UPDATED — Proto Labs Inc. is investing $25 million to open a new production facility for additive manufacturing services in Cary, N.C., that will create 170 new jobs in the next five years, according to a news release from Gov. Pat McCrory.
The Maple Plain, Minn.-based injection molder, which specializes in custom and short-run production, entered the 3-D printing market with the purchase of FineLine Prototyping Inc., of Raleigh N.C., in April 2014.
FineLine, which now runs under the Proto Labs umbrella, does such things as direct metal laser sintering, selective laser sintering and stereolithography. The company has 106 employees in North Carolina.
“Since the launch of 3-D printing at Proto Labs, we've increased our capabilities here in the U.S and we've also introduced our additive manufacturing services in Europe,” said Rob Connelly, Proto Labs' vice president of additive manufacturing, in a news release.
He also noted that the new facility will be “a critical driver in advancing 3-D printing in the U.S. and globally.”
The company has a strong additive manufacturing team in North Carolina, according to Proto Labs CFO John Way, and that's why the firm did an extensive search in that area to find a facility.
Way said there is an agreement in principal to acquire the new facility, but have not closed the transaction yet. The company currently leases two buildings totaling about 20,000 square feet in Raleigh.
Way said in an email that the additive manufacturing business grew 79 percent in the first quarter of 2015, so they expecting growth in the future.
The project was helped by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $150,000. The fund provides financial assistance to projects that will stimulate economic activity and create jobs.
Proto Labs, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, last year expanded in Plymouth, Minn. The company also has facilities in Rosemount, Minn.; Yamato-Shi, Japan; and Telford, England.