April was Earth Month -- and the Internet was abuzz with green business success stories. In general, companies across all industries are making changes to be greener -- from Ikea designers making products from recycled furniture to new paperless note taking options. 3D printing is one industry that has been gaining ground. While there are many environmental benefits to using 3d printers, the actual products 3D printers produce are typically made from plastic or resin, neither of which is particularly eco-friendly. Conor MacCormack, CEO of Mcor, is greening the 3D printing industry with a machine that uses paper to make 3D objects. In this way, Mcor is providing a sustainable technology option for teachers, designers and eventually, he hopes, all consumers.
MacCormack co-founded Mcor with his brother Fintan in 2005. Earlier in MacCormack's career, while working at Trinity College in Dublin, he was exposed to some of the first 3D printing technologies. He thought that there had to be a cheaper and safer way to do 3D printing. MacCormack knew that if 3D printing were to truly move into the classrooms, offices, hospitals, design firms and beyond, it would require a low cost, full-color, eco-friendly solution that removed the toxic fumes and non-environmental components from the equation.
The Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL) technology that MacCormack's machines use features chlorine-free paper and a water-based adhesive that's capable of producing parts that are tough, durable and green. The paper has an archival life of 200 years and is a testament to responsible forestry. MacCormack's printers allow users to toss printed models into the recycling bin for cradle-to-grave sustainability. These printers also allow people to bring artistic visions to life without adding waste to landfills and have wide applications, from plastic surgeons showing patients their appearance post-surgery to anthropologists reconstructing ancient artifacts and fashion designers bringing their jewelry line to stores. In addition to using a safe, clean, eco-friendly material, these printers offer the industry's highest-resolution color at markedly lowered operating costs. Mcor's SDL is 10-20% of the cost of any other 3D printing technology on the market.
MacCormack has been responsible for growing Mcor since 2007, when he was named CEO. MacCormack has helped double the company's revenue and employees over the last 4 years. He has also raised over $16 million from private and venture capital sources while steadily building a portfolio of over 40 patents. MacCormack is currently focusing on shipping Mcor's newest printer, the Mcor ARKe, which is the world's first full-color desktop 3D printer. "Current 3D desktop printers, although they feature a low cost to purchase, will fill your classroom or office space with the aroma of burning plastic," notes MacCormack. "The launch of the Mcor ARKe will transform this industry, stimulating widespread adoption of 3D printing, particularly in education and among creative professionals." The Mcor ARKe has been named a CES Best of Innovation Awards Honoree, something MacCormack is very proud of. "This is a real honor for Mcor, as it serves as a huge point of validation for our paper-based 3D printing solution," he says. The ARKe will start shipping this summer, and MacCormack has already received over 4,000 pre-orders.