3D Hubs is now Hubs - custom parts manufacturing for engineers worldwide
Hubs and Protolabs join forces to create the world’s most comprehensive manufacturing portfolio
Written by Bram de Zwart, Brian Garret & Filemon Schöffer
Big news! Today marks the beginning of a new phase at Hubs. We're excited to announce Hubs has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Protolabs, the world’s fastest manufacturing service for custom parts. By joining forces with Protolabs, we will be even better positioned to provide you with the best combination of price, speed and quality for your parts.
In the near term, both companies will continue to operate independently, while working together to develop a robust integration plan that will allow us to best serve our customers.
The largest transaction ever in digital manufacturing
By combining the offerings of Hubs and Protolabs, we’re giving our combined user base access to increased design complexity, tighter tolerances, additional finishing options, more materials, and broader range of pricing and lead-time options.
It is this ambition, to create the world’s most comprehensive manufacturing offering, which has led to the acquisition, the largest transaction ever in online manufacturing.
One of the quick synergy wins you can expect as a Hubs user is faster lead times, made possible by Protolabs-owned manufacturing facilities that are fully automated and use a digitally-enabled manufacturing workflow to produce parts at industry-leading speeds.
Further down the line, we plan to significantly upgrade our injection molding service, leveraging Protolabs’ proprietary digital approach to injection molding and 20 years of experience in various molding technologies.
In turn, Hubs will broaden Protolabs’ range of manufacturing capabilities through its network of 240 premium manufacturing partners across 20 countries. Thanks to Hubs, Protolabs will be able to more competitively offer larger order quantities, and a broader selection of materials and finishes.
Our network of Manufacturing Partners across the world will benefit significantly as well by receiving orders from a broader set of customers. We expect more demand for production runs, which are typically less time-sensitive and a complementary fit with Protolabs' short lead times. Our network will play a critical role in expanding the services offered to the combined customer base.
Read more about the acquisition agreement in the press release.
A note from the founders
As founders of Hubs, our mission has always been to make automated and distributed manufacturing a reality for all engineering businesses out there. We are confident that teaming up with Protolabs enables us to achieve this goal.
Protolabs, the global pioneer in manufacturing automation and Hubs, the world's most distributed manufacturing network, together will be able to support you better than ever before, allowing you to innovate and bring new products to the market faster.
Finally, we’d also like to use this opportunity for a few shout-outs.
First of all, we want to thank our amazing, diverse and vibrant group of employees past and present, who created the culture that allowed this company to flourish. We are proud to have built a company that combines a strong culture with high performance and we’ll continue to build on this legacy as we move forward.
Thanks to our customers who have been with us as we’ve grown our offering and developed our services over the last 8 years. Thank you to our investors - including Balderton Capital, EQT Ventures, Endeit Capital, Hearst Ventures, DOEN Participaties, Future Shape, and Rockstart - for believing in our vision, their financial support, and expertise on more subjects that we could list here.
And thanks, of course, to our Manufacturing Partners that were able to adapt with us and support our customers through increasing levels of demand over the past years.
We’re looking forward to taking you all on the next stage of this incredible journey!
Bram, Brian, Filemon
Why did Hubs get acquired by Protolabs?
Our mission has always been to drive the future of automated and distributed manufacturing and through this empower engineers to create revolutionary products.
Protolabs being the global pioneer in manufacturing automation, and Hubs being the world's most distributed manufacturing network, we believe that joining forces will allow us to realize that mission and better support our customers as they seek to innovate and bring new products to market faster than ever before.
Who is Protolabs?
Protolabs is the world's fastest manufacturing service for custom parts and is known for being one of the first companies to pioneer digital manufacturing. Similarly to Hubs, Protolabs is an online manufacturing platform offering a number of manufacturing services, including 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication and injection molding. Protolabs specializes in rapid manufacturing of low-volume custom parts for prototyping and short-run production, offering lead times as fast as 1 day.
Protolabs’ headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Maple Plain, Minnesota, as well as Raleigh, NC and Nashua, NH. The company also has manufacturing facilities in England, Germany, and Japan.
How am I affected as a Hubs customer?
Initially, Hubs will continue operating as usual so nothing will change for our customers. By joining forces with Protolabs we offer our customers a number of benefits including:
- Faster lead times: We will be adding faster lead times (from 1-day) to our platform in the future.
- A bigger and better offering: We will significantly expand our injection molding offering in the near future as well as our capabilities overall. We will also be able to expand our certifications to include AS9100 for CNC machining, 3D printing, and sheet metal fabrication.
How will this affect the available lead times?
In addition to all previous lead time options still being available, we will be working with Protolabs to add faster lead times (as fast as 1 day) to our platform.
How will this affect the available services and capabilities (offering)?
Our current service offering will remain the same and even grow as we work with Protolabs’ expertise to expand our injection molding capabilities, amongst others.
Will I still be able to use my current Hubs account?
Yes, your account will be unchanged and you should continue to use it for placing orders.
Where do I go to upload my parts / place and order / request a quote?
If you are a Hubs customer, you should continue to use the Hubs platform, as you have in the past.
What is going to happen to the platform and quote builder, given that both companies have an online platform?
We will continue to work on improving the user experience on our current online platform. You will be able to continue to place and manage orders as before.
What do I do if I am a customer of both Hubs and Protolabs?
If you have an account with both Hubs and Protolabs, nothing changes for you. You can continue to use both platforms as before.
Will pricing change?
Our pricing will not change and any quotes you currently have saved will be unaffected by the acquisition. As always, make sure you save your quote to lock in the price for 30 days.
Longer term, by joining forces with Protolabs and expanding our supply chain and capabilities we will be able to offer you the best price, quality and lead times in the market.
Will billing and invoicing be affected?
No, all billing processes will remain the same and you will continue to receive your invoices from Hubs.
What happens to quotes I have already requested or orders I have already placed?
Any pending quotes or orders within the platform will remain unaffected.
Will I still have the same account manager?
Yes, you will continue to have a Hubs account manager. Any changes will be communicated to you directly with plenty of notice.
Who will be responsible for the production and delivery of my order?
Hubs will remain responsible for all aspects of any order placed on the Hubs platform.
Who do I contact for disputes or other customer support issues?
All customer support requests related to an existing order should be sent to email@example.com, or if you have a Project Manager, please contact them via your usual means.
Will the acquisition affect where parts will be manufactured?
We will continue to work with our current network of suppliers, based in the US, Europe, Mexico, India and China.
When will Hubs and Protolabs be completely merged?
In the near term, both companies will continue to operate independently, while working together to develop a robust integration plan that will allow us to best serve our customers
Who should I contact if I have further questions on the acquisition?
We hope that this FAQ covers any pressing questions you may have and we will continue to be proactive in communicating to customers any changes that directly affect them.
If you still have questions regarding the acquisition you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org