MAPLE PLAIN, Minn.—Proto Labs Inc., an online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer, recently launched its insert molding service at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing show in Anaheim, California. The new capability expands the company’s rapid injection molding offerings and can produce 25 to 10,000-plus insert-molded parts in 15 days or less, Proto Labs said in a press release.
“We’re delighted to now be delivering a new service that designers and developers have been asking us for,” said Proto Labs CEO Vicki Holt, in the release. “As we help companies large and small accelerate their product development with our digital manufacturing methods, insert molding offers another important tool for these companies to make prototype or end-use parts as quickly as possible.”
Insert molding is the process of over-molding thermoplastic material around a preformed component (an insert) to create a finished part that incorporates multiple materials. The inserts are generally metal parts that are used to reinforce the mechanical properties of the plastic part. The metal inserts are placed into the mold to form the part, Proto Labs said in the release.
A variety of components are manufactured with insert molding, such as electronic parts, medical equipment, housings, knobs, handles and dials. These components are found in several industries, such as medical, automotive, and consumer products. Product designers and engineers frequently turn to insert molding to improve part strength while trimming part weight and reducing assembly costs, production time, and labor.
“With quick-turn insert molding services at Proto Labs, I was able to receive functional prototypes in weeks,” said Chris Mazzucco, design and development engineer at Zebra Technologies, an Illinois-based information technology company that manufactures and sells marking, tracking, and computer printing technologies.