Technology has been instrumental in changing the world in many ways. At no point in time has the change been more valued than in the present when the world is mitigating the challenges of COVID-19. One such case in point is Bengaluru-based 3D printing startup Quick Shape which has developed a head shield and a face shield with the help of 3D printing technology for frontline workers, especially the police force.
3D printing – or additive manufacturing – is slowly emerging as the de facto standard for producing new things. Earlier, products were created by cutting out materials, which was time-consuming and led to wastage. But, 3D printing promises to revolutionise the whole process.
Quick Shape Pvt Ltd is essentially a product development company specialising in 3D printing. “Whether people are from an MNC or individual designers working to bring their passion to life, we help them develop their ideas into working prototypes and products at fraction of the cost and time of what conventional methods would normally take,” Ronit Shetty, CEO of Quick Shape, tells YourStory.
He says that Quick Shape has more than 100 clients across sectors such as automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, aerospace, defence, and biotechnology, and includes names like Tata, Bosch, Wipro, and HCL, to name a few. Besides this, Ronit claims even students, and entrepreneurs are clients of the company.
“From manufacturing lifesaving medical devices to producing complex, high functioning electronic devices, we have worked on the next generation of devices that will change the way people’s lives are impacted,” he adds.
However, with the COVID-19 outbreak wreaking havoc across the world, Quick Shape started looking at manufacturing certain products to help combat this pandemic.
The company has created two key products with the aim to battle coronavirus and ancillary issues related to it. For instance, due to the lockdown, police have to be on the field all the time to keep a check in their respective areas, and with the summer at its peak, many of them can fall ill. To solve the issue, the company created a prototype in 3D printing of a helmet with a cooling system. Based on the success of the prototype, the company has now created a helmet with a cooling system at the back which protects against the harsh summer heat, and also has an N95 filter to protect against pollution.
“We are giving away the helmets to the police, and we have not commercialised this yet,” tells the CEO. For this project, the company has collaborated with a helmet company called Blu Armor.
“The head shield protects against airborne pollutants and heat. That is why we incorporated the cooling aspect of it with the inbuilt cooler to help ease the burden on the wearer,” he explains.
Besides this, the Bengaluru-based company has also developed a “face shield'' which is lightweight and economical. It costs Rs 40 per piece, and Ronit says lakhs of units have already been produced.
“It is one of the best forms of prevention of COVID-19 as people who wear face masks do tend to touch their face even while wearing the mask. These shields prevent the virus from coming in contact with your face completely. Research conducted showed that people tend to touch their face an average of 15 times an hour. To prevent that, the face shield provides huge protection against the virus,” tells Ronit.
Offset Printing to 3D printing
The company is run by a father-son duo, SK Ramesh (59) and Abhishek SR (31). Ramesh had been running his 30-year-old offset printing company, Spektrum Prints. After completing his graduation from Swinburne University in Australia, his son Abhishek joined Spektrum in 2012. With the new brain in this segment, the father-son found out about the 3D printing trend.
The father-son duo started the new company aimed at transforming conventional manufacturing with emerging technology like 3D printing. They set up a 3D printing facility in Bengaluru to get started. After a couple of years, the duo felt that the technology can do much more than just 3D printing. So, in 2017, Abhishek roped in his friend Ronit Shetty as the CEO of Quick Shape to pivot the company from being just a 3D printing company to a complete product development company.
Ronit Shetty joined the company in 2017. Together, Ronit and Abhishek looked at the business of Quick Shape and conducted a small survey to understand customer requirements and pain points that they faced. The survey revealed that customers who were looking to actualise their ideas had to work with multiple vendors to make that happen. So, the team pivoted the company from a 3D printing company to a product development company specialising in 3D printing to help clients in any stage of the manufacturing process.
“3D printing is the most cost-effective way to produce a few prototypes of the products. During this process, we found that clients needed help in getting their products completely developed. Hence, we took up the entire product development – right from design, prototyping using 3D printing, low batch production, high volume production and packaging,” tells Abhishek. Ronit adds that the company’s revenue has increased three times for the last three years, owing to the pivot.
Ronit further tells the company is bootstrapped and is capable of helping fight the pandemic with its technology and product development capabilities.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)
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