The New Proto3000 Facility
This blog post has been a long time coming. Our move happened back in March, but as we look back on 2016 I think it is important to tell this story.
A Little History
I first started at Proto3000 back in the spring of 2011. I was young, fresh out of school, and eager to prove myself in the professional world. When I first arrived for my interview I walked into a relatively barren space. There were a couple of 3D printers and a handful of employees but that was about it. When I spoke to one of the owners he told me that they had just recently moved into this new office and he briefly touched on some of the plans to truly grow into the space. I took his word for it, and took the job, little did I know that I was in for an unbelievable ride. The next few years were filled with rapid evolutions in the industry. New products came to life, we added plenty of staff, there were mergers and acquisitions, and throughout it all, we continued to grow and evolve. We first took an available upstairs suite to accommodate our new hire and significantly expanded our boardroom to host the countless people that came by for a visit.
We then made some changes downstairs so that we had enough room to bring in the equipment we required to continue to deliver our 3D printed parts to customers. Over the course of the next couple of years, we continued to expand our capacity and capability all the while the industry made headlines and awareness had never been higher. We went from 3D printing mostly rapid prototypes to now low-volume manufacturing and other manufacturing aids. The secret was out, 3D printing can make a big difference to a company’s product development and manufacturing workflows.
2015 was a breakthrough year for us, we had never been busier and progressed rapidly beyond what we thought we would in such a short time. We hired more design staff and reached a critical point where we were unable to grow anymore in the space we had. So the quest began to find a new facility that would be able to address our growing needs and provide the high quality of service we had engrained in our business model. Over the course of the year we explored many different options but only one stood out to us as the perfect spot. It was a shell and we had the ability to customize it to fit our needs precisely. In our old facility we were constantly faced with obstacles in operations. We now had the ability to create fail safes and backup systems for uninterrupted production. When your customers are on a tight deadline you have to be able to deliver and we made sure that with this new facility we always would. We designed a lunchroom that could fit all of us, as well as massive production area to house our every growing fleet of professional 3D printers. The excitement was building, as the year came to an end it finally hit home that we would be moving to our new home.
The new facility was starting to come to life, there were a few delays as can be expected but everything seemed to be moving smoothly. It was a tricky operation as it was our first big move but with the help of all of our staff we got the ball rolling. We did not want to interrupt our usual production so we made sure to move all of the equipment on the weekend to make sure our customer projects were still completed on schedule. March 4th was a day that will go down in our history as the big move. Over the course of that weekend we packed up our desks and setup our new space. It was sad to leave the place that was instrumental in building our business but it was incredibly exciting moving into our new space with so much more room.
Having everything designed to suit our needs was awesome. We finally had shipping and receiving doors which was going to make packing for trade shows so much easier! We had blue accents all around the office highlighting our brand and we had plenty of space for our 3D printing and 3D scanning equipment. We added a Stratasys J750 to our arsenal as well as a few other PolyJet and FDM machines to keep up with our capacity needs. It took a couple of months to really settle down and have a place for everything but even till this day our facility is constantly evolving with new equipment and changes.
The Grand Opening
Our Grand Opening happened a few months later on June 16th. After a few stressful months of planning and executing on the smallest details we finally had a day to kick back and relax with some of our clients and members of our community. The event ran smoothly and everyone had a great time. It was a big milestone for the City of Vaughan as we were the first facility of its kind in the area focused on advanced manufacturing. The Mayor even made an appearance to help cut the ribbon.
A facility is like an organism, it constantly evolves and adapts to the needs of the business. After our grand opening, we made sure to execute on our plans to push the additive manufacturing industry forward in Canada. We set out to focus on quality and that’s exactly what we did. We achieved our ISO 9001:2008 quality designation and brought in state of the art finishing equipment to ensure that any 3D printed part exceeds the expectations and needs of our clients. We now have top of the line metrology equipment for inspection and reverse engineering, once again ensuring we have the tools to guarantee quality. As we continue to grow we will continue to add equipment and processes for our customer's applications (Just a few weeks ago we added a second J750). Additive Manufacturing and 3D scanning are slowly becoming integral to product development and manufacturing. With the world shifting to localized production and supply chain consolidation we are committed to helping companies evolve and adapt. Can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring to the table.