In 2015, Fahrial Alam, a second year mechanical engineering student from Islamic University of Technology (IUT) at the time had a course in engineering design software, where he got introduced to CAD (computer-aided design) and 3D modelling for the very first time.
While the course was interesting, he had only done enough to pass the course. However, he continued learning CAD and 3D design even after the course ended.
And soon it became a hobby and his interest in the field amplified. He started to invest time and effort to learn more of the programme and continued developing skills from online tutorials and lessons.
Fast forward five years.
In April this year, Fahrial Alam co-founded a start-up with Tanveer Fahad Haq named Gyre Engineering – an outcome of all the hours Alam spent mastering his skill in engineering design.
The other co-founder and current Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Haq, completed his bachelors in CSE from IUT as well.
“Gyre Engineering is an engineering start-up that specialises in producing 3D CAD and industrial prototyping solutions,” Alam, who is also the startup’s CEO, told The Business Standard.
“In layman’s terms, we make 3D models of machines and create electronic gadgets for manufacturing companies.
Our team consists of CAD designers and robotics experts who work together to create unique IoT based solutions for industries, businesses and entrepreneurs and help make their business more efficient,” explained Alam.
The scope and possibilities
In recent years, 3D printing has developed significantly and can now perform crucial roles in many applications, with the most important being manufacturing, medicine, architecture, custom art and design.
There has been a lot of hype in the last decade when referring to the possibilities we can achieve by adopting 3D printing as one of the main manufacturing technologies.
The range of 3D printers in the global market can cost from a few hundreds dollars (enthusiast level) to a million dollars (enterprise level).
And in Bangladesh, “there are a few startups in the ecosystem that are trying to activate the 4th industrial revolution within Bangladesh. Some big names would be Bondstein, Involute Tech, Bioforge etc. They have been working in the 3D printing sector for some time now,” said Alam.
However, the Bangladeshi 3D printing industry is in its infancy in comparison with the developed countries.
“We have imported our 3D printers personally,” added Alam.
In recent times, 3D printers have become readily available in Bangladesh too. For example, Startech sells some models of 3D printers. These are mostly entry level printers and the price starts from Tk35,000. The price depends on the type of printer being purchased as there are various kinds of 3D printers for different purposes.
A road less travelled
As Alam’s fascination with 3D modelling only grew more, he started to make 3D models of machines and vehicles inspired by pop-cultural elements (for example, flying cars).
Positive feedback from peers and seniors alike encouraged him to pursue the path more seriously.
“When making some apparatus, engineering process or mechanical structures, many friends and seniors would come to me for their projects or theses. And they needed help in visualising the whole process or system,” Alam said.
He gained a little bit of popularity by helping others from his university. And that was the beginning. While doing so, he understood the scope of CAD in Bangladesh.
Alam said, “Eventually, the idea of doing CAD as a service had blossomed into a business idea back in 2018. It was mostly freelancing at first but then we made it official as I partnered up with Tanveer in June of last year.” Gyre Engineering primarily serves manufacturing and engineering companies, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.
“Our clients often come to us with unique product ideas for which they require manufacturing consultancy and aid. With our ability to visualise their product in 3D and manufacturing resources at our disposal, we help them bring their ideas to life,” added Alam.
“In terms of industrial efficiency, a lot could be improved by monitoring areas of productivity that seldom go unnoticed. This can lead to actionable steps that could be taken to boost productivity,” said Alam.
According to Alam, they are currently working on three projects: manufacturing an IoT remote monitoring solution for a local client, a performance monitor for athletes for an American client and cryo bags for Brac’s residency programme.
While originally Gyre’s journey began with only the objective of providing 3D designs and CAD models to help manufacturing companies visualise the whole process better, the start-up has lately broadened its scope.
Broadening the horizon
Alam explained how this happened.
“An interesting turn of events was the time when an Indian client came to us with a product idea. They said there is a good market for the product. We said we could help them visualise the product. But they also wanted us to make the products,” Alam recalled.
“Until that point our modus operandi was helping out manufacturing companies to visualise their engineering process, showcasing how that works in 3D models,” Alam added.
But as they had just started, they were ready to explore more. After some initial research, they found out that the market is bigger than they thought earlier.
“After that, we decided to import 3D printers and make small IoT devices ourselves. IoT is an array or assembly of devices that work as sensors. The internet is used to collect data from the sensors,” Alam explained.
He added, “When this offer came, I thought this was doable. Let us see where we go. We also hired some product engineers and robotics experts.”
But what is the device all about?
According to Alam, they are making a performance monitoring device that would measure pulse rate, oxygen level, top speed, change of speed, the ball impact velocity, etc.
While similar types of devices are available, oftentimes personalised and customised devices are needed and hence the demand for Gyre’s services.
Other than this project, Gyre is also doing a project with Brac. They have been invited to Brac’s residency programme.
“Earlier we were doing a project with Brac. The project was based on how fast we could dispatch emergency equipment by manufacturing them using 3D technology. The programme was a part of Brac’s social innovation lab.
They are trying to make sort of a movement in Bangladesh using all the 3D printers in Bangladesh. With the existing machinery, Brac wants to test out the viability of manufacturing equipment on emergency demand and if possible, how fast,” explained Alam.
Being invited to Brac’s residency programme, Gyre is tasked with manufacturing cryo bags, which are used for cryopreserving vaccines, blood samples, temperature-sensitive medicines etc.