See more of the story

A surge in customer orders drove Proto Labs’ strong third quarter results, which beat Wall Street expectations and drove an 8 percent jump in the stock price Thursday.

The Maple Plain-based contract manufacturer and prototype maker reported an 18 percent jump in the number of engineers and product developers using its injection molding, milling and 3-D printing services during the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Revenue jumped 13 percent to $88 million while net income grew 10 percent to $13.2 million, or 49 cents a share. Excluding after-tax stock compensation expenses and one-time items, adjusted earnings were 56 cents per share, 4 cents higher than analysts expected.

The company, which boasts a 22 percent operating margin, has invested heavily and expanded in recent years with acquisitions, factory additions and new high-tech manufacturing equipment. The result has been an enhanced presence in the United States, Europe, and Japan plus new manufacturing capabilities in 3-D printing, over-molding and silicone injection molding.

“Our investments in the business to support the needs of our customers are delivering returns with increasing operating margins and record earnings this quarter,” CEO Vicki Holt said in a statement. “Our concerted effort over the past couple of years to expand relationships with our customers continues to drive our performance. The U.S. and Europe, our two largest geographies, delivered record revenue levels as our focus on the customer continues to show positive signs.”

Proto Labs’ stock closed Thursday at $88.80 per share, which is close to its 52-week high of $89.85.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725