The manufacturer of customized industrial products finished the year with its fourth consecutive quarter of record growth in revenue. Above: Haas CNC machines on a Proto Labs factory floor.

Proto Labs Inc. reported new highs in full year and fourth quarter sales for fiscal 2017, along with an uptick in customers. The manufacturer of custom industrial products, which sells most of its products online at ProtoLabs.com, grew revenue a record 30% in the fourth quarter.

“Our revenue performance is driven by strong executions as we provide solutions to our customers to help them accelerate product development, reduce risk and optimize their supply chain by delivering custom parts at unprecedented speed,” Proto Labs president and CEO Victoria Holt told analysts on today’s year-end earnings call.

New product developers grew 18.5% in the year to over 37,000 product developers and engineers.
Victoria Holt, CEO
Proto Labs Inc.

Through Proto Labs’ “evolving sales approach to deepen our customer relationships, new product developers grew 18.5% in the year to over 37,000 product developers” and engineer customers, Holt said.

The company’s growth strategy put it on a course to set new quarterly sales records in each of its last four quarters.

Proto Labs provides several types of custom manufacturing that customers can order online: 3D 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, or computer numerical control, a process by which machining or milling tools operate via computer programming. In 2015 Proto Labs developed an e-commerce site where customers could place orders for all of these manufacturing services, replacing a former dispersed format that operated separate websites for each service.

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Proto Labs, No. 126 in the B2B E-Commerce 300, completed its $120 million acquisition of Rapid Manufacturing on Nov. 30. Rapid also specializes in CNC and provides a sheet metal parts manufacturing service. Its addition expanded Proto Labs’ capabilities in product size and other criteria, the company told analysts in December. Both companies serve customers in the automotive, medical, aerospace and other industries.

The company’s top priority for 2018 is to “continue to evolve our sales approach and engagement with our customers to drive revenue growth,” Holt said on the earnings call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “Serving our customers effectively requires us to continue to both enhance our world-class e-commerce experience and deepen our relationships with customers where our value proposition resonates most,” she said.

Last week, Proto Labs underscored its strategy to continue its growth through quick production of custom-manufactured products by announcing a new logo with the tagline, “Manufacturing. Accelerated.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Proto Labs reported, including revenue broken out by manufacturing process and region:

  • Revenue of $94.2 million, up 30.1% from $72.4 million a year earlier, as net income increased 52.1% to $14.3 million from $9.4 million;
  • Gross profit of $52.9 million, up 31.3% from $40.3 million, resulting in a gross profit margin of 56.2%, up from 55.7% a year earlier;
  • Injection molding revenue of $50.2 million, up 20.7% from $41.6 million;
  • CNC machining revenue of $30.4 million, up 45.5% from $20.9 million;
  • 3D printing revenue of $11.3 million, up 15.3% from $9.8 million;
  • “Other” products and services revenue of $477,000, up 581.4% from $70,000;
  • S. revenue of $72.1 million, up 32.1% from $54.6 million;
  • Europe revenue of $18.9 million, up 27.7% from $14.8 million;
  • Japan revenue of $3.2 million, up 10.3% from $2.9 million.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, Proto Labs, including revenue broken out by manufacturing process and region, reported:

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  • Revenue of $344.5 million, up 15.6% from $298.1 million a year earlier;
  • Gross profit of $193.8 million, up 16.1% from $166.9 million, resulting in a gross profit margin of 56.3%, up from 56.0%;
  • Net income of $51.8 million, up 21.3% from $42.7 million;
  • Injection molding revenue of $194.4 million, up 10.5% from $176.0 million;
  • CNC machining revenue of $103.7 million, up 27.4% from $81.4 million;
  • 3D printing revenue of $43.3 million, up 14.6% from $37.8 million;
  • “Other” products and services revenue of $1.2 million, down 57.1% from $2.8 million;
  • S. revenue of $263.1 million, up 17.5% from $223.9 million;
  • Europe revenue of $70.2 million, up 10.7% from $63.4 million;
  • Japan revenue of $11.3 million, up 4.6% from $10.8 million.

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