IIT KGP to Drive MSME Innovations

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IIT Kharagpur is all set to build Eastern India’s first Industrial Research and Innovation Unit for MSMEs and Start-ups. The Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Industrial Research and Innovation Unit of the DHI Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology at IIT Kharagpur was held in the august presence of Shri Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises on February 3, 2019.

Setting up a state-of-the-art centre for manufacturing in Eastern India was a vision of Shri Babul Supriyo which will enable our top industries to compete with the best, rejuvenate the industries which are shutting down, motivate IITians to lead hi-tech manufacturing. The Centre, which was launched in November 2017 aims to stimulate the innovation to manufacture smart machines in the capital goods sector for sustainable products having higher productivity with reduced cost.

“The challenge is to deliver quality products with high-end technologies at an affordable and competitive price. To ensure that the MSMEs and the industrial partners can do that, R&D needs to be done in a state-of-the-art way,” he remarked.

The 40000 sq.ft Industrial Research and Innovation Unit will house high-end industrial equipment such as Industry 4.0 enabled robotic welding facility, Industry scale CT scan machine, Hybrid additive manufacturing facility for industrial jobs, Robotic 3D laser scanner for structural vibration testing and many more. It will support activities such as Design, fabrication and automation of manufacturing, Digital manufacturing and Industrial IoT, Specialty materials, and Additive manufacturing.

“We have brought in people from various domains such as materials, processes, designers, AI and data sciences and also formed a consortium including industries, DHI and our board of governors to ensure sustainability of this initiative. IIT Kharagpur has decided to set up a state-of-the-art industrial manufacturing shed which will house advanced machinery for further technological development and also sample industry 4.0 factory which will become a training and production point for all manufacturers in the country. One of our goals is to invent Make in India products for India and abroad for which we will have to unleash innovations through this Innovation Centre,” said Prof. P P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur.

Further to these, an Innovation Lab has been built to promote the culture of innovation and open engineering facilitating MSMEs and Start-ups to avail end-to-end support from the experts including access to various state-of-the-art facilities for early prototyping of their product. Prof. Surjya K Pal, Professor-in-Charge of DHI Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology emphasized the activity of training the MSMEs to enable capacity building and technology infusion and catalyze start-ups towards innovation-based modern manufacturing. “The industry partners will table their niche problems which would be addressed through bringing innovation in manufacturing,” he said.

While it is seed funded by the Department of Heavy Industry of Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India, a consortium of top industry members in the country have partnered in various activities at the Centre including Tata Sons, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, TCS, HEC Ranchi, and BHEL. Few more industrial houses have expressed interest in joining the consortium, confirmed Prof. Chakrabarti.

“Setting up of DHI Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology with the state-of-the-art facilities is a great step in advancing the research and technology development in manufacturing when the whole world is focusing on Industry 4.0. The centre has been set up at the most appropriate time and I believe that the expertise that is available at IIT Kharagpur will certainly lead to a new direction with a clear paradigm shift,” said Deputy Director of IIT Kharagpur, Prof. S K Bhattacharyya.

The Centre currently involves faculty experts from the departments of Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials Engineering. Expertise will also be sought from various other specialized units at IIT Kharagpur at a later stage to facilitate the start-ups and MSMEs confirmed Prof. Pal.

The total cost of the project is Rs. 65.19 crore. The Ministry has granted initial funding of Rs. 47.62 crore. Additional funding of Rs. 17.57 crore is being raised from the industrial partners through projects. IIT Kharagpur has already provided land, technological and infrastructural support to the extent of Rs. 25 crore.

The Centre will also launch short-term courses on Advanced welding methods, Additive manufacturing, and Industry 4.0. The Centre is providing high-value fellowship to the doctoral scholars working on those topics.

Photo Credit: Arnab Moitra

By Shreyoshi Ghosh

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