tooling for injection moulding while the manufacturer waits for their full production moulds.


matthew.hatch@protolabs.co.uk
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