Protolabs was founded in 1999 by Larry Lukis, a successful entrepreneur and computer geek who wanted to radically reduce the time it took to get injection-moulded plastic prototype parts. His solution was to automate the traditional manufacturing process by developing complex software that communicated with a network of mills and presses. As a result, plastic and metal parts could be produced in a fraction of the time it had ever taken before.
Over the next decade, we would continue to expand our injection moulding envelope, introduce quick-turn CNC machining, and open global facilities in Europe and Japan.
In 2014, we launched industrial-grade 3D printing services to allow product developers, designers, and engineers an easier path to move from early prototyping to low-volume production.
And in 2017, we acquired Rapid Manufacturing to further expand our machining capabilities and introduce sheet metal fabrication into our suite of services. But that’s not all! Global online manufacturing platform, Hubs, also joined the Protolabs family in early 2021.
Our growth and expansion of capabilities over the past two decades has always been about providing you, our customer, with the best possible digital manufacturing experience in the industry. That continued evolution will never stop, and it’s what helps shape our vision and mission as a company.