Here comes 2021! Most of us are probably ready for the promise a new year brings, this year more than ever…but here at ProtoCAM, we’re always reflecting on what we’ve done in the past to improve upon what we produce for the future; it’s part of our ProtoCAM Distinction and our continuous improvement efforts in accordance with our ISO 9001:2015 certification, so that we’re always offering the best to our customers. So let’s take a look once more at 2020 to reflect back on all the updates, innovations, and more we’ve experienced throughout this year!
Most notably, ProtoCAM endured and innovated when it came to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our operations continued with a strong emphasis the welfare and safety of our associates, customers, and staff by exercising an abundance of caution during the pandemic. We also sought to assist during the pandemic by developing and producing 3D-printed masks and ear savers for helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This equipment was created for use within medical facilities and for others requiring protection, and we adhered to very particular specifications we felt were necessary in order to ensure that the equipment we produced was as safe to use as possible.
Despite the situation with COVID-19, we were still busy introducing important initiatives within our facility. We launched an environmental initiatives program in order to better gather ideas for how to make our facility more environmentally friendly and sustainable. With our environmental initiatives program, ProtoCAM regularly researches and gathers new ideas for how to better facilitate green initiatives within our company, both on a smaller-scale basis in everyday office decisions, and within larger-scale, facility-wide actions.
This year, we launched our instant quoting platform in order to allow our customers and prospective customers to have 24/7 access to our services from any location. Our quoting link now connects users to a central quoting page where they may choose to use either our instant quoting platform or our traditional quoting form (“engineer-assisted quote”). This change allows users to submit an order any time, day or night, and immediately begin the manufacturing process, further enabling them to quickly determine price and receive their parts and prototypes faster than ever.
Alongside our instant quoting launch, we launched a new video series called QuickTips for Instant Quoting that delves into our new instant quoting platform and guides users towards a streamlined experience. The series highlights different areas of the platform, providing information to better assist our customers and prospective customers in placing an order quickly and easily.
We also introduced a new 3D printing process, which increased our technology offerings. Carbon® Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS™) is a breakthrough process that uses digital light projection, oxygen permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to produce parts with exceptional mechanical properties, resolution, and surface finish. This Carbon 3D printing technology allows for the consolidation of parts, impossible geometries, and programmable lattices. The Carbon DLS 3D printing process enables our customers to bring better products to market in less time and make the widest range of real, functional parts.
This year we welcomed several new members to the ProtoCAM team. To our additive manufacturing technician team, we introduced Kyle Lilley; Kyle joined us as an AM Technician in our finishing workshop. Kyle comes from a background in chemical engineering, and also has experience with at-home 3D printing and finishing. Up front with our customer service team, we brought on Jared Schoenlein. Jared joined us as Administrative Assistant in our customer service department. With an extensive background as a sales specialist and coordinator, Jared is our customers’ point of contact for all matters related to customer service and assistance with quotes and projects. Stay tuned for a full profile on Jared in the new year!
As for our longtime team members, our Vice President of Additive Manufacturing received a distinguished and exclusive award this year. Ed Graham was honored with a Distinguished Innovator Operators Award (DINO) award from Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG), which is bestowed upon those with the highest levels of additive manufacturing expertise and a willingness to share that knowledge through contributions to AMUG, its members, and the industry it represents. The DINO Award recognizes individuals for both their contributions and years of experience with additive manufacturing technology; ProtoCAM’s CEO and Owner, Ron Belknap, previously received the award in 2010.
We 3D printed for a good cause again this year by producing 3D printed NFL logos for the Ed Block Courage Awards Foundation, and will also contribute in 2021. Through partnership with the NFL, the Foundation cultivates awareness at each child abuse/at-risk youth facility (labeled Courage Houses) and helps to raise funds for their programs and initiatives.
In 2020, we produced several case studies discussing the products we created for automotive projects and new inventions. We also published a ton of blog posts delving into everything from additive manufacturing’s impact on climate change, to medical advances for veterans and breast cancer patients, to the advanced finishing techniques available at ProtoCAM (check out some examples in our Advanced Finishing Gallery).
Prior to restrictions being put into place, we showcased our products at several events and trade shows this year, which allowed us to reach new markets and customers. We attended trade shows like PACK EXPO East and Plastics in Motion, the latter of which featured a presentation by Ed Graham, our Vice President of Additive Manufacturing on trends in the industry. We also were able to attend a few local events right here in the Lehigh Valley, like the annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing student video awards. Though we were limited in the visitors we had at our facility this year, we love meeting up with all our customers, contacts, and all interested others to show off our latest part and prototype samples, and hope to be able to host more visitors in the new year!
2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but it was also a year filled with global collaborations and innovations in our facility and website, the introduction of new technologies, and the publication of a variety of blog posts, case studies, and other contributions to our learning center, among so many other things. Perhaps most importantly, it was filled with new and unique interactions between the ProtoCAM team, and YOU, our extended ProtoCAM family. Nearly a third of all of our new customers this year came in from referrals by satisfied ProtoCAM customers, and we’re so grateful that our commitment to producing the highest quality products is continuously recognized and passed on to others. Thank you for making our year a great one!
In 2021, we’re looking forward to continuing to offer our customers the latest innovations and technology available and to always be continuously evolving in order to provide unmatched quality, customer service, and delivery. We’re ready to see what’s coming in 2021, and we look forward to sharing it with you, our valued customers!