Proto Labs

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Proto Labs
Formerly called
The ProtoMold Company
Founded 1999
Founder Larry Lukis
Headquarters Maple Plain, MN, United States
Area served
USA, England, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Italy
Key people
Larry Lukis
Vicki Holt, CEO
Products Injection-molded parts for printers
Revenue $200 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
1000 (2014)[1]

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.[2][3][4][5][6][7] Markets like medical devices, electronics, appliances, automotive and consumer products use these parts.[6][7][8] Proto Labs' headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Maple Plain, Minnesota.[2][4][9][10] The company also has a fully operational manufacturing facility in England and Japan.[2][4]


In 1999, Larry Lukis founded the Protomold Company, Inc., that specialized in the quick-turn manufacture of custom plastic injection molded parts.[3][6] Protomold was recognized for its small batch molded parts and rush orders.[1] He previously ran ColorSpan, an original equipment manufacturer that produces printers and desktop publishing systems.[3] He was the chief technology officer of Protomold.[3] Later, in 2001, Brad Cleveland joined Protomold as CEO and president.[2][3][10][11]

In 2005, Protomold opened up its first UK plant in Telford, England.[12] Two years later, Protomold Ltd. introduced the Firstcut quick-turn CNC machining service.[13] In 2009, the company combined its Protomold and Firstcut services under its corporate name, Proto Labs Inc.[4] Proto Labs opened a location in Japan to service Japanese design engineers.[4]

In 2009, Firstcut, a service from Proto Labs, made available CNC-machined prototype parts made of aluminum, as well as ABS, nylon, and PEEK.[14] In February 2012, Proto Labs completed its initial public offering of common stock.[15][16]

In 2013, Proto Labs reached $150 million in revenue.[17] In 2014, Proto Labs acquired the North Carolina-based 3-D printing company, FineLine Prototyping Inc. The company also opened a plant in Plymouth, Minnesota.[18][19][20][21]

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.[1]


ProtoQuote and FirstQuote are interactive systems that provide free manufacturability analysis based on the 3D CAD information provided by the customer.[2][5][7] Protomold offers rapid injection molding.[2][5][7][11][22] Molds are manufactured utilizing high-speed CNC machining technologies and parts are molded in most thermoplastic engineering grade resins.[2][5][7][11][22] Parts are ideal for prototyping, bridge tooling and low-volume production.[2][5][7][11][22] Firstcut supports the need for functional prototypes much earlier in the development cycle, where quantities of 1-10 are required.[2][5][7][22] Firstcut delivers prototypes in engineering-grade resins or aluminum, offering real material properties, improved surface finishes and in turn a functional part.[2][5][7][22]

Cool Idea! Program[edit]

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.[23][24][25]


In 2004, the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal named Protomold Inc. to the top of its “Growth 50” list.[26]

In 2010 and 2013, Proto Labs was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.[27]

In June 2012, Larry Lukis and Brad Cleveland won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for their work with Proto Labs, Inc.[28][29]

In 2013 and 2014, Proto Labs was recognized by Forbes in the top 5 of America's Best Small Companies.[30]

In 2015, Proto Labs was recognized as one of the top ranked rapid prototyping vendors in the United States by their customers. [31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Slade, Hollie (15 October 2014). "How Proto Labs Is Building The Factory Of The Future". Forbes. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Proto Labs Ltd Does with the Queen's Award for the second time". Interempresas. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Fast forward prototyping arrives". Plastics Today. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Rapid Injection Molder's Automated Process Creates Strategic Advantages for Clients". Design-2-Part Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Proto Labs". PMW Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Changing Face of Injection Molding". Medical Design. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fashion Meets Function with Proto Labs' Latest Cool Idea! Award Winner". Daily Finance. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "3D Technology Will Be "Printing" Money". Money Show. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Women in Business 2013—Jackie Schneider". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Large Manufacturer of the Year: GNP Company". Minnesota Business Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Affordable Injection Molding Transforms Tinkerers Into Tycoons". Wired. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Proto Labs: Weiter auf Wachstumskurs mit neuer Betriebsstätte". Plasticker. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Adrienne Burke (3 January 2014). "How Proto Labs makes manufacturing in the USA possible for more inventors". Yahoo! Small Business Advisor. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Proto Labs: First Cut mit Prototypenteilen aus Aluminium". Plasticker. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "United States Securities and Exchange Commission - Proto Labs Inc". Nasdaq. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "St. Anthony: Proto Labs learns a long-term lesson". Star Tribune. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  17. ^ Mike Scott (28 May 2014). "Minnesota firm upgrades LSR capabilities". Rubber News. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Sam Black (24 April 2014). "Proto Labs gets into 3-D printing with N.C. acquisition, opens Plymouth plant". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Kevin Mahoney (24 April 2014). "Proto Labs Enters 3-D Printing With $38M Deal". Twin Cities Business. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Ann R. Thryft (13 May 2014). "Proto Labs Buys 3D Printing Service Bureau". Design News. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Dee Depass (25 April 2014). "Proto Labs buys 3-D printing company in Raleigh, opens Plymouth factory". Star Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Proto Labs: Expanding in Europe - Opening a French Sales and Technical Support Office". K-Trade Fair. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  23. ^ Jessica Leber (19 November 2013). "A Phone Charging Device For The Next Billion Turns Heat Into Power". Exist. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Adrienne Burke (8 February 2014). "Proto Labs Gives Entrepreneurs with Cool Ideas a Kickstart". Yahoo! Small Business Advisor. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Rakesh Sharma (18 February 2014). "An Award For Hardware". Forbes. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "The Business Journal names "Growth 50"". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "Proto Labs: Auszeichnung mit dem Queen's Award". Plasticker. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "EY announces winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2012 Upper Midwest Award". EY. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  29. ^ "Proto Labs replaces founder Lukis as chief technology officer". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  30. ^ Karsten Strauss (9 October 2013). "The Winners Circle: America's Best Small Companies". Forbes. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  31. ^ VendOp's Top Rapid Prototyping Vendors of 2015

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]