Revannth Murugesan, founder of Leeds-based Antonym, told The Yorkshire Post that Covid has led to a shortage of parts and spares.
He said: “Gone are the days when we used to talk about cost effective manufacturing in China. Today you can cost effectively, locally manufacture parts in the UK as well. That’s what a lot of companies have realised after Covid-19.”
Antonym has created a cloud manufacturing software solution that connects companies with an existing infrastructure of metal 3D printers.
“We have a huge ecosystem of titanium and aluminium 3D printers that are spread all around the world,” Mr Murugesan says. “We essentially connect companies who want to manufacture locally with these printers.”
The network of 3D printers in and around Yorkshire is underestimated, the entrepreneur believes.
Mr Murugesan said: “Something that a lot of people don’t realise is that the availability of 3D printing has really matured. In Leeds we have a lot of metal 3D printers. We work with a supplier in Tockwith, York.”
In addition to speeding up the supply chain, 3D printing can also play a role in cutting down warehousing costs with businesses able to manufacture as and when needed.
Another key consideration is the miles that parts manufactured overseas clock up before being delivered to the customer.
Mr Murugesan said: “A 14,000 mile shipping journey costs a lot of money, produces a lot of emissions and this has often been overlooked.”
Prior to setting up Antonym, the entrepreneur had another business called Carbon Performance, which specialised in 3D printed car parts.
Mr Murugesan said: “With a hardware company it was really hard to scale. We realised that companies really wanted to bring manufacturing back to the UK because of supply chain issues.”
He took inspiration from the supposed Mark Twain quote that ‘in a Gold Rush you’d rather be selling shovels than be digging for gold’.
Mr Murugesan added: “We had a software solution in the old company. It’s essentially a different company that we are selling the software solution to.”
An early start for the innovator
Revannth Murugesan is originally from the Tamil Nadu region in the south of India.
He moved to Yorkshire in 2016 after the University of Leeds endorsed him for a two year graduate entrepreneur programme.
Mr Murugesan, who then secured an innovator visa, says he has always been entrepreneurial.
At the age of 12 he “pestered” his father to buy him a 3D printer. He said: “I used to come back from boarding school on the weekends and 3D print custom accessories for my sister and my sister’s friends. I made a lot of money out of it but I spent all of it on XBoxes and Playstations, which was not so wise.”