Benjamin Obeng is the founder and CEO of 3Dinkra a 3D printing startup in Ghana and also the Lead Additive Manufacturing Technician at Siemens Healthineers.
In an interview with limitless motivation Benjamin Obeng recounted how he founded 3Dinkra, one of Ghana’s thriving 3D printing Start-Up in the gold refinery space. According to Benjamin he has always been fascinated with the 3D printer since the time he got to understand what they can do and how they work. While studying Mechanical Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Benjamin heard about and had seen a 3D printer once and since the 3D technology was just newly introduced in KNUST at the time he did not really know about it.
However, Benjamin’s curiosity was awakened when he came across the 3D printer again while pursuing his masters at the Arizona State University and he ensured he learnt all he could about the 3D printer. And when he discovered 3D printing was free in the MakersSpace a school facility at the university he visited this facility almost everyday to the extent that the manager decided to give him a job there. The manager thought to do so because according to him Benjamin visited the facility even more than the student workers. Benjamin embraced the opportunity which also exposed him to learning more about 3D printing and 3D printers. How to repair them, how to assemble them, their different brands and the magnitude of things it could do. Benjamin bought 3D printers with part of the stipend he was receiving and by the time he graduated he was able to buy about 6 3D printers.
According to Benjamin having seen the potential and huge impact the 3D printer and printing could have on emerging markets particularly how it can help boost Africa’s manufacturing sector. Knowing that there is a huge manufacturing gap in Africa Benjamin believes that the 3D printing technology can help bridge that gap quickly. According to Benjamin using the 3D printer eliminates most of the production cost for instance, tools costs, you are not constrained a lot by design or huge setup cost. An example is when an entrepreneur who wanted to set a robotex club in Ghana reached out to 3Dinkra because purchasing the robotics kits in the USA and shipping it to Ghana is very expensive, so they reached out to Benjamin and his team to help them 3D print the parts in Ghana a project that was a success.
The 3Dinkra company officially started when Benjamin brought some of 3D printers to Ghana and conducted proof of concepts on different markets and discovered that the casting or jewelery market is one which could benefit immensely from the 3D technology. According to Benjamin, Ghanaian jewelers usually ship raw gold to China and India where they have the machineries to make jewelries, these foreign companies make the jeweleries and then ship them back to Ghana for the jewellers to sell.
Benjamin was distraught that Ghana being the world’s 7th largest producer of gold and Africa’s number one gold producer does not generate that much revenue as compared to other Gold producing countries. And the reason being that Ghana only participates in the lower level of the supply chain. The country is not actively participating in the refinery, the casting and the polishing of gold, sectors which are apparently the highest revenue generators. “There is an entire leaking supply chain” Benjamin reiterated. Motivated to cause a change Benjamin therefore decided to set up a business that will harness the enormous capabilities of the 3D printer to help boost Ghana’s gold manufacturing sector and that was how 3Dinkra came to being. At the moment 3Dinkra is partnering with local jewellers to disrupt the sector in Ghana with 3D printing Technology. 3Dinkra prints jewelries, makes customised designs and world class designs that would have rather requested sophisticated machineries. A major point too is that 3Dinkra is able to tell the culture in those designs.
Aside the jewelery market, 3Dinkra has also worked with 37 military hospital, Okonfo Anokye hospital and Korle-bu to help fight against Covid-19. They worked with since all borders were closed an the was no way to import some of these parts Benjamin and his team help 3D print broken parts of some appliances, for them. They also donated 3D printed face shields and make.
Benjamin has no plan of slowing and stopping now, he has also founded Zyleme and VBeck; Zyleme is an online platform that allows people in Africa to order items on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and delivered to them. And VBeck is a startup that makes Vtile, a patent pending integrated building materials that generates electricity from temperature difference.
Brief Biography of Benjamin
Benjamin had his Primary and Junior High School education at Cosmos Basic School, and his Senior High School education at St Thomas Aquinas. Benjamin graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Arizona State University
Benjamin’s Final words: Our today is a reflection of the actions we took yesterday and so will our future be that which we do today; so be mindful of the choices you make. Secondly, don’t be afraid to dream big because it is free and whatever you do, try to at least work on your dream and God will grant the growth. We are young and not tied down by a lot of responsibilities so there is no better time to do it than now. For most of us, the opportunities in failure is more than to do nothing, and so the only way is forward. There are two ways to get to a particular height. Either you jump, or you grow. But know that when you jump, gravity will definitely bring you down. But when we grow through life with all the receipts of failure and resilience, they become data points for a bright tomorrow.
You can get in touch with Benjamin Obeng on Linkedin @ Benjamin Obeng