If Proto Labs is known for its express service and its capacity to provide workpieces (Firstcut) or injected parts (Protomold) in “the right material” with very high reactivity, the company is sometimes not considered regarding machining as its announced accuracies are about the tenth of a millimetre.
Many companies have now integrated this data into their procurement strategy and use Firstcut as supplier of blanks. Meeting with Mr. Bernard Faure, Head of Proto Labs for France, French speaking countries and the South of Europe.
“With the Firstcut service we can produce parts in 24 hours” explains the director. The company has based its entire business model on its ability to be responsive and the workshops based in Telford in the South of England (45 minutes from Birmingham Airport) can rely on many 3-axis Haas Automation milling machines. Mr. Faure continues: “We are very responsive if you need one single part quickly, but we offer the same speed if you need 15 or 25 different parts within the same timeframe. If necessary we can mobilize dozens of machining centers simultaneously”.
A new market
Displaying a 27% growth in 2012, Proto Labs completes its machines pool continuously to cope with the demand. The market of blank parts that are completed in 4 or 5-axis machining by customers, was clearly not aimed by the company. Mr. Faure says: “We did not really understand because several clients to whom we refused to do some parts because out of our fields of competence still had those produced, yet a little differently, by our Firstcut service. It is that way we discovered that rough machining using our capabilities was much more efficient and cost-effective for them”.
Looking for a new way to realize blanks?
Bernard Faure – Savoie Technolac
18 Allée du Lac Saint André
F 73382 le Bourget du Lac Cedex
Tel + 33 (0) 479 65 46 50 – Fax + 33 (0) 479 65 46 51
In the United Kingdom: [email protected]
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