Guarantee for new injection moulding tolerance
Source: Protolabs

Protolabs now guarantees tighter tolerances for injection moulding resin. Speed is vital for the company when providing customers with their desired order.

A digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts is helping to make life easier for design engineers by guaranteeing specific dimensional tolerances for each type of plastic injection moulding resin.

After extensive testing at its rapidly growing Telford facility, Protolabs is offering customers a machining tolerance of +/- 0.08 mm with a resin tolerance of between 0.002 mm/mm and 0.010 mm/mm depending on the material.

David Barnes, EMEA Product Manager for injection moulding, commented: “For some applications, such as interference parts, dimensional tolerance is extremely important. Our aim has always been to make the design engineer’s job simpler by providing the right amount of verifiable information.

“This means we can now guarantee the tolerances for all of our 50 stocked resins, and we can advise on the accuracy of the other 1500 that are available to our customers across the world. For the stocked resins, the tolerance will be shown when customers upload their design and select their chosen material as part of our Protoquote system.

“It means that this information becomes part of the design for manufacturability analysis that is typically available within just a couple of hours.”

UV resistance as a consideration for materials

The tolerance of a part is only one consideration when it comes to selecting the right material for injection moulding, with customers also needing to consider other properties such as a requirement to be UV resistant if used in an external environment.

David Barnes continued: “Customer service is vital in our company as we pride ourselves on being the fastest digital manufacturing resource available. Speed is important in today’s market and part of that is getting the design and manufacture of the part right first time.

“Our new resin tolerance guarantee is just one example of our continuous improvement process to make sure that our customers are satisfied with our service and the information that we provide to help them do their job better.

Investments to boost service

“In addition to this, recent investment in our metrology laboratory, with in-house co-ordinate measurement machinery (CMM) and 3D laser scanning technology, enables us to measure and certify parts and prototypes more quickly.”

Protolabs, which works with thousands of product designers and engineers across Europe every year, is building a bespoke 50,000 sq. ft. extension to its Halesfield facility. It will house at least 50 additional CNC machines and a further 20 additional injection moulding presses.

This 5m pound investment will help the company meet growing demand from customers across the automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics and heavy industry sectors for ‘speed to market’. Over the course of the next 2 years, it will also create 60 new high-skilled jobs in Shropshire, the company elaborates.