How Mcor Technologies found the 3D blueprint for success.
“The R&D assistance we got from Enterprise Ireland was very straightforward – we told them what we wanted to achieve, filled out the forms, did some due diligence, and received a lot of support.”
– Conor MacCormack, CEO and Co-founder, Mcor Technologies
Case Study: Mcor Technologies
“We see ourselves as a research and development company with a sales and marketing wing,” says Conor MacCormack. “We have a persistent R&D ethos. We are very innovation-focused so naturally we've always invested heavily in R&D to stay ahead of the curve in the fast-moving 3D printing industry and to provide world-beating products.” MacCormack is CEO and Co-founder of Mcor Technologies, a Co. Louth-headquartered company that develops and provides the world’s only line of paper-based 3D printers.
A recipient of Enterprise Ireland's RD&I funding, Mcor has won many awards, most recently the CES Best of Innovation 2016 Award for its newest product, the Mcor Arke 3D printer.
Using paper as a base material, the Arke printer can create high-resolution 3D objects in full colour. There is a global demand for this type of technology, so the company is heavily export-focused. “We’re selling in 50 different countries and have 150 different dealers around the world,” says MacCormack. Customers range from giants such as Honda, Samsung and Apple, to smaller businesses such as architects and 3D-printing bureaus.
Mcor aims to make 3D-printing more accessible: “Our vision is to put a 3D printer into every office, classroom and home,” MacCormack says. To achieve this, the company knew it had to significantly develop its printers – and that’s where Enterprise Ireland came in.
Before the company received Enterprise Ireland's RD&I support, all its printers were large, expensive, and either couldn’t print in colour or required a separate printer to do so. “We wanted to incorporate all the steps into one printer, reduce its size and also its price to break into new markets,” MacCormack explains.
KEY TAKEOUTS• Enterprise Ireland's RD&I funding helped transform products and extend global reach.
• Leading product’s low price-point was key in opening new markets and boosting sales figures.
• Financial and logistical support from a government-backed body helped attract investment.
Having received RD&I funding in late 2014, Mcor set about developing its most advanced printer yet: the Arke. The R&D led to a radical redesign of the software and a complete architectural change to the electronics inside. Most of the research was conducted in the company’s dedicated, on-site facilities. The resulting Arke is an integrated, full-colour printer that is significantly smaller and cheaper than previous models. Its low price-point has been key to opening up new markets. While the previous printer was priced at approximately $50,000 and sold in the 100s per year, the cost of the new Arke is significantly lower – around $17,995 – and its sales are projected to be in the thousands.
The benefits of such innovation don’t end there, however. Mcor predicts that 2018 will bring a doubling of staff and a five-fold increase in sales revenue. The new printer has also opened up relationships with key distributors in the UK, Germany, France, China, Taiwan and Korea.
“The R&D assistance we got from Enterprise Ireland was very straightforward – we told them what we wanted to achieve, filled out the forms, did some due diligence, and received a lot of support,” says MacCormack. “I would absolutely advise people to investigate it. It also means you can tell investors that a government-backed body is providing financial and logistical support, which can help to attract further investment.”
MacCormack is keen to emphasise how versatile the RD&I support has been. “Some companies might not realise that the grant covers lots of different things, including salaries, overheads, materials and some patenting costs,” he points out. “Enterprise Ireland also provided practical help when we were breaking into new markets by facilitating meetings with distributors and dealers in new countries.”