Smart Machines & Factories
Partnership announced to deliver 3D printing services
Published:  08 September, 2021
RS Components (RS) has partnered with digital manufacturer Protolabs

RS Components (RS) has partnered with digital manufacturer Protolabs, to deliver support for rapid prototyping and low-volume production parts. The service will focus on Protolabs’ industrial 3D printing capabilities but will also include their CNC machining and injection moulding services.

RS says the move is in line with its commitment to provide innovation for its customers, helping them navigate digital transformation and the adoption of Industry 4.0. Design and Manufacturing Solutions sits within a suite alongside services such as calibration, procurement, maintenance and inventory solutions – a broad offering that supports customers in all fields across the industrial sphere, giving them even more choice.

Mike Bray, Group lead, innovation, R&D and DesignSpark at Electrocomponents, commented: “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 our customers maximise the opportunities around Industry 4.0, and both educate them on the latest technology innovations and make them accessible. Our partnership with Protolabs supports that mission perfectly.”

Design and Manufacturing Solutions will support engineers, designers, procurement and maintenance professionals, enabling them to reduce downtime, save money and execute iterative design. The solution is a valuable addition for DesignSpark software users, as the designs they create within the software can then be uploaded to Protolabs’ e-commerce platform for quoting, analysis (design for manufacturability) and part production – a seamless and user-friendly process.

Once the parts are ordered, the automated systems employed by Protolabs enable the production of parts in as little as one day, also ensuring the high precision needed for complex designs and functional prototypes. The 3D printing technologies used by Protolabs include Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF), PolyJet (3D printed silicone) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). The parts can be produced in a wide range of plastics and metals.

Bjoern Klaas, vice president and managing director at Protolabs, Europe added: “As two world-leading service providers for the engineering and industrial sectors, the partnership between Protolabs and RS Components is an exciting one. We’re both committed to driving innovation, championing Industry 4.0. and reliably facilitating the delivery of a fast and high quality service to those who need prototypes or end-use parts, whether that be in the automotive, aerospace, medical, electrical or heavy industry fields.

“The service will be available to UK customers initially. As we develop the partnership, we look forward to delivering our digital manufacturing provision to the wider European market.”