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The Protolabs Network Standard

Quality control

How Protolabs Network controls the quality of your parts

We’ve reinvented cross-docking for quality control

Cross-docking is mostly used to make shipping more efficient. We’ve added a crucial quality control element to our cross-docking process. In addition to extensive quality checks conducted on-site by manufacturing partners, parts of shipments are reassessed by Protolabs Network's source inspectors and/or QC teams at our Amsterdam and Chicago cross-docks when deemed necessary. This applies to many globally sourced orders with an emphasis on critical line items.

Sample size inspection icon
Sample size inspection (ISO-2859)
Visual inspection icon
Visual inspection for cosmetic quality
Dimensional check icon
Dimensional checks with equipment calibrated by ISO 17025 accredited laboratory
FAI icon
FAI (First Article Inspection) with golden samples
Full review icon
Full review of official and requested documentation
Packaging check icon
Packaging checks
Compliance icon
Compliance and standards review
Full review icon
Non-conformity reports and follow-up with manufacturers
All QC systems adhere to ISO 9001:2015 requirements Get our ISO 9001 certificate.

Quality control from design to delivery

To ensure our parts always meet the Protolabs Network Standard, we have in-house and on-site quality control (QC) systems and protocols in place. Every custom part gets checked on site by our manufacturing partners according to our guidelines. Depending on the manufacturing location and the complexity of the order, many parts undergo a second-inspection by Protolabs Network's source inspectors and/or at our cross-docks before delivery.

A photograph of our manufacturing partner's quality inspection
We audit our manufacturing partners

We extensively audit all of our manufacturing partners (MPs) before they can manufacture your parts. All MPs perform in-house quality checks before sending custom parts to our facilities or to their final destinations. We have teams responsible for regular audits across the supplier network, to ensure that every MP is consistently following our standards for production as well as QC.

Photograph of our on-site team in China
We do on-site quality control on a global scale

Alongside our cross-docks in Amsterdam and Chicago, we also have teams actively performing quality checks across the manufacturing network. Our on-site teams in China and India (with more on the way) inspect all outgoing orders, following our comprehensive quality guidelines. If you’d like to receive a full QC report, you can request one when you order your custom parts.

Image of an on-site quality control
We take on your manufacturing risks

One of the reasons engineers use Protolabs Network is that we take on all the risks for you. If your parts aren’t up to spec, you can file a dispute claim and we’ll remake your components or refund your order. For more detail on how we handle disputes, you can contact our Customer Success Team at

Meet the quality control experts

We have a dedicated team of quality control engineers and support staff at our cross-docks in Amsterdam and Chicago and on-site in China and India. These QC teams make sure that all of Protolabs Network's processes run smoothly and efficiently, from quote to production to final delivery.

"I make sure that our quality management systems are aligned to deliver for customers, and to make sure that we meet both internal and external standards as well as regulatory requirements."

Vildan, Quality System & Compliance Engineer
Profile picture of Mireia

“Whenever I get a part in that’s not up to spec, I don’t just solve the part issue, I also help update processes with the team so that we don’t run into the same manufacturing problems in the future.”

Mireia, Quality Control Inspector

“As our manufacturing capabilities evolve, we’re always continuing to improve our quality standards to offer customers the assurance of high quality parts.”

Matthew, Quality Control Tech

“I make sure that your parts go through rigorous checks here and with our manufacturing partners, so that all components are up to spec before shipping out to you.”

Allan Liang, Quality Control Inspector

Our cross-docks are equipped to inspect any part

Our cross-docking teams inspect for surface finish quality, threads and gauges, packaging and much more, ensuring your parts meet your exact specifications. To offer the highest grade inspection capabilities, both cross-docks are equipped with state-of-the-art tools.

Equipment we use

  • Micro-Vu (optical measurement machine)

  • Calipers and micrometers

  • Gauge blocks

  • Height gauge

  • Feeler gauge

  • Surface roughness meter

  • Pin gauges

  • Protractors

  • Gloss unit meter

  • RAL/Pantone color charts

  • Granite block inspection table

  • Thread, ring and plug Go/No-Go gauges

Your parts are in good hands with us. Start a production project today.

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