The nine projects being handled by IIT Kharagpur’s DHI Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology in partnership with some premier private and public sector companies are destined to change the face of the manufacturing industry in India. From evolving new specialty materials, a fully automated system to monitor and control all activities on the shop-floor in large industrial units, setting up a 3D metal additive manufacturing facility for the heavy engineering sectors to developing selection guideline for materials, processes or process parameters for additive manufacturing that will enhance the capability of partner industries to bring a variety of automotive products quickly in the market, a variety of fields are being explored through these projects.
The Centre was set up at IIT Kharagpur in November 2017 by the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Govt. of India, in November 2017 to strengthen the country’s capital goods sector through a constant upgradation of manufacturing technology and technology transfer to industry, particularly to MSMEs. Since then, the Centre has initiated the setting up of an Industrial Research and Innovation Unit for MSMEs and an Innovation Lab that houses several state-of-the-art facilities critical to the R&D being undertaken at the Centre. The 2nd review meeting held recently at IIT Kharagpur and attended by officials of DHI as well as the partner industries, also revealed that the projects were on the right track.
At the review meeting, which also saw the inauguration of the boardroom of the Centre, Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur, said, “This Centre is a dream project of the Institute and its success will only bring happiness when the technology developed at this Centre will be incorporated in the products by the industry.”
That may well be so. All the projects at the Centre have been undertaken in partnership with the industry members of the consortium that works with the Centre. In one of the projects with TATA Steel, the Centre is developing a multi-sensor integrated robotic system for hazardous jobs in the manufacturing industry. In another project with HEC, Ranchi, the Centre is trying to evolve an advanced technique that will help HEC produce more sophisticated, clean, defect free, and tough welds. The project with TATA Sons aims at building a framework for the implementation of IoT in supply chain management, in manufacturing operating efficiency, in predictive maintenance, and in inventory optimization that will help heavy industrial assembly see a step increase in productivity by just knowing where the component parts are when they are needed.
The DHI Centre is driving research along the four areas critical to the manufacturing industry in the country – Specialty materials, Design and automation, Additive manufacturing, and Digital manufacturing & Industrial IoT. The projects are based on these verticals. Both DHI and the industry partners of the Centre are happy with the progress of the projects. At the 2nd review meeting, Mr Sanjay Chavre of DHI stated, “This Centre is particularly aimed at cutting edge technologies such as additive manufacturing, IoT and others.” He thus pressed for their regular review. Dr. Tanushyam Chattopadhyay of TCS, which is also in the consortium, commented, “This centre is a win-win situation for both academia as well as the industry partners.”
Prof. Surjya K. Pal, Professor in charge of the Centre, said, “We are also about to launch short term courses on CNC training, Composite 4.0, Advanced welding techniques, Industry 4.0 and Additive manufacturing. These training programs/short-term courses will have lecture sessions delivered by academic and industry personnel.”
Prof. Pallab Dasgupta, Dean, Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy, of IIT Kharagpur said, “Technologies that are outside the core competency of the manufacturing industries often require disruptive changes to find alternatives to optimize the manufacturing activities. The Centre is dedicated to finding these transformational alternatives.”
The ground-breaking ceremony of the Centre’s Industrial Research and Innovation Unit for MSMEs and Start-ups was held on February 3, 2019, in the presence of Mr Babul Supriyo, then Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. Among the major objectives of the Centre is to create an ecosystem for indigenization and innovations in the manufacturing sector involving small and medium scale enterprises.
Graphics : Suman Sutradhar