Proto Labs, a manufacturer of customized industrial products, No. 126 in the B2B E-Commerce 300, has paid $120 million in cash and stock for Rapid Manufacturing.

Proto Labs, a provider of custom manufacturing that describes itself as an “e-commerce driven digital manufacturer,” has just added to that profile with the acquisition of Rapid Manufacturing.


Proto Labs and Rapid have a very similar purpose and mission, which is to help our customers get their ideas to market faster through rapid services.
Jay Jacobs
Founder of Rapid Manufacturing

Proto Labs, No. 126 in the B2B E-Commerce 300, completed its $120 million acquisition of Rapid on Nov. 30. Rapid employs about 300 people and is expected to record about $45 million in revenue this year. Proto Labs says the acquisition—for which it paid $110 million in cash and $10 million in stock—will bring Proto Labs’ total workforce to about 2,000.

Nashua, N.H.-based Rapid specializes in CNC, or computer numerical control, a custom manufacturing process by which machining or milling tools operate via computer programming to fashion a customized product. CNC is one of Proto Labs’ core manufacturing processes, and Rapid will expand its capabilities in product size and other criteria, Proto Labs said during a presentation to stock analysts yesterday. Both companies serve customers in the automotive, medical, aerospace and other industries.

Jay Jacobs, founder, Rapid Manufacturing


Rapid lets customers on download an online “eRapid” tool to get price quotes and place orders for machined products designed with Solidworks computer-aided design, or CAD, software. The eRapid tool works as a plug-in to the Solidworks software program. “Culturally, Proto Labs and Rapid have a very similar purpose and mission, which is to help our customers get their ideas to market faster through rapid services,” says Jay Jacobs, Rapid’s founder and CEO. “We are excited to be joining forces with a leader in digital manufacturing.” Rapid has been rebranded as “Rapid, a Proto Labs company.”

Proto Labs provides several types of custom manufacturing that customers can order online: 3-D printing, which uses digital blueprints to construct items by adding or removing materials layer by layer; additive manufacturing, a form of 3D printing used to add materials to build products; injection molding, a process by which material is forced into a mold to form a product; and CNC.

Maple Plain, Minn.-based Proto Labs, which reported record revenue in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, said during the presentation that it expects its growth plans to put the company on course to record between $425 million and $450 million in 2018, up 25% or more from expected 2017 revenue of about $340 million.

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