Mark One is an innovative Italian SME that aims to revolutionize traditional manufacturing systems by integrating 3D printing into production processes. Its core business is producing and commercializing industrial and professional 3D printers. It is important to provide companies with the know-how needed to implement 3D printing into production processes, because they are often not aware of its full potential, possible applications, and potential printing materials. Therefore, Mark One offers tailor-made product bundles that include a 3D printer, a proprietary control board, and training and assistance services that are based on each client’s final application goals. Interview with Sofia Belletti, Business and Market Analyst & Willa Davis, Digital Marketing Intern at Mark One. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Sofia Belletti & Willa Davis: Mark One targets manufacturing companies in the following sectors: Industrial Automation, Automotive and Motorsport, Mechanics, Aerospace, and Medical. Manufacturing companies have increasingly shifted towards a lean supply chain by customizing requested components, reducing product batches, and providing leaner procurement lead times. Mark One’s 3D printing technology offers important advantages especially in terms of waste reduction, because it allows companies to use the exact amount of raw material needed during the input stage. It also brings the production chain closer to the sales network since a printing project can be launched remotely. This benefits logistics activities and limits a company’s carbon footprint caused by the transportation of components and raw materials. The final advantage or the concept of “Just-in-time” production refers to the idea that the buyer can access customized, small-batch products with short lead times at the exact moment they need them, by simply having a 3D printer on location. Mark One supports component design that extends a product’s life cycle, while guaranteeing the necessary services, repairs, and updates required for the 3D printer to operate correctly. By implementing Mark One’s 3D printing technology, both the client and supply chain benefit. The client’s internal production levels increase, and the supply chain is able to optimize its upstream procurement and improve the quality of finished products downstream. E.E: What’s the news about new products? S.B & W.D: Mark One developed its proprietary main board to provide total control of the printing process, simplify machine management, and guarantee the production of high-quality products. It boosts workflow with email/SMS notifications, real-time monitoring of component wear, and automating filament changes. The control board improves process optimization by presetting temperature controls, detecting and correcting lost motor steps, and automating heat bed leveling. Overall, it increases productivity and ensures greater standardization and replicability for additive manufacturing. It establishes a reliable printing process because it automates manual functions that could previously disrupt the print flow or impair component geometries. An increase in machine reliability leads to improved levels of component replicability. The control board also allows users to carry out metal replacement, as our 3D printers can create polymeric components with increased mechanical and thermal resistance, which can serve as a replacement for more expensive and less eco-friendly materials. Another important innovation concerns Mark One’s double extruder. With respect to commercial extruders, Mark One has patented a lighter and more precise double extruder. This extruder’s handling capabilities generate less inertia and fewer vibrations. This leads to better printing quality and increased printing speeds. E.E: What are the ranges of products? S.B & W.D: Among its 3D printers, Mark One has industrialized the following models: MK One: The most compact and easy-to use 3D printer for professional purposes. MK 653: This printer is ideal for monolithic components due to its large printing area.MK 333: This is the company’s flagship product that includes the above-mentioned innovations and is meant for industrial use. Upcoming products: One Plus: This is an intermediate 3D printer with the same compact size as the MK One and the innovative features of the MK 333. HT: This printer offers a higher level of control thanks to further developments on the main board. It will be able to print PEEK materials. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? S.B & W.D: At the current state of the art, the technology is in an introductory phase. It lacks several electronic and control features that can be found in CNC machinery, which is more developed but less sustainable alternative. Users must possess the technical know-how to be able to use 3D printing machines, even if they are not sure about the machine’s final output. Therefore, Mark One provides services such as consultancy, assistance, and a preliminary analysis, which are useful for clients who are working to integrate the technology properly. Mark One is also working on its proprietary control board to provide increased reliability and improved simplicity of use for the market. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? S.B & W.D: With annual growth rates reaching 18.2% and market figures hitting €8.33 billion in 2021 and set to exceed more than €19 billion by 2025, additive manufacturing is taking center stage. The additive manufacturing sector is divided into printer manufacturers and application services (41%) (i.e., Mark One’s competitors), parts (42%), and materials. The sector consists of more than 1,300 suppliers and is steadily growing. Mark One’s direct competitors include all other FDM manufacturers. 3D printing has now become a widely accepted tool and technical standard for most Italian manufacturing companies. Nearly 80% of the companies that responded to a survey held by One Poll and other research centers such as Reichelt Elektronik, stated that they use 3D printing. Approximately 73% of these companies have the necessary tools for in-house 3D printing, thus facilitating part production on-site. Around 77% of respondents said they primarily use the technology for prototype development. Roughly 73% of companies use 3D printing to produce visual models. According to the survey, 67% of the respondents use 3D printing for small series production, 61% for custom-made products and parts, and 57% for making special products such as prosthetics, implants, and components. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? S.B & W.D: The MK 333 is Mark One’s most versatile and high-performing 3D printer. It was designed to print complex and high-performance components for the industrial automation, mechanics, automotive and motorsport, aerospace, and medical sectors. Mark One’s innovative proprietary electronic control board allows users to have increased control of the production process, improving the printer’s performance and material versatility. This technology is currently available on our MK 333 3D printer, and it will be added to all our products. The MK 333 was launched in 2017 and subsequently updated in 2020. The new MK 333 is equipped with innovative features, such as a patented dual extruder, heated printing chamber, and a proprietary electronic control board. The dual extruder allows the machine to print both primary and support materials for components and is smaller, lighter, quicker, and more precise than commercial extruders. The heated printing chamber maintains the proper temperature level and provides users with optimal control of the printing process. The control board increases the printer’s reliability thanks to automated functions, such as real-time monitoring of component wear, predictive diagnoses and maintenance, and system interconnection. These features provide Mark One’s clients with a quality guarantee in an industry where standards have not been set and demonstrate the company’s dedication to producing components with a variety of materials. E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022? S.B & W.D: Mark One is a scale-up company. For the remainder of 2022, we are looking for an industrial and financial partner to support our growth. Our plan is to increase the number of employees and to invest in R&D, new products, and marketing activities.