RS Components (RS), a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), a global omni-channel product and service solutions provider for industrial customers and suppliers, has partnered with world-leading digital manufacturer Protolabs, to deliver unrivalled support for rapid prototyping and low-volume production parts. The service will focus on Protolabs’ industrial 3D printing capabilities, but will also include their CNC machining and injection moulding services.
The move is in line with RS’s commitment to provide innovation for customers, helping them navigate digital transformation and the adoption of Industry 4.0. Design and Manufacturing Solutions sits within a suite alongside services such as calibration, procurement, maintenance and inventory solutions – a broad offering that supports customers in all fields across the industrial sphere, giving them even more choice.
Mike Bray, Group Lead, Innovation, R&D and DesignSpark at Electrocomponents, commented: “In a rapidly evolving engineering space, having access to services that can facilitate the fast provision of prototypes or parts that are suited to a wide variety of applications can provide a real competitive edge. At RS, our mission is to help our customers maximise the opportunities around Industry 4.0, and both educate them on the latest technology innovations and make them accessible. Our partnership with Protolabs supports that mission perfectly.”
Design and Manufacturing Solutions will support engineers, designers, procurement and maintenance professionals, enabling them to reduce downtime, save money and execute iterative design. The solution is a valuable addition for DesignSpark software users, as the designs they create within the software can then be uploaded to Protolabs’ e-commerce platform for quoting, analysis (design for manufacturability) and part production – a seamless and user-friendly process.
Once the parts are ordered, the automated systems employed by Protolabs enable the production of parts in as little as one day, also ensuring the high precision needed for complex designs and functional prototypes. The 3D printing technologies used by Protolabs include Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF), PolyJet (3D printed silicone) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). The parts can be produced in a wide range of plastics and metals.
Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director at Protolabs, Europe added: “As two world-leading service providers for the engineering and industrial sectors, the partnership between Protolabs and RS Components is an exciting one. We’re both committed to driving innovation, championing Industry 4.0. and reliably facilitating the delivery of a fast and high quality service to those who need prototypes or end-use parts, whether that be in the automotive, aerospace, medical, electrical or heavy industry fields.
“The service will be available to UK customers initially. As we develop the partnership we look forward to delivering our digital manufacturing provision to the wider European market.”
To find out more about the RS and DesignSpark Design and Manufacturing solutions, visit https://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=our-services/manufacturing-solutions
About RS Components
RS Components is a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, a global omni-channel provider of product and service solutions for designers, builders and maintainers of industrial equipment and operations. We stock more than 650,000 industrial and electronic products, sourced from over 2,500 leading suppliers, and provide a wide range of product and service solutions to over 1.2 million industrial customers. With operations in 32 countries, we trade through multiple channels and ship c. 60,000 parcels a day.
We support customers across the product life cycle, whether via innovation and technical support at the design phase, improving time to market and productivity at the build phase, or reducing purchasing costs and optimising inventory in the maintenance phase. We offer our customers tailored product and service propositions that are essential for the successful operation of their businesses and help them save time and money.
Electrocomponents plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the year ended 31 March 2021 reported revenue of £2.0 billion. Electrocomponents plc has nine operating brands: RS Components, Allied Electronics & Automation, RS PRO, OKdo, DesignSpark, IESA, Synovos, Needlers and Liscombe.
For more information on RS, please visit the website at https://uk.rs-online.com/web/.
Protolabs is the world-leading 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 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-axis and five-axis indexed 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.