New center launched in IITD for smart manufacturing

In a major step that will help India become a global player in the field of smart manufacturing, a center of excellence was inaugurated at IIT Delhi on Monday to optimally use the resources and technology for boosting productivity. The center brings together academia, government and industry on a common platform to meet the changing demands of manufacturing in order for it to be competitive and free of defects.

Smart manufacturing marries technological prowess with human intelligence for producing an innovative ecosystem to meet the challenges of the global market. It aims to optimally use the data, resources and integrate the different components for best viability.

The Common Engineering Facility Center (CEFC) to be built with a fund of Rs 30 crore comes under the ambit of the ‘Samarth Udyog’ initiative mooted by the Department of Heavy Industry (GOI). In May 2017, IITD signed a formal partnership with the Automation Industry Association (AIA) for building the platform for innovative and smart manufacturing. The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises will be the nodal government body for facilitating the same.

The collaboration is aimed to develop a national educational curriculum and skill building programme through a vibrant incubation and administrative environment. Technology enabled Manufacturing, or Industry 4.0 as it is referred is a revolution in manufacturing and consumption. It alters the way decisions are made regarding what to produce, where to produce, when to produce and how much to produce.

Lauding the initiative, Mr Girish Shankar, Secretary, and Department of Heavy Industry said, "To make our industrial activity fit and prepared for global competitiveness we have to grow fast and in an inclusive manner. Our Capital Goods Scheme of encouraging Common Engineering Facilities is aimed at bringing the best talent in one place and from there disseminating it far and wide to the different industry clusters."

Maintaining that the 4th Industrial Revolution had already kick-started, Mr Shankar said that we cannot afford to miss the bus and have to suitably adopt and change ourselves. “Involve as many member of industries as possible. The litmus test will be the adoption of the tangible results of forays like these by the end user industry. We have to respond to the needs of the customers and for this, all the latest technology is needed. I congratulate each and every partner who has made this possible.”

Welcoming the collaborative effort, Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director IIT Delhi said that the vibrant platform would bolster technological growth. “IITD brings in the strength of a cross-disciplinary team that will help our students and researchers participate in the new industrial revolution. Manufacturing will play a pivotal role for the economy. The adoption of cutting edge technology is the need of the hour for manufacturing. We need to work with each other and ultimately it will be a win- win situation for all of us.”

Speaking on the role of Automation Industry Association, Mr. Dilip Sawhney, Managing Director, Rockwell Automation said that technology had a broader connotation and understanding the local market was essential. “An ecosystem has been built that has all the requisite ingredients. The partnerships between tech companies and academia will fructify and lots can be achieved from this collaboration. We have the contributions of several MNCs and local industry, who are helping us kick-start with suitable technologies, industrial manufacturing practices and equipment from different parts of the globe. This will give strength to the' platform and inspire start-ups to ideate, prototype and conduct proof of concept trials at significantly lower costs.”

Mr. Vinnie Mehta, Director General, Automotive Component Manufactures Association of India(ACMA), said, "We are delighted to have such a platform available to our members and are now looking at faster rollout of our Digitization programme for Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. We will like to see many more centers like this.”

Earlier welcoming all,the Dean R&D, Prof B R Mehta said that the collaboration will have a huge impact on the research ecosystem.