Protolabs Brooklyn Park Move Expected to Bring 140 New Jobs
Over the last two months, 3,100 manufacturing jobs have been added in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. And more manufacturing jobs are coming to Brooklyn Park with the expansion of Protolabs.
The move is expected to bring 140 new jobs to Brooklyn Park over the next few years.
At the Maple Plain headquarters of Protolabs, there’s a display full of parts made by the digital manufacturing company.
“This, for example, is a liquid silicone rubber part that we made using an optical liquid silicone, which is used for automotive lenses,” explains Rob Bodor, Protolab’s vice president and general manager for the Americas.
If you drive a car, use a computer, or visit the doctor’s office, chances are you’ve come into contact with a product made by Protolabs.
“We’re a contract manufacturer. So we manufacture parts on behalf of our customers,” said Bodor.
Rapid Growth at Protolabs
With 2,300 employees worldwide, Protolabs serves a broad range of industries from medical device and consumer products to automotive and aerospace.
It’s a rapidly growing company in part because Protolabs automated the front end of the manufacturing design process.
“We always start with a digital file, a CAD file, that defines the 3D shape and geometry of the parts that our customers want made,” said Bodor.
That saves money and time when it comes to manufacturing processes such as CNC machining, injection molding, and 3D printing.
“They’re driving more experimentation, in terms of different kinds of products that people are trying to test before they launch,” said Bodor.
Growth is fueling expansion, which means Protolabs will move into and add onto an existing building near 85th and Wyoming Avenues in Brooklyn Park.
“This is definitely good news to have this in Brooklyn Park because not only is it activating a building, it’s also expanding the buiding,” said Brooklyn Park Economic Development and Housing Director Erik Hansen.
The move into Brooklyn Park will relocate 225 jobs from Protolabs current facility in Plymouth. That move will allow the Plymouth facility to expand its injection molding operations.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Park location will be geared toward expanding CNC machining operations and 140 jobs are expected to be added over the next few years.
“The wage range is somewhere between the mid-teens, like $15, all the way up to $65 an hour,” said Hansen. “We like to see that diversity in the job mix, so that there’s a career ladder.”
Protolabs is receiving $850,000 in state aid to expand into Brooklyn Park. The move should be complete by the end of 2018.