Make in India: Chizel is enabling product companies to build at smaller scale
So, you are engineering startup. You have a fantastic design and you know it will work if manufactured with your exact specifications. But, how would you convince your clients/ investors unless you can show them a working model?
Often, making a prototype can prove to be the most challenging part of a product lifecycle, especially for companies that do not have specific manufacturing setups.
Enter Chizel. It will take your design, down to the exact specifications and even materials, and manufacture what you want - 10,000 pieces or five, two, or even one piece.
Founded by Ravi Ranjan, Devang, and Yash Rane in 2016, this Bengaluru-based startup started as a 3D printing company. At the end of 2018, they decided to become a cloud-based manufacturing platform and launched in January this year.
The startup enables hardware companies to manufacture engineering components on demand. Chizel works as a single platform to find different manufacturing processes, materials, and finishing options. It also provides quick tips that help design engineers go to market faster with their designs.
Ravi says, “Companies today don’t want to manufacture in bulk unless they are very sure that their product is going to sell.”
Why on-demand manufacturing?
“Engineers and industrial designers involved in making products have no direct access to manufacturing and relevant data associated with it. The entire information and data flow involve the design and purchase teams, and several suppliers constantly conversing with each other over emails, making the process more prone to errors and hassles, and costing time and money.”
He adds smaller teams do not even have the luxury of setting up a purchase department to drive these processes. Also, suppliers provide manufacturing quotations and timelines only for the processes and materials they cater to. This means one has to interact with multiple suppliers at a time.
Chizel solves this by giving easy access of manufacturing to companies looking to produce plastic and metal parts from one to 10,000 pieces.
“While fulfilling orders on day-to-day basis, we saw that customers kept coming back to us asking for more manufacturing/material options beyond our offering. We also realised that 3D printing was just one way of manufacturing a part. So, we thought why not build manufacturing on cloud rather than 3D print on cloud,” says Yash, talking about when Chizel was only a 3D printing company.
On the backend, the startup uses cloud computing, and creates a digital thread from design to delivery for every order.
How does it work?
“Our platform optimises complex manufacturing parameters without human intervention. This enhances manufacturing speed, while achieving consistent quality and reducing operational cost,” Yash says.
Once an order is placed, Chizel takes full responsibility to manufacture and deliver quality parts to customers at their doorstep. It runs a fully controlled manufacturing factory (hub) in Pune and manages supplier partner network across India.
This allows them to offer a wide variety and yet have control over quality without compromising on turnaround time. At present, it has one hub and over 27 partners across the country.
The team claims to have on-boarded 75 new accounts in February, and says that it executed more than 1,000 orders with an average ticket size of Rs 20,000, helping manufacture over 30,000 custom parts.
Chizel has clients from industries like electronics and electrical components, automotive, medical devices, optics and general engineering. Last year, the company raised seed funding led by GSF.
The founders claim to cater to over 200 B2B accounts, including the likes of Mahindra & Mahindra, Eaton, Wabco, Ingersoll Rand, and hundreds of small and medium businesses.
According to a Statista report, IT-BPM (Information Technology and Business Process Management) contributed 7.7 percent to India’s overall GDP.
Several makers labs are also helping startups with prototyping like the Maker’s Asylum based out of Mumbai and Delhi, Workbench Project, Collab House, JMoon Makerspace, and Maker’s Loft, to name a few. Then, there is the Telangana government’s T-Works as well.
The Chizel team says manufacturing on demand is a sub-segment of manufacturing, which is estimated to be a $220 billion market globally.
“We are bringing manufacturing processes online, one at a time. We started building cloud capabilities for 3D printing in 2017, and are now building cloud capabilities for CNC Machining,” Ravi says.