Additive Manufacturing & MSME's Rapid Response to Pandemic

#Manufacturing #3Dprinting #Internet #MSME #Covid19

Dr. Guruprasad Rao

The manufacturing sector, compared to the others, perhaps took the major hit of the disruptions caused by the novel Coronavirus in the Indian context. Dr. Guruprasad Rao, Director, Imaginarium India shares with Pro MFG Media the story of Indian manufacturing sector, who by their determination and skills overcame the challenges and served its fellow citizens.

The entire world was affected by the deadly COVID-19, and it wasn’t different for India either. The manufacturing sector went through a major transformation and developed numerous innovations for the people. Though the manufacturing sector needs supply chain enablement, suffered during the pandemic, the world learned numerous lessons from unplanned immigration of labor, unable to procure raw material, lack of PPE kits for frontline warriors, etc. Some of the population managed their work from home, but the manufacturing sector couldn’t work in the pandemic. India as a country had a journey of Pre-COVID 19 and Post COVID 19, which cannot be ignored.

In the current times, the remote working technologies are driving the path, bringing in the required change. Many of them are exploring digital platforms or media to connect and execute activities remotely. The pandemic enabled the implementation of many technologies that were already available in the market, but the processing time for implementation of the technologies accelerated in the crisis.

As MSMEs were highly affected, it was essential to utilize the dependency rotation as a catalyst, pivoting every opportunity to work on the new business models. Innovation is about an idea that reaches the end consumer. Often delivering the idea to the end consumer is the most critical challenge faced by MSME or even large corporates. Initially, they used the jargon ‘time to market’, but in the current scenario, it is ‘time to customer’.

The whole world witnessed a unique phase as the Indian manufacturing sector rose to the situation by developing numerous essential products such as PPE kits, N95 masks, and non – contact diagnostics kits. These products before the pandemic were unheard of, but with the help of the powerful internet, numerous innovators shared the information, which was eventually replicated.

The community of 3D printing, including innovators, designers, and small-scale companies, jumped to the rescue by providing millions with all the essential products. The Internet, in the times of pandemic, has turned out to be the Good Samaritan for the entire human race. Not just it kept a distanced world connected but also did it keep the world abreast about the ways to keep themselves safe in these difficult times.

Guided by the internet, innovators modified the products suitable to the local conditions, and one such example is ventilator splits that were highly in demand during the pandemic. The small companies or mediumscale companies attempted numerous ways to develop the product with minimum resources.

India did witness a mass movement in the manufacturing sector. The Indian manufacturing sector realized that inbuilt agility is highly essential in the system. In the future, customization of the product and value creation will play a key role in building a powerful manufacturing industry.