There’s a distinct theme going on at Proto Labs right now and that’s innovation all the way. Catching up with them at EuroMold, the additive manufacturing provider spoke about its latest developments in Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) and customers can expect in 2015.
“We’ve been offering and selling it for a couple of months but on quite a low scale,” enthused European Managing Director, John Tumelty. “Liquid Silicon Rubber is one of the most brilliant diverse materials ever invented.”
Produced in a similar fashion to injection moulded plastics, LSR possesses thermal chemical and electrical resistance. It is a clear product therefore colour can be added for various applications and it can withstand medical sterilisation.
The material has some really useful properties but traditionally has been quite difficult to produce parts with. Getting the correct tooling can prove tricky as the liquid substance will simply flow out of any gap in the tooling.
Seeing an opening in the market for this type of production, Proto Labs developed its own fine tuned software, Protomold technology that would allow them to analyse part geometry, provide feedback and depending on the complexity of the part, produce parts much faster.
John says that there is definitely a market for this type of technology and since launching there has been a lot of demand and thanks from users who have been in search of a solution like this.
John adds: “So far so good. It’s lovely when you do launch something and find a market for it.”
2015 looks set to be a busy year for Proto Labs with increased awareness of LSR technology and like its famous cube demo, new and innovative ways for users to communicate with products. Watch this space.