October 2019                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Back to press page



Polypropylene testable part

World-leading digital manufacturer Protolabs is excited to announce the launch of polypropylene 3D printing in Europe. The development of the new material for selective laser sintering allows design engineers to develop and test prototypes rapidly. It also allows for complex designs that were previously impossible in this material using injection moulding or CNC machining.

Says Andrea Landoni, 3D printing product manager for Protolabs: “Polypropylene is one of the most used plastics available to modern manufacturers and is widely used for a number of applications. Until recently you could only use 3D printed polypropylene-like materials that mimicked this plastic, but they did not have all of the same properties and were not as durable.”

“Now that we can cost effectively produce a prototype in polypropylene, design engineers can develop and test it in an application using the same material that it will be manufactured from. The product design can then be quickly reiterated and retested until they have the perfect solution, before they commit to tooling.”

“This breakthrough truly takes product development to the next level using this most versatile of plastics.”

3D printing polypropylene also opens up a whole host of designs with complex geometries that were previously impossible, such as honeycomb structures to reduce weight or organic shapes such as internal channels. 

Continues Landoni, “Before if you wanted to use polypropylene then you were limited in what you could design by the manufacturing technology available to you. Now the only limitation is your imagination.

“There are many times however, when the best solution for a manufacturer may be to produce polypropylene parts using injection moulding or CNC machining. We can give you unbiased advice on which is best to use because we offer all three manufacturing technologies.”

Moreover, with all three technologies available, Protolabs can help a manufacturer through the complete product development cycle. From initial prototype to checking that the final design is suitable for mass manufacture using its Design for Manufacture Analysis software - which is available for its injection moulding and CNC services.  

As the world’s fastest digital manufacturing resource, they can also offer on-demand production using bridge tooling for injection moulding while the manufacturer waits for their full production moulds.

Concludes Landoni, “In an age where speed to market really counts, Protolabs can cut down the lead time for a new product or part from initial concept right through to final manufacture.  With this new service we can help manufacturers get new polypropylene products to market weeks or even months earlier than before.”



Protolabs is the world's fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. The technology-enabled company uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining and injection moulding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for product designers and engineers worldwide.


  • An automated quoting system and proprietary software translate digital 3D CAD models into instructions for high-speed manufacturing equipment. The result is parts that are shipped in 1 to 15 working days.
  • The company is anchored by three flagship services: injection moulding, CNC machining and 3D printing (additive manufacturing).
  • Injection moulding is used for quick-turn prototyping, bridge tooling and low-volume production of up to 10,000+ parts. More than 100 thermoplastics resins, metal and liquid silicone rubber are offered.
  • Protolabs uses three and five-axis milling and turning to machine engineering-grade plastic and metal prototypes and functional end-use parts in quantities of less than 200.
  • Additive manufacturing employs advanced 3D printing technologies that can create extremely accurate prototypes with complex geometries. Additive parts are built by stereolithography, selective laser sintering, Multi Jet Fusion, PolyJet and direct metal laser sintering processes, and in a range a plastics and metals.

For more information, please contact:

Matt Hatch, Communications Manager, Europe
E: [email protected] 
D: +44 (0) 1952 683540