Generous gesture by fledgling startup

Generous gesture by fledgling startup

With everyone caught up in the COVID-19 crisis it is gratifying to see how enterprises across the state are coming forward to halt the spread of the pandemic.

 Several startups over the past one month shifted to production of masks, sanitisers and protective equipment or cooked up meals to feed the hungry in the fight against the coronavirus infection.

Mapusa based ScheMatter, a startup that deals with product design, prototyping and additive manufacturing using CAD and 3D printing technology pitched in with supplies of face shields to those who need it the most.

Incubated in EDC Ignite Innovation Hub, the startup got into the COVID-19 fighting mode promptly by providing free face shields to doctors and other health workers in government hospitals and health centres.

All in all the unit supplied 173 3D printed face shields, of which some was given to the Asilo Hospital, Mapusa and the Primary Health Centre, Candolim and some to doctors in government service. A major chunk of face shields went to the health department through Dr. Hegdewar School.

“The moment the lockdown was announced we made an inventory of whatever material we had with us and decided to use it to address the local crisis. We stopped regular business and started making face shields for front-line caregivers, viz. doctors and health workers who are the first point of contact for patients,” said Carl de Souza, founder, ScheMatter.

He added that, the startup bore the entire expense of production and did not take financial assistance from any social service organisations. It targeted the health workers as first in the line for distribution knowing that supply of such factory produced aids through the regular government channel would take time.

“Considering the sudden spike in demand and problem of logistics we realised that hospitals like GMC are expected to get equipment and supplies earlier which meant that staff of small hospitals and health centers is at a disadvantage by way of exposure to the infection.”

According to De Souza, 3D printing technology is generally used in engineering, design, medical and other fields in product design, prototyping and small batch manufacturing. Each part takes a longer than other industrial manufacturing processes. Nevertheless there is no need for special dies, tools or any special equipment to manufacture a particular product.

“The process of making face shields through 3-D technology is slow. In all the production of 173 face shields took as 366 hours which is a lot in terms of RAM time and consumption of power,” he said.

Registered as startup unit in June 2019 under the Goa Startup Policy, ScheMatter is a fledgling unit that is still under incubation. The team size of the company comprises four engineers. The company’s customers are mainly large industry.

De Souza says that, the experience of contributing towards the COVID-19 fight is enthused the team to do similar good work in future. “We kept aside our regular business and devoted our hearts, mind and hands for the health workers.  It is an effort that is straight from the heart. We are humbled by the gratitude and blessings that we received in return and intend to continue reaching out to people in trying times,” he says. 

He adds that, having nearly exhausted the raw material on hand the company at present is going slow on making more face shields.