Mark One’s CEO Marco Zani on the start up’s journey and the lessons he learned from 3D Printing

Mark One is a company that designs and develops industrial FFF 3D printers. The company’s journey started when his founder, Marco Zani was still at the university. During his studies in automation engineering, he discovered 3D printing capabilities to produce parts for the manufacturing sector. He therefore decided to develop a 3D printer that could meet the challenges of the Italian manufacturing market. Not only did that 3D printer meet the challenges it was built for, but it also led to the establishment of a business model and the fabrication of several 3D printers to meet various needs on the Italian market.

Over time, the company has developed 3D printers that could process thermoplastic materials, filled thermopolymers, focusing on technical polymers and ultra-polymers. They feature a proprietary control board that facilitate monitoring in a production environment. Using a patented carbon lamination, operators can reduce time and costs by more than 50% compared to other manufacturing methods during the fabrication of carbon components.

However, according to the CEO, there is still a lack of knowledge that slows down the adoption of 3D printing within several industries. That’s anyway the biggest challenge the company has encountered in four years of activities. For Zani, in the manufacturing environment, 3D printing brings a “new versatile culture” which makes it complex to shed light on the benefits that can derive from it. Nevertheless, this does not prevent Mark One’s 3D printers as suitable candidates for applications across the medical, aerospace, automotive, consumer goods and industrial automation, to name a few industries.

Furthermore, with the Covid-19 that has expedited the adoption of 3D printing, the Italian manufacturer also notices an increasing interest in additive manufacturing from various sectors.

The mere concept of visiting a company or a customer, the blocking of the shipment will allow for a reconsideration of additive manufacturing and its use for real-time production, both on site and in places around the world.
[Together with other manufacturing methods], the new technologies will re-structure the system, giving a huge advantage to the companies that will use them in their production processes.

Among the various companies we collaborate with, I cannot fail to mention Kawasaki WorldSBK and the project we developed with the official team: the first 3D printer to be introduced in the pits, to make real-time production.” Zani explains.

From a business perspective, it’s been two years that the company is investing extra miles to position itself on the international arena. One of the key to make this strategy profitable in the long run was to ensure the industrialization capabilities of the 3D printers – hence the recent aforementioned developments in terms of materials and printing process-  but also a “reliable and easily manageable technology”, as per the words of the CEO. Furthermore, according to Zani, this internationalization process also meant implementing a strategy to support international customers and relying on local distributors.

Mark One is currently expanding with several distributors mainly in North America, Europe and Russia and we are setting up business in Chicago”, Zani states.

In the coming months we will develop new machines and new patents, always focusing on innovation. Obviously, we will help companies to bring additive manufacturing into their production processes, putting new machinery on the market that will facilitate this process”, he adds, speaking about their pipeline.

Since I started this journey with Mark One, I have had the opportunity to meet many people, from whom I have learned many things: they have taught me to have an open mind. In fact, relying on a new technology and the change that this technology offers are pure demonstration of open-mindedness. A lesson that I hope to remember in the years to come, always remaining ready to talk, to confront and to discuss with anyone”, Zani concludes.

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