Chennai-based startup Fabheads Automation 3-D printing ‘Vande Bharat Express’

Dinesh Kanagaraj and Abhijit Rathore, who are IIT alumni and worked at ISRO, witnessed a high rejection rate for carbon fiber products manufactured through conventional methods. This prompted them to launch Fabheads, a Chennai-based startup, that automates the production of critical composites, such as carbon fiber, which are used in modern innovations like drones, EVs, and air taxis.

By automating the process, Fabheads has been able to reduce the lead time, improve reliability, and lower the cost of manufacturing by almost 10%. Fabheads spent two to three years on research and development before launching in 2021. During that time, they developed their own 3D printer, instead of purchasing one, which was a more frugal option.

The startup received support from IIT Madras’s incubation cell and industry mentors. Today, they have been supplying 3D-printed parts to aerospace, automotive, and other sectors that require lightweight carbon fiber components. According to Nivas V, the CMO of Fabheads, almost 80% of the 3D-printing machine is made of Indian components. The startup’s end-to-end support and manufacturing capabilities have attracted clients, and their order book is filling up.

Fabheads is expanding its capacity to meet demand and is planning to raise $7 million-$8 million to rent a larger factory space, hire more people, and develop bigger 3D-printed machines. The company aims to triple its machines from 12 to 40 and plans to establish satellite offices globally. They are exploring the use of 3D-printed carbon fiber in medical implants and working towards getting medical certifications. They are also targeting modernization and new-age technologies sectors and aim to grow to the scale where they can serve Vande Bharat one day.

Overview of Fabheads Automation

Fabheads Automation was founded in 2016 by a team of engineers with a background in robotics and automation. The company specializes in providing automation solutions for various industries such as automotive, aerospace, and healthcare. In addition to automation, Fabheads Automation also offers 3D printing services, making it a one-stop-shop for manufacturers looking to streamline their production processes.

Fabheads Automation’s 3D Printing Solutions

Fabheads Automation’s 3D printing solutions are based on a technology called fused deposition modeling (FDM). FDM is a 3D printing process that involves extruding a thermoplastic material through a heated nozzle to create a 3D object layer by layer. FDM is one of the most popular 3D printing technologies in use today due to its low cost and ease of use.

Fabheads Automation’s 3D printers are capable of printing with a variety of thermoplastic materials such as ABS, PLA, and PETG. These materials are widely used in various industries due to their strength, durability, and ease of use.

Applications of Fabheads Automation’s 3D Printing Solutions

Fabheads Automation’s 3D printing solutions have a wide range of applications across various industries. Some of the most common applications of 3D printing include rapid prototyping, tooling, and production of low-volume parts. Rapid prototyping allows manufacturers to quickly iterate through designs and test them before committing to expensive tooling. Tooling refers to the production of molds, jigs, and fixtures that are used in the manufacturing process. 3D printing allows for the production of custom tooling quickly and at a lower cost than traditional manufacturing methods. Production of low-volume parts is another common application of 3D printing, especially in industries such as aerospace and healthcare where the demand for specialized parts is low.

Fabheads Automation and the ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission

The ‘Vande Bharat’ mission is a government initiative aimed at promoting indigenous manufacturing and reducing India’s dependence on imports. Fabheads Automation is one of the companies that has been selected to participate in this mission. The company is contributing to the mission by providing automation and 3D printing solutions to Indian manufacturers, helping them to improve their production processes and reduce costs.


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