For the past hundred years, the manufacturing industry has focused on making manufacturing economical, and they have achieved it only by producing things in bulk. In our experience, enterprises, R&D engineers, and new hardware companies do not want to manufacture products in bulk unless they are sure they can sell it. Rather they want to make small batches of new products, launch it, keep improving the design while the users continuously give them the feedback. However, doing small batches is expensive and does not allow companies to breakeven.
Consumer behaviour is already pushing manufacturing towards low volume. New gadgets, new vehicles, latest mobiles, new clothes, new furniture every year. The product life cycle is shortened by more than 25% in the last ten years.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
We at Chizel, a digital age manufacturing company with technology at its core, aims to make the on-demand manufacturing ecosystem a reality in India. Using Machine Learning and Cloud Computing we are building digitally connected manufacturing infrastructure that is highly agile and automated thereby bringing down the cost of low volume production like never before.
How Manufacturing Has Evolved In The Last Century?
Thanks to Mr Ford, mass production did its job to bring prosperity in the life of the common man, but today the consumer has evolved. User behaviour is rapidly changing which means, the product which was useful last year might not be relevant next year. The software has evolved in the fashion that allows the software product companies this agility (look at what AWS did with their unique business model of INFRASTRUCTURE-as-a-service), but hardware companies do not have this agility.
IMAGE OF AWS VS PROTOLABS
I have been a part of the manufacturing industry for more than four years both as a user and a hardware engineer. While building a new product is exciting, to a large extent, the current manufacturing framework decides, what I can design. Let me elaborate.
To check what I can design, I must go through the traditional process of creating the CAD design, sending it to the suppliers who I think can do a job but most often might not be able to do it the way I envisioned it. Hence, the suppliers based on their manufacturing expertise and capabilities inform me what I can do.
Supplier further informs me that I need to order a minimum 10,000 pieces because his capacity is not meant to do small jobs.
Looking at the manufacturing side, there are many capable manufacturing suppliers in the market today, but no one can comprehensively solve the major issues tied with batch production. So, designers with the help of purchase managers string together suppliers, share the data over emails and make the system work. This process is inefficient and repetitive and hence, not scalable.
Manufacturing has reached a level where everything has standard rules and practices which have evolved over the years. This also means, there are no new manufacturing processes innovated year after year. If you are unable to find a solution, chances are that it is out there, but you don’t know it yet. However, these rules and standards are available in the best of human minds and are not available OPENLY for all. So, for those who want to learn to manufacture, they must go through the cycle again.
Most manufacturing companies with their small unique expertise cater to unique customers year after year and they do not innovate further. They just try to drive the cost down by using counterfeit software, hiring cheap labour (read underage children), sourcing raw materials from unscrupulous sources etc.
At Chizel, We are bringing together the most important components of designing and manufacturing into one comprehensive, integrated environment to help the designers go from concept to production at the click of a button.
We believe this can be fundamentally changed by using technology. We believe all the standards, guidelines, and knowledge of manufacturing should be democratized and should be made available to everyone.
Chizel – Deep Tech Led Cloud Platform
We are building a Cloud platform www.chizel.io that enables hardware companies to manufacture plastic and metal parts at the click of a button. The software looks at the design and provides an instant quote, timeline and feasibility of a part. Design Engineering no longer need to knock the doors of multiple machine shops just to get quotations, timelines and feasibility analysis.
Our core tools and features knit the gap between design and manufacturing and make the entire process more smooth and agile.
For example, we have built the Wall Thickness Analysis (WTA) tool which is a critical validation for the 3D Printing process. The tool checks wall thickness and highlights the features and geometry that can not be manufactured with a given process, material and setting. This is like an engineer choosing the setting for a machine, and deciding what to be done, without even talking to anyone. The WTA also provides 3D View capability with real material textures of the part providing all the information needed before proceeds to manufacturing. This simplifies all the heavy lifting required before manufacturing.
Once the engineer does all the data analysis and makes a decision, the software allows them to place an order. We are integrating our software with the shop floor. These shop-floors belongs to us and our manufacturing partners. Combining our in-house capability and our supplier capabilities through a single platform allows us to offer the widest offering and yet control quality and adhere timelines.
We also observe that with a multitude of machines with our manufacturing partners are already under-utilized. We work with our partners, integrate our technology in their system, make their factories as good as our own and connect them to the Cloud. This solves two big problems:
- Engineers can find Chizel’s manufacturing facility in every city enabling local and accelerated manufacturing.
- Local machine shops can work with Chizel, upgrade themselves and also get more predictable and curated business in fewer resources. Flexible Manufacturing Fulfilment System
Finally, This Is What We Aim To Achieve:
- Standardization of manufacturing shops
We manage in-house manufacturing capacity to handle critical components and address last-minute challenges. However, 90% of the orders we do are standard (they are custom orders, but our system converts them into standard part) which gets fulfilled with our manufacturing partners. We spend months to standardize our partner’s factories including man, machine and material across the shop floor before bringing them onboard. Our quality team is also deployed full time at the shop floor, ensuring the quality of every part coming out of it.
- Data security
Security of the customer data is our topmost concern. We are designing the system to be foolproof in this regard. The design data submitted by the design engineers will be directly fed to the local machine before manufacturing. The customers can rest assured that their data will not be shared with any third party.
- Accessibility. Anytime. Anywhere
The world of LANs, firewalls and local workstations is ageing and being replaced by Cloud Computing and a wide variety of devices, increasingly powerful and mobile. The architectures of the future will be tuned to combine what’s best done locally with what’s best done on the Cloud, giving us access to infinite amounts of computing power, letting us imagine how we would design differently if computing power was unlimited. Chizel is a step towards achieving anytime, anywhere accessibility in manufacturing.
- Driving the cost down by using AI
We are building our software and factories based on neural networks, deep learning and machine learning algorithms. Every part we manufacture, we capture our learning and failure and we feed them to COCO for it to learn. What we are trying to create is one smart manufacturing BOT, that one day will know it all. With this smart manufacturing in place, we aim to eliminate the human intervention from the entire manufacturing chain which will drastically bring down the operational cost of the system, at the same time ensuring quality at scale.
Chizel’s material recommendation system
Currently, on-demand manufacturing is expensive because manufacturing cost of the first part is HIGH (the majority of which is due to the time consumed to come up with the manufacturing strategy and simulation) and this cost does not get amortized over millions of parts following, as it is just for initial 100s. To bring down the cost, we let the software do all the heavy lifting, as the software has negligible operational cost.
- Affordable and accessible.
With the focus to build a world-class product for enterprise, we do not intend to monetize on hobbyists and startups. We want young minds to use our product and bring innovation to the world. And while they do that, we do not compromise on quality, performance or privacy. We believe that everyone is entitled to the best possible user experience.
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” – Neil Gaiman
As a founder, I am proud of what we have built together, however, I am more excited about the way we have built it. Our team members are entrepreneurs by DNA who, in the past, have solved many problems in different industries. Our founders are engineers first and then developers that is why we always think about solving a problem. While we are building the product, we are continuously talking to the users, community members, and supporters to make on-demand manufacturing a reality.
Chizel has a long way to go and many more milestones to achieve, but together we are building something stupendous!
Check out our platform – click here.
Subscribe to our newsletter for curated manufacturing, industrial & product design articles.