News RoundUp: Protolabs, Optomec, Wematter


This series of news round-up gathers the latest news on acquisition of new equipment and companies that increase their manufacturing capacity.

Protolabs opens second Additive Manufacturing Facility in North Carolina

Global digital manufacturing company, Protolabs, has signed an occupancy agreement to expand its additive manufacturing footprint in the Raleigh, N.C., area.

Breaking ground later this month, the second location will add 120,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing capacity to its current facility located nearby in Morrisville, N.C. The additional location is in response to growing demand for Protolabs’ 3D printing services.

We have experienced strong growth in our 3D printing services as more of our customers expand their applications that use additive manufacturing for both prototyping and production,” Mike Kenison, Protolabs general manager and vice president of Americas, said. “The Raleigh community has provided a great home for our additive headquarters, and we look forward to growing our presence in the years ahead.”

Protolabs worked with Capital Associates, a Raleigh-based real estate company, to facilitate the development of the manufacturing facility. Capital Associates will serve as owner of the property, and Protolabs expects to occupy the location by late 2022.

Optomec Delivers $1 Million Metal Additive System for Production Repair of Turbines

Optomec delivers a multi-functional Additive Manufacturing (AM) machine to a leading supplier to the $37 billion worldwide aviation engine Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) market. The user is an existing customer with more than 5 Optomec Metal Additive systems being used in production to repair a range of turbine components from aircraft engines, as well as industrial gas turbines.

The new machine combines two turbine repair process operations that are typically done manually, not only reducing the cost of engine overhauls, but also improving the quality and consistency of these flight-critical procedures.

Optomec’s proprietary process uses a combination of advanced machine vision, adaptive software, on-the-fly laser power adjustment and automation to precisely add metal to worn engine components, restoring them to the geometric specifications set by the original turbine engine manufacturers.

A single machine has the capacity to repair 10,000s of turbine blades annually, and together Optomec users having performed production repairs on more than 10 million components over time.

The company’s Metal Additive repair solutions are currently used in high volume production in approximately 100 MRO installations worldwide.

Linköping University opts for Wematter’s Gravity ecosystem to debut in AM

Wematter continues its expansion in the education sector by signing an agreement with Linköping University (LiU).The announcement follows the company’s agreement with Berzeliusskolan high school in Linköping (Sweden)to help students access SLS 3D printing.

In this case as well, the university’s students will have access to Wematter’s SLS 3D printer Gravity along with associated equipment and software.

The purpose of the University’s investment is to expand opportunities for manufacturing methods in various engineering disciplines. In addition, the University sees an opportunity to carry out research into 3D printing polymers and composite materials. Wematter is looking forward to a long-term and fruitful collaboration, where the parties can jointly explore and advance the development of additive manufacturing.

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