In today's article I’m going to write about an inspiring startup. An MSME based in Visakhapatnam named Saif Automations Services LLP which has driven to make an unmanned surface water craft, to save the lives of people who are drowning in water.
Aliasgar Calcuttawala and Taher Calcuttawala the founders of this MSME are from an engineering and trading background. Taking on the family business of supply to marine industry which is was founded and headed by veteran Ahmed Sh Abdeally a Visionary to the core, they always wanted to expand into design and manufacturing of an innovative product.acturing and production of an innovative product.
That is when the idea of manufacturing a unique product which can save people’s lives from drowning came. An idea of self-propelled remotely operated life buoy which is designed to be faster than existing devise in deployment and reaching the drowning person, since the golden timeline to save a drowning person is 10-15 seconds.
Several foreign products are available in the market
Taking the cue to Make In India call by the Government they endeavoured to design and manufacture this product in India.
Their vision was to create a product which is indigenously made with the help of Indian engineers and other technicians from various backgrounds.
This led to the birth of Saif Seas – unmanned surface water rescue craft
“Our basic intention behind what we are doing is a to save lives, even in places where nobody is willing to jump to save a person’s life. It is for a noble cause. We at Saif believe that even if we are successful in saving one person’s life our job is done."
Robotics is very widely used in India for manufacturing and in the automobile industry. But when you look at ‘rescue robotics’ it is rarely used in India. It is a very new area of robotics. Drones and other devices which are used only give an indication that there is some problem somewhere. Like with aerial drones you can see if there is a mass gathering or any issue somewhere. It gives you an indication on the situation.
But there is no robot which can actually go in the distressed situation and save people. But our product does that. In case of an unfortunate incident of drowning our product goes towards the person in distress and brings them to safety.”
A unique innovation
The product Saif Seas is a rescue craft which can be remotely operated to go towards a person who might be in distress in any water body. Hence nobody else has to risk their life in order to save another.
It is a multi-disciplinary product including aspects of mechatronics, naval architecture, radio communication, electronics, battery technology, circuit design and composites.
The journey begins
Two brothers both from different backgrounds embarked this journey of being a startup. Aliasgar after completing his engineering degree worked at Bharat Electronics for 3 years and then went further to pursue his masters in mechatronics in Germany.
Taher was from a business background and deals with marine and shipping industry. Combining their skills and under the guidance of their father and his vision of having an innovative product under their fold they set out to create a product which was Made in India, but matched foreign standards.
Problems faced during the inception
While asking about the problems they faced they said that human resource was one of them.
“Retaining engineers is still a challenge for us. It’s a very new area and there are not many skilled people in Visakhapatnam. Sourcing out talent is an issue. What we are working on is time bound hence we require good human resource and self motivated engineers. But despite this challenge we have managed to design our product in just 11 months.”
Funding is a major issue for many startups in India. But they self-funded themselves. They invested their own money in product development and now after winning the Defense India Startup Challenge I (DISC I) they are receiving funding and mentorship from the Ministry of Defence.
Testing, trial and error
No product is perfect. After making it, it has to be tested several times to make sure it will not fail during the time of need.
With Saif Seas they had to be sure that the craft works under any condition and can drive through both still and stormy water.
With each trial they learn from their mistakes and improve their product. Till now they have conducted more than 300 hours of testing and made 21 alterations to make their product stronger.
Competitions and Exhibitions
Apart from winning in the DISC I under the category of “Unmanned Surface/Underwater Vehicle” they have participated in various events.
In the Altair Grand Challenge, they won the 3rd prize and also received a lot of support from them.
In the Def Expo 2020 held in Lucknow they got the opportunity to display their product to the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister of India.
They have also participated in the Vibrant Gujarat Startup Summit, Amravati Makers Fair and Social Media Summit.
How do you plan on manufacturing?
After designing the product, manufacturing it is the next stage. They have set up a modular system. Hence as they start manufacturing, they will prepare each module separately and as the orders flow in all they have to do is assemble the various parts.
The process is person independent hence there are less chances of errors.
This is the story of one of the many startups in India and abroad. This inspires and motivates others to not give up even if they face many problems.
Wishing all the startups the best of luck!
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