Protolabs speeds forward with £5m expansion and 60 new jobs

A Midlands-based digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts has released investment on a £5m expansion plan at its European Headquarters in Telford.

Protolabs, which works with thousands of product designers and engineers across Europe every year, is building a bespoke 50,000 sq. ft. extension to its Halesfield facility. It will house at least 50 additional CNC machines and a further 20 additional injection moulding presses.

This investment will help the company meet growing demand from clients across the automotive, aerospace, medical, electronics and heavy industry sectors for ‘speed to market’. Over the course of the next 2 years, it will also create 60 new high-skilled jobs in Shropshire.

Construction work has already begun with the foundations now in place, with the project set to be completed and the new space operational by early 2020.

Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director of Protolabs Europe, commented: “The focus now, more than ever, is on speed and making sure new products and components are either first to market or ready when the end customer needs them.

“We are ideally set-up to meet this requirement, with a combination of our design and analysis team, bespoke production software and, once the expansion is complete, around 300 CNC milling, CNC turning and plastic injection moulding sampling and production machines at our disposal.

“Then we have our state-of-the-art 3D printing facility in Germany – all of this gives us the capacity to turn jobs around in as fast as one day.”

He continued: “Despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we are confident that our recent growth will continue and the expansion of our factory gives us an additional 16% capacity and, importantly, the level of technology we need to help us reach our five-year target.

“At the moment, we employ over 440 people in Telford and we expect to reach more than 500 employees between now and the end of 2021. We are actively seeking people with the right skills that fit the Protolabs culture.”