|The ProtoMold Company|
|Traded as||NYSE: PRLB
S&P 600 Component
|Headquarters||Maple Plain, MN, United States|
|USA, England, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Italy|
Vicki Holt (CEO)
|Products||Injection-molded parts for printers|
|Revenue||$298 million (2016)|
Number of employees
Proto Labs is a company that provides rapid manufacturing of low-volume 3-D printed, CNC-machined and injection-molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. Markets like medical devices, electronics, appliances, automotive and consumer products use these parts. Proto Labs' headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Maple Plain, Minnesota. The company also has manufacturing facilities in England and Japan.
In 1999, Larry Lukis founded the Protomold Company, Inc., that specialized in the quick-turn manufacture of custom plastic injection molded parts. Protomold was recognized for its small batch molded parts and rush orders. He previously ran ColorSpan, an original equipment manufacturer that produces printers and desktop publishing systems. He was the chief technology officer of Protomold. Later, in 2001, Brad Cleveland joined Protomold as CEO and president.
In 2005, Protomold opened up its first UK plant in Telford, England. Two years later, Protomold introduced the Firstcut quick-turn CNC machining service. In 2009, the company combined its Protomold and Firstcut services under its corporate name, Proto Labs Inc., and Proto Labs opened a location in Japan to serve Japanese design engineers.
In 2009, Firstcut, a service from Proto Labs, made available CNC-machined prototype parts made of aluminum, as well as ABS, nylon, and PEEK. In February 2012, Proto Labs completed its initial public offering of common stock.
In 2013, Proto Labs reached $150 million in revenue. In 2014, Proto Labs acquired the North Carolina-based 3-D printing company, FineLine Prototyping Inc. In fall 2016, Proto Labs' 3D printing services moved to a new 77,000 sq. ft. facility in Cary, North Carolina. The company also opened a plant in Plymouth, Minnesota.
In February 2014, Vicki Holt was named CEO. She was hired to help Proto Labs become a billion dollar manufacturing company. Holt is expanding Proto Labs into the medical equipment markets and the lighting industry.
Proto Labs is the world's fastest digital manufacturing source for rapid prototypes and on-demand production parts. The technology-enabled company uses 3D printing, CNC machining, and injection molding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for designers and engineers and an on-demand resource throughout a product’s life cycle.
Product developers can upload a 3D CAD model online and receive an interactive quote with design feedback and pricing information within hours. The manufacturability analysis helps customers eliminate potential problems like sink or walls that are too thin or thick. Once a part design is ready and a quote approved, production of 3D-printed, machined or injection-molded parts begins.
Industrial 3D printing uses additive manufacturing technologies to create extremely accurate and repeatable prototypes, from small parts with complex geometries to large, precise patterns. 3D-printed parts are built by rapid stereolithography, selective laser sintering and direct metal laser sintering processes, and in a range a plastics and metals. Also, now offering PolyJet, which uses a jetting process where small droplets of liquid photopolymer are sprayed from multiple jets onto a build platform and cured layer by layer.
CNC machining works well for smaller quantities of less than 200 parts. Milling and turning processes are used to machine engineering-grade plastic and metal parts for prototyping and production. Machined parts are well-suited for functional testing, jigs and fixtures, and small quantities of production components.
Injection molding is used for on-demand prototyping, bridge tooling, and low-volume production of up to 10,000+ parts. More than 100 thermoplastic and liquid silicone rubber materials are available. In 2016, the company enhanced its injection molding service with the introduction of overmolding and insert molding.
Cool Idea! Program
In 2011, Proto Labs launched the Cool Idea! Award program. It awards a total of up to $250,000 each year in services to entrepreneurs with innovative product ideas in the United States and Europe.
In 2004, the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal named Protomold Inc. to the top of its “Growth 50” list.
In 2010 and 2013, Proto Labs was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
In 2015, Proto Labs was recognized as one of the top-ranked rapid prototyping vendors in the United States by their customers.
In 2016, Workplace Dynamics recognized Proto Labs as a top-ranked workplace in Minnesota 
In 2016, the Minnesota High Tech Association awarded Proto Labs with a Tekne award for its work in advanced manufacturing.
- Injection molding
- 3D Printing
- Milling (machining)
- Additive Manufacturing
- Numerical control
- Computer-aided design
- Digital Manufacturing
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- VendOp's Top Rapid Prototyping Vendors of 2015
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- Injection Molding: New Twists for a Mainstream Technology
- Forbes: "How Proto Labs Is Building The Factory Of The Future"