ZER01NE’s Start-Up M.O.P: From "Slackers” to the Pearl of the Korean Materials Industry


“Meeting creators at ZER01NE, we learned that they were, as someone who makes something, going through the same troubles and obstacles as we were.”

Working on a cooperative project with the creators at ZER01NE, M.O.P is a start-up that develops materials for 3D printing, which has established itself as one of the major innovative manufacturing technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The company sets spurs to the development of light and precise products by applying ceramics to make super precision materials and focuses on the power of “material” aiming at growing into companies like BASF or Merck. The CEO Choi Hyungil tells us about M.O.P.

Q. Would you introduce M.O.P to us in brief?
A. M.O.P is a material development company that adds functionality to materials by using nano-micro processing technology and currently developing materials for the photocuring 3D printing method. M.O.P is an acronym for “Mother of Pearl”. The section of mother-of-pearl, created by natural additive manufacturing, has a perfect form incomparable to any other structure made by humans. We named the company with an ambition to perfectly control materials like the technology of nature of producing layers of colors at uniform intervals.

Q. What is the value pursued most by M.O.P?
A. “Coexistence”. We’d like to have fun at work while exchanging support with the companies that acknowledge our value and we theirs. M.O.P’s company logo depicts multiple pearls gathered together, which means that each value comes together to create a new value.

Q. Tell us about the members of the company and how you became to establish the company.
A. M.O.P consists of three expert researchers that have experienced material development and merchandising as well as mass-production of material products. Before starting M.O.P, we three worked at the same team of a new material company and formed an informal group called “Slackers” to share visions about the future production processes. We reached a consensus that the Korean material industry had to pursue high added value in order to survive, which led to research on materials for 3D printing and ultimately to the establishment of M.O.P today. I still cannot forget the evening when we sat down at a restaurant after work and decided on the name of the company together.

Q. What are the characteristics and application area of super-precision ceramic, the major material developed by M.O.P?
A. Ceramic materials, unlike metal, have low heat conductivity and do not melt down when used as a part, unlike plastic, due to the temperature rise inside a device. Uniformly composed of ceramic particles and run through the dispersion and stabilization process, ceramic resin can be applied to the photocuring 3D printing method to be used as part materials that require high strength and precision. The super-precision ceramic material currently being developed by M.O.P is expected to be further applicated in wider areas including aerospace and national defense, electric and electronic parts, automotive parts, architecture, and artwork.

Q. What kind of change in life and future would the 3D printing technology bring?
A. When we were young, the textbooks had an imaginary picture of people in the future watching TV on their phones and talking while seeing each other on the monitor. At that time, we doubted if those things could actually happen, which all became so familiar today. Someday we would see the world where a product is made by a 3D printer in a planet we do not know yet and sent to the earth, and a dad could make a doll for his daughter in his study right away.

Q. What led you to work with ZER01NE?
A. ZER01NE supports building infrastructure not only with financial aid but with various kinds of networking. Cooperation with creators also provides us a new approach on our technology from people with creative perspectives, which are different from engineers’ point of view. We thought we could make better synergy by cooperating with the creators, which is why we decided to work with ZER01NE.

Q. M.O.P is working with creators in many tasks, including the MR Lab project. Could you tell us how the project is going in detail?
A. As researchers who majored in and have studied and developed materials, we could be helpful to the MR Lab Project in studying the matters. We provided papers needed for experiments or materials we obtained by ourselves. We also introduced an advisor from outside when needed. Meanwhile, the products made by the creators were great inspiration for our development of modern materials. The 3D printing technology and forming methods for ceramics have a lot in common; we are upgrading the modern material technology with the traditional techniques by working with a creator from ceramics. We would like to continue our cooperation with various creators and have fun advancing M.O.P’s materials.