This Fall, Proto Labs will be opening their new 3D printing facility in North Carolina, which spans an impressive 120,000 square feet.

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Breaking Ground for Innovation: Proto Labs Expands Metal Additive Manufacturing Footprint in North Carolina

In a move that solidifies its commitment to the growing field of metal additive manufacturing (AM), Proto Labs, the renowned manufacturing services bureau, has announced the construction of a state-of-the-art 120,000 square foot facility in Raleigh, North Carolina. This marks the company’s second facility in the state, further enhancing its presence and capabilities in the region.

The decision to expand in North Carolina comes as no surprise considering Proto Labs’ successful acquisition of FineLine Prototyping in 2014. Headquartered in Morrisville, NC, FineLine Prototyping opened the doors to North Carolina’s manufacturing landscape for Proto Labs. This initial venture led to the establishment of a 77,000 square foot 3D printing facility in the Raleigh area in 2016.

The strategic location of the new facility speaks volumes about Proto Labs’ forward-thinking approach. The state’s manufacturing landscape, particularly in metal 3D printing, has experienced significant growth and evolution thanks to the US government’s efforts to bolster the defense industrial base. Notably, companies like IperionX and Boom Supersonic have made substantial strides in the development and production of advanced materials and engines for both defense and commercial applications.

Proto Labs’ focus on powder bed fusion (PBF) further highlights the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of metal 3D printing. With a fleet of GE machines already in operation at its existing facilities, it is safe to assume that the new North Carolina facility will also be equipped with the same top-of-the-line technology. This reflects Proto Labs’ dedication to providing customers with high-quality parts and expanding its capabilities for increased production volumes.

During a recent earnings call, Proto Labs CEO Rob Bodor emphasized the company’s strategy of offering longer lead times and lower prices. This approach, combined with the integration of metal 3D printing into its operations, positions Proto Labs for substantial growth in the coming years. The new North Carolina facility plays a crucial role in executing this strategy and has the potential to elevate US capabilities in high-volume metal 3D printing.

Beyond its immediate impact on the manufacturing sector, Proto Labs’ expansion in North Carolina carries long-term significance. The region’s central location along eastern seaboard supply chains and the support from both North and South Carolina are crucial factors in President Biden’s infrastructure push. As the nation works towards the production of materials for electric vehicle batteries and strives for net-zero emissions, the Carolinas emerge as a vital hub for advanced manufacturing.

Proto Labs’ investment in North Carolina is not only indicative of the company’s dedication to innovation but also its belief in the region’s potential as a thriving advanced manufacturing cluster. The new facility, slated to be operational later this year, will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of the defense sector and pave the way for transformative advancements in various industries.

As Proto Labs continues to push the boundaries of metal additive manufacturing, it is worth staying updated on the latest news and developments in the 3D printing industry. With exciting possibilities on the horizon and the potential for groundbreaking partnerships, this is an exciting time to be part of the rapidly evolving world of additive manufacturing.

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