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Proto Labs: Versatile And Digital Manufacturing

Apr. 04, 2021 7:39 PM ETProto Labs, Inc. (PRLB)DDD, DM3 Comments
Chetan Woodun profile picture
Chetan Woodun


  • Proto Labs provides on-demand manufacturing with a self-service portal aimed at companies looking for prototypes and small-series production.
  • The company has been able to switch from low-volume to high-volume rapidly, partially limiting revenue losses due to the pandemic.
  • It has the best financial metrics compared to peers.
  • Economic recovery, together with product upgrade and synergies generated by the 3D Hubs acquisition may result in an earnings beat for FY-2021.
  • In a world increasingly characterized by supply-chain challenges, induced by COVID and geo-politics, Proto Labs has a solution.

Medical product designer with 3D printing machine with CAD design on screen in orthopaedic factory
Photo by Monty Rakusen/Cultura via Getty Images

Last year brought many unforeseen challenges for Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) because of COVID causing revenues to regress as from the second quarter and extend to the whole of 2020. Now, with infection rates

This article was written by

Chetan Woodun profile picture
As a tech-focused industry Research Analyst, my aim is to provide differentiated insights, whether it is for investing, trading, or informational reasons. For this purpose, I am not a classical equity researcher or fund manager, but, I come from the IT world as the founder of Keylogin Information and Technologies Co. Ltd. Thus, my research is often backed by analytics and I make frequent use of charts to support my position.I also invest, and thus, in this tumultuous market, I often look for strategies to preserve capital. As per my career history below, I have wide experience, initially as an implementer in virtualization and cloud, and I was subsequently a team leader and project lead, mostly working in telcos.I like to write around themes like automated supply chains, Generative AI, telcos Capex, the deflationary nature of software, semiconductors, etc and I am often contrarian. I have also covered biotechs.I have also been an entrepreneur in real estate ( a mediocre one), a business owner, and a farmer, and dedicate at least 5 hours per week to working on a non-profit basis. For this purpose, I help needy families by providing sponsored work and contributing peer reviews and opinions for enterprise tech.I have been investing for the last 25 years, initially in mutual or indexed funds before later opting for individual stocks. Got a lot of experience in the 2008/2009 downturn when I lost a lot due mostly to wrong advice. Since then I do my own research and have fallen in love with Seeking Alpha because of the unique perspectives it provides to someone investing hard-earned money as well as access to some of the best analysts.

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Comments (3)

-=Prospero=- profile picture
Long DDD and SSYS. I'll skip the rest.
bluescorpion0 profile picture
The main competitor of Protolabs will be mid-to low volume production from cheap machines bought in-house directly and sold by companies like Markforged. Such a machine costs about $100,000. However, I do believe there is a place for Protolabs at even smaller scale for occasional prototyping - that is customers who can´t be bothered to even shell out 100k for a printer due to very occasional runs or low volume. If Protolabs current market is the segment that overlaps with mid-volume printing they are in big trouble. I think they have to stay small, lower prices, or get into a mass purchase purchasing agreement with a 3d printing manufacturer to buy many of their machines wholesale or offer some sort of low cost or joint service. If they don´t tie up with a hardware company I think they will be relegated to the very small scale business, or possibly very large contract manufacturing that has smaller margins. The mid market is in great danger for Protolabs.
PRLB is a solid company, but growth is capital intensive so investors need to temper expectations for growth in cash flow.
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