Proto Labs to make largest ever investment, expanding 3D printing business

Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) has announced a €4 million investment in new manufacturing technology and upgrades to their facilities.

The news follows last week’s announcement that the rapid prototyping and on-demand manufacturer made record revenues for the second quarter of 2017.

Proto Labs most recent financial results show that the company generated $82.0 million in revenue. This was a 9.4% for the same quarter in 2016.

Direct Metal Laser Sintering. Photo via Proto Labs.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering. Photo via Proto Labs.

Increased need for on-demand manufacturing

The  €4 million investment will be spent primarily at the company’s site in Telford, UK. As Proto Labs explain the investment is in response to an increase in demand for their services. Recently Proto Labs has announced capital expenditure and investment in Haas CNC machines and ARBURG injection moulding machines.

Lee Ball Proto Labs General Manager in the UK explains, “Proto Labs offers a supremely fast and reliable service.”

“Because customers today across all industries require fast turnaround, especially in product development. Our continuous investment allows us to meet the ever growing needs of our thousands of customers across all industries.”

The recent purchase of machinery brings the UK total’s to 130 CNC machining and 57 injection moulding machines. Ball says, “We are seeing demand for moulded parts increase across the board year-over-year, from both longstanding and new customers, for a range of products and industries. To meet predicted levels of growth, a critical leverage is this investment in new technology.”

Expanding applications for 3D printing

In a previous call with investors Vicki Holt, Proto Labs’ President and CEO, explained how some customers were switching from subtractive manufacturing techniques, such as CNC, to additive manufacturing.

Vicki Holt, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Vicki Holt, President and Chief Executive Officer.

The increase in capacity is necessary to meet an increase in orders. According to Daniel Cohn, Managing Director of the 3D printing business Proto Labs GmbH in Feldkirchen, Germany this is coming from, “more customers, across varied industry sectors, now realising the extensive possibilities to prototype parts with complex geometries cost-effectively using 3D printing technology. For certain parts, the only possible option is to manufacture using this technology.”

Cohn gives further information saying, “For example, our Eschenlohe facility is certified with EN ISO 13485:2012 quality management standards. For customers, they benefit from our technical capabilities to manufacture specific medical devices using 3D printing DMLS technology, including parts approved for human implantation.”

As well as adding new machinery, Proto Labs are also planning to increase the size of their premises. “Additional space will be required within the next 18 to 24 months to accommodate our projected level of growth, both to our office space and manufacturing capacity,” explains Ball. Proto Labs will also expand the company’s German facilities at Eschenlohe and Feldkirchen.

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Featured image shows Proto Labs manufacturing facility. Image via Proto Labs.