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Prototypes to production-ready products – on demand

Ed Graham, engineering manager for ProtoCAM, explains how one of the company’s machines performs 3-D printing functions. - (Photo / Brian Pedersen)

Riding a rising tide of technological advancements, one Lehigh County manufacturer is capitalizing on its abilities to change the ways products are made.

Riding a rising tide of technological advancements, one Lehigh County manufacturer is capitalizing on its abilities to change the ways products are made.

Though a fire destroyed its Allen Township plant in 2013, ProtoCAM – a provider of additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping services – has not slowed.

Recently, for example, the manufacturer showcased its newest facility with an open house that featured tours of its Upper Macungie Township site on Grant Way. The day included demonstrations of its industrial 3-D printing services and machines that perform rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing — technologies that are quickly changing the manufacturing world.

Thanks to the fast-evolving science of additive manufacturing, engineers can build 3-D objects using machines that add layers of material until the product is completed.

The process allows companies to automate production, generate faster product-turnaround times and grow their business at a fraction of the cost of farming out the work to another company or bringing the high-priced machinists needed to create such a product the traditional way.

With this technology, manufacturers can create products on the spot. And because the process is so fast, customers can order only what they need, keeping down overhead.

ProtoCAM designs products not just as prototypes but those that are production-ready and can be used immediately.

“This is the next industrial revolution,” said Ronald Belknap, president and CEO of ProtoCAM.

The technology is becoming more widespread as industries – from health care to architecture – are beginning to realize the potential of 3-D printing and additive manufacturing.

“You are going to find out that your young designers are going to incorporate this technology from day one,” Belknap said. “They’ll design the products using this technology. It will change the way designers think.”

Brian Pedersen
Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at [email protected] or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108.

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