Based in Lomazzo, Italy, Caracol is a newcomer to the additive manufacturing sector, but it has already made a name for itself. The company was founded in 2018 and has brought to the table a comprehensive service offering that helps companies to make the most out of their AM capabilities. Within its first years of operation, Caracol has already seen success, experiencing tripled revenues last year and increased productivity. We recently met Francesco De Stefano, CEO of Caracol, who better explained what his promising young company is about.
3dpbm: How was Caracol born and developed?
Francesco De Stefano: Caracol was born from a research project within 3D printing and additive manufacturing, Five years ago, the market analysis clearly indicated that the potential of this sector would have been ideal for solving a series of inefficiency problems regarding the techniques of traditional production.
However, we had noticed that the industry was developing very vertically on the part of machine manufacturers and materials as well as on the software front. We realized that the design-to-production service approach was rather lacking. Many companies had made important investments in AM, but from feedback it was clear that the potential of the machines was not fully being exploited. In our opinion, it was because there was not yet a truly integrated service that applied the specific design logics for additive manufacturing. We therefore decided to found Caracol with the aim of going beyond traditional 3D printing services.
3dpbm: What business model do you have in mind?
FDS: We work starting from the diagnosis of the potential applications, then proceed with the analysis of materials. After intervening on the design front, we move ahead with prototyping and, following customer feedback, we subsequently offer ourselves as a partner for the production. In terms of reference sectors, we focus on design and architecture, automotive, motorsport, aerospace, industrial machines, orthopedic and medical in general.
3dpbm: Is your idea to offer skills and knowledge rather than 3D printed products?
FDS: The solutions we focus on basically fall into two categories. In the case of large industrial groups that are already familiar with 3D printing, our strategy is to accompany the customer gradually, leveraging the technology and know-how that the company already has, helping it to use the technology to its full potential. Our second solution is to supply the parts directly, so we have developed our network of production centers. In the last year, the production capacity has grown considerably and this allows us to be able to produce single pieces for our smaller customers.
3dpbm: Additive manufacturing is an enormously expanding sector, how would you like to differentiate among the others in the future?
FDS: It’s true, the 3D printing market is booming and it is probably only at 10% of its potential. We want to overturn the concept of design with a completely innovative approach, not starting from a specific technology or material but directly from the application. This allows us to work free from several constraints and to make the most of the potential of 3D printing in terms of efficiency, performance and sustainability. Our idea, which distinguishes us from the standard service, is to integrate hardware, software and materials with design so as to offer a deeply tailor-made solution to the customer.