MD&M Show in Minneapolis

Minnesota’s Lt. Governor, Tina Smith, and Proto Labs CEO, Vicki Holt, talk shop.

Proto Labs is at MD&M Minneapolis this week (Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 4-5) in conjunction with Minnesota Medtech Week. Stop by booth #327 to talk with manufacturing experts, learn about newly launched capabilities and, of course, see prototypes and parts in all shapes and sizes made by our 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding services.

We kicked today off with a visit by Lt. Governor of Minnesota, Tina Smith, who met with Proto Labs CEO Vicki Holt to discussed the state of Manufacturing and Proto Labs’ efforts.

At this week’s show, we’re all about speed-to-market and reducing development time, so Proto Labs will be participating in the following two conference sessions:

Tony Holtz.

  • Our technical specialist, Tony Holtz, will be at the Tech Theater stage on Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. talking about prototyping and low-volume production for medical applications. He’ll go in-depth on how to accelerate the development of medical devices and quickly launch products to market.
  • Eric Utley (our expert on everything 3D printing) will also be participating on a panel discussion titled “Going Beyond Prototyping: Accelerating Regulatory Approval and Speed-to-Market” on Nov. 5 from 1 to 1:40 p.m. The group will evaluate common pre-development design failures, how to differentiate prototypes from final products, and tactics to better analyze the composition of prototypes versus final products.

Haven’t registered for the show yet? Enjoy a FREE Exhibit Hall Pass from Proto Labs. Register online and enter promo code: MYPASS

See you there!

TIPS WITH TONY: Using Additive Fillers to Improve Durability

There are hundreds of thermoplastic materials available for injection molding, and various grades provide strength, durability, impact resistance and many other beneficial attributes. By adding compounded fillers to the equation, you can further increase the durability of your parts.

A component molded with glass-filled nylon to improve durability.

Glass-Fiber Filler
Glass is the most commonly used additive in plastics. Glass-filled materials provide a higher level of strength and rigidity to a part versus an unfilled base material. You can adjust the level of glass in a material depending on your needs, but be cautious as glass can affect how a part turns out dimensionally and cosmetically. We typically see 13 percent and 33 percent glass-filled materials, but occasionally it pushes upwards to 45 percent.

Other Additives and Fillers
There more additives than just glass fiber, and many of these are easily compounded by material manufacturers for your specific needs (or they may already have a pre-compounded material that meets your needs). Glass bead, mineral, metal, carbon, glass mica, talk and Teflon are just a few that Proto Labs has worked with in the past. These fillers can improve:

Strength Conductivity
Chemical resistance Impact resistance
Hardness Flame retardancy
UV stability Heat resistance
Stiffness Lubricity

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