Protolabs and RS Components join forces to deliver 3D printing services

The world’s leading digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume parts has joined forces with RS Components, a global omni-channel product and service solutions provider for industrial customers and suppliers.

Telford-based Protolabs will bring its industrial 3D Printing capabilities and expertise in CNC machining and injection moulding services to RS’ customers as part of a comprehensive ‘Design and Manufacturing Solution’ that will improve speed to market and deliver greater flexibility of production.

The partnership deal, which is in line with both organisations’ commitment to service and innovation, will enable engineers, designers and maintenance professionals to execute iterative design through RS’ DesignSpark CAD software before swiftly moving to manufacture parts with Protolabs in accordance with prototyping or functional requirements.

“As two world-leading service providers for the engineering and industrial sectors, the partnership between Protolabs and RS Components is very exciting for the sector,” explained Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director at Protolabs, Europe.

“Our speed and excellence in digital manufacturing, rapidly creating even the most complex parts in a wide range of plastics and metals, means RS Components customers can enjoy a complete start-to-finish service; a broad offering that supports clients in all fields across the industrial sphere, giving them even more choice.

“Digital manufacturing is a valuable addition for DesignSpark software users, as the designs they create within the software can then be uploaded to our e-commerce platform for quoting, analysis (design for manufacturability) and part production – a seamless and user-friendly process.”

Mike Bray, Group Lead, Innovation, R&D and DesignSpark at Electrocomponents, added: “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 customers maximise the opportunities around Industry 4.0, both educating them on the latest technology innovations and making them accessible. Our partnership with Protolabs supports that mission perfectly.”

After using the DesignSpark CAD software and the e-commerce platform, RS customers will then rely on the automated systems employed by Protolabs to enable the production of parts in as little as one day, also ensuring the high precision required for complex designs and functional prototypes.

This includes access to 3D printing technologies such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF), PolyJet (3D printed silicone) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

Klaas concluded: “Initially, the service will be available to UK customers only, but as we develop the partnership with RS Components, we look forward to delivering our digital manufacturing provision to the wider European market.”