Apr 27, 2010

Proto Labs Receives The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade, 2010

Telford, UK : In recognition of its engineering innovation, investment in technology and its outstanding success in European markets, Shropshire based Proto Labs Ltd. has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

Proto Labs® is one of the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing manufacturing companies with local branch offices in Germany and France. Since it was founded just five years ago, the company has radically improved the economics and delivery times associated with the production of prototype and low-volume parts for manufacturers. Customers are world-leaders in many different industry sectors, including medical, aerospace, automotive and domestic appliances.

“We are absolutely delighted to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise,” says Proto Labs managing director, Mr. John Tumelty. “This is richly-deserved recognition for the hard work and the dedication of our teams based in the UK, and in our local branch offices in Europe.”

Proto Labs has achieved outstanding commercial success with sustainable year-on-year growth. The company’s innovative services are used by product designers and product development teams who need prototype or low-volume plastic parts delivered quickly and cost effectively.

“For a company working on a new or updated product, time-to-market is critical,” says Mr. Tumelty. “To test and develop a product to the point where it is ready for manufacturing means making working prototypes. The longer this process takes, the higher the development cost and the more likely a competitor will launch their product first. Our services allow design and development engineers, even those with very little or no experience of metal-cutting or plastic injection moulding, to order and receive precise, high-quality parts more simply and faster than ever before.”

Proto Labs offers two services: First Cut® delivers Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machined parts in small quantities of 1-10 units, and Protomold® delivers injection-moulded plastic parts in quantities of 10-10,000+.

“Many of our customers use our services sequentially. For example, they may develop a prototype requiring a few parts made by First Cut for initial testing, and iterative design improvements, then move to injection-moulded parts from a Protomold tool for marketing trials, final testing or production.”

What makes the Proto Labs process particularly innovative is the company’s super-computer cluster and powerful software, both of which are continuously developed in-house. A customer can upload a 3D CAD model of their part to the First Cut or Protomold websites and receive within hours a unique web-based quote, including a detailed manufacturability analysis and an accurate all-in production price. The customer can then place an order in much the same way as purchasing a book from an online retailer. Whichever service the customer uses, the company can ship orders in as little as one day from the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility based in Shropshire.

“In just a few years Proto Labs in Europe has helped thousands of companies,” says Mr. Tumelty. “Receiving this coveted Queen’s Award makes us all very proud of what we have achieved in such a short period of time.”