For an emerging growth company, ExOne's (NASDAQ:XONE) third-quarter earnings didn't disappoint. The company reported its first-ever operating profit, revenues continued growing, and the future appears to be looking bright for this industrial 3-D printing player.

Breaking it down
For the quarter, ExOne reported revenues of $11.6 million, an increase of 36% year over year, which translated to an operating profit of $262,000 and a net loss of $224,000, or $0.02 a share. Analysts expected ExOne to bring in $11.8 million in revenue and turn a profit of $0.02 a share. Management reaffirmed guidance for the year, expecting revenues to fall within the lower end of its range of $48 million-$52 million. Considering that the company has already brought in $28.8 million for the year, fourth-quarter revenues should be at least $19.2 million.

In terms of unit growth, ExOne sold eight printers for the quarter, an increase of 100% year over year. To date, ExOne has sold 17 printers in 2013, which represents an increase of 240% compared to the first nine months of 2012. ExOne ended the quarter with more than $115 million in cash and $3.4 million in long-term debt and financing leases.

Talking strategy
Currently, ExOne operates seven industrial 3-D printing service centers throughout the world, which it refers to as production service centers, or PSCs. PSCs act as ways for potential customers to get a feel for ExOne's 3-D printing capabilities by being able to have parts made without having to own or operate any of its printers. Last quarter, the segment that includes PSCs accounted for 33% of ExOne's revenue, and PSC revenue itself grew by 20% year over year.

Ultimately, ExOne wants PSC revenue itself to account for roughly half of the company's revenue. To that end, ExOne plans to more than double its PSC presence and have 15 in operation by the end of 2015. As an added bonus, the increased PSC presence has the potential to create a virtuous cycle and lead to subsequent printer sales.

Growing up
Since its IPO debut in February, ExOne's full-time headcount has increased by 50%. Whenever you have that sort of growth in such small period of time, it's extremely important to have the right processes in place to aid in a smoother transition toward becoming a larger scale company. Luckily, ExOne has been building out the necessary processes and procedures to better ensure that it won't experience any major growing pains, which could potentially hurt the company's overall performance. While this may sound like something not worth mentioning, it demonstrates ExOne's ability to plan for the future and think longer term about its business. As an investor, these are the types of clues you want to look for when trying to assess the value of a company's management.

Striking while the iron's hot
During the conference call, ExOne's management acknowledged that the industrial 3-D printing market has started to gain momentum compared to previous years. As a result, the company has begun investing $40 million-$50 million through the end of 2014 to grow its manufacturing capacity, PSC footprint, and to make other strategic investments. Armed with plenty of cash to make this happen, ExOne is positioning itself for exciting growth potential ahead. If you're an investor who's willing to deal with a high degree of volatility, ExOne may be worth a look.