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Protolabs’ New Metrology Laboratory Extends Its Measurement and Inspection Services

Metrology Lab | Protolabs

With increasing customer demand for faster measurement and certification of prototypes and parts, Protolabs has announced the opening of its new metrology laboratory. The investment by Protolabs – the world’s fast source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts – includes co-ordinate measurement machinery (CMM) and 3D laser scanning technology. The laboratory is an extension to the company’s in-house Secondary Services.

Stephen Dyson, Special Operations Manager for Protolabs Europe, commented: “We are finding that a number of quality control procedures are being passed down the supply chain so that manufacturers need to produce reports validating the parts that they produce.  It’s also important for prototype development to ensure that an initial design is produced within the tolerances required for in situ testing.”

The detailed measurement available from CMM and other technology has always been available from Protolabs, but by investing in its own metrology laboratory it can now measure, inspect and produce reports even more quickly than before.

Protolabs’ CMM accurately calculates the physical geometry of an object by using a probe to measure a series of different points on its surface in the X, Y and Z axes. It has a volumetric accuracy of (2.1 + 0.4L/100) µm.

“We are finding that a number of quality control procedures are being passed down the supply chain so that manufacturers need to produce reports validating the parts that they produce.”

For detailed visual inspection, the company’s 3D laser scanning can produce a 3D colour map image of a part that you can compare to the original CAD diagram using GOM inspect software.  It is accurate to 0.01mm and has a scan rate of 320,000 measures per second.

These new in-house services are in addition to physical dimension checks using pin, block, thread, depth and height gauges and digital callipers.

Using this equipment Protolabs can offer its customers quality inspection and detailed measurement reports and documentation for ISIR, FAIR, PPAP and EMPB.

Continues Dyson, “Quality control through accurate measurement and reporting is vital to reassure customers and even their customers, but this is only the final step in the process.  Quality control starts from the initial CAD design, after all if you get this wrong then all you are doing is accurately measuring errors. 

“That’s why we work with customers through the entire process from design for manufacturability analysis, redesign or tweaks if they are needed, through to the final measurement and inspection of the prototype or part.”

To find out more about Protolabs’ measurement and inspection for 3D printing, injection moulding and CNC machining visit Secondary Services



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