RS & DesignSpark partner with digital manufacturer, Protolabs to deliver 3D printing services
07 September 2021
3. A row of CNC machines at Protolabs' manufacturing facility in Telford
Design & Manufacturing Solutions added to the RS suite of solutions, facilitating rapid prototyping & fast production of low-volume production parts for customers.
Industrial & electronic components distributor, RS Components (RS) has partnered with world-leading digital manufacturer, Protolabs to deliver unrivalled support for rapid prototyping and low-volume production parts. The service will focus on Protolabs’ industrial 3D printing capabilities, but will also include their CNC machining and injection moulding services.
The move is in line with RS’s commitment to provide innovation for customers, helping them navigate digital transformation and the adoption of Industry 4.0. Design & Manufacturing Solutions sits within a suite, alongside services such as calibration, procurement, maintenance and inventory solutions – a broad offering that supports customers in all fields across the industrial sphere, giving them even more choice.
1. Part finishing after using Protolabs' Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printing technology
Mike Bray, Group Lead, Innovation, R&D and DesignSpark at RS parent company, Electrocomponents, commented: “In a rapidly evolving engineering space, having access to services that can facilitate the fast provision of prototypes or parts that are suited to a wide variety of applications can provide a real competitive edge. At RS, our mission is to help our customers maximise the opportunities around Industry 4.0, and both educate them on the latest technology innovations and make them accessible. Our partnership with Protolabs supports that mission perfectly.”
Design & Manufacturing Solutions will support engineers, designers, procurement and maintenance professionals, enabling them to reduce downtime, save money and execute iterative design. The solution is a valuable addition for DesignSpark software users, as the designs they create within the software can then be uploaded to Protolabs’ e-commerce platform for quoting, analysis (design for manufacturability) and part production – a seamless and user-friendly process.
2. The powder bed being prepared for 3D printing metal parts using Protolabs' DMLS technology
Once the parts are ordered, the automated systems employed by Protolabs enable the production of parts in as little as one day, also ensuring the high precision needed for complex designs and functional prototypes. The 3D printing technologies used by Protolabs include Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF), PolyJet (3D printed silicone) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). The parts can be produced in a wide range of plastics and metals.
Bjoern Klaas, Vice President & Managing Director at Protolabs, Europe added: “As two world-leading service providers for the engineering and industrial sectors, the partnership between Protolabs and RS Components is an exciting one. We’re both committed to driving innovation, championing Industry 4.0. and reliably facilitating the delivery of a fast and high quality service to those who need prototypes or end-use parts, whether that be in the automotive, aerospace, medical, electrical or heavy industry fields.
4. Protolabs' injection moulding machine operator
“The service will be available to UK customers initially. As we develop the partnership we look forward to delivering our digital manufacturing provision to the wider European market.”
To find out more about the RS and DesignSpark Design and Manufacturing solutions, visit: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=our-services/manufacturing-solutions
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