The Department of Heavy Industries under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Govt. of India, launched the Center of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at IIT Kharagpur.
DHI signed an MoU with IIT Kharagpur in the august presence of the Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Shri Babul Supriyo on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at Kolkata in this regard. In addition to the Union Minister, Joint Secretary and officials from the Dept. of Heavy Industries, senior administrators from IIT Kharagpur and delegates of partnering industries were also present on the occasion.
Under the visionary guidance of Shri Babul Supriyo, the blueprint of the Center was prepared following an initial meeting at IIT Kharagpur last year. The necessity for the Center has been felt for decades with foreign manufacturers of capital goods exporting to India for higher profitability rather than setting up manufacturing centers in India. This has led to lower levels of technology transfer and a much higher import bill in the capital goods sector.
“A state-of-the-art center on advanced manufacturing technologies in Eastern India has been long overdue. I have intensely felt the need for the resurgence of small and medium scale enterprises in the region, which needs to get more competitive with the rest of the country. My vision is to achieve this through a common platform of academia, corporate houses, and enterprises which must come together in a synergistic way. It is my firm belief that IIT Kharagpur, with its extensive experience in industrial research and incubation, is the best choice to lead this initiative,” said Shri Babul Supriyo.
A key focus of the Center will be to make the Indian Capital Goods Sector globally competitive and support the imminent need to increase the depth in manufacturing through innovation and technology up-gradation in four important areas, namely Speciality materials, Process Automation, Additive manufacturing, and Digital interventions as envisaged in Industry 4.0.
“It was exactly a year back when Shri Babul Supriyo shared his vision with us and visited us at IIT Kharagpur. At the Institute we unanimously agreed that such a Center is the need of the hour. Consequently, we came up with the proposal of the Centre of Excellence on Advanced Manufacturing Technologies for Heavy Industries with a strong focus on the technologies which will usher India into the emerging era of Industry 4.0. The Centre will aim to bridge the divide between the requirements of the leading manufacturing firms of India and the ability of SMEs to meet those requirements in globally competitive terms” said Prof. P P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur.
“It is unique for the leading industrial houses in India to come together to form a consortium and jointly support an academic Center on Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. We chose the consortium model for industrial partnership because the need for an infusion of next-gen technology in the manufacturing sector transcends domestic competition and needs the concerted cooperation of all industrial houses in this sector. The consortium will also enable self-sustainability of the Center beyond the period of DHI support” said Prof Pallab Dasgupta, Dean Sponsored Research, IIT Kharagpur.
The consortium features stellar industrial houses, including Tata Sons, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, TCS, Ramkrishna Forgings, Heavy Engineering Corporation, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and Ampere Vehicles.
“The Center will have state of the art physical infrastructure for Additive manufacturing like 3D printing, Advanced joining facility e.g. robotic and micro friction stir welding, Diagnostic and metrological inspection systems such as CT scan, Industrial IoT with lab facilities for sensors, backend analytics and research. All of these are targeted towards Industry 4.0, the next gen industrial evolution with intelligent machines, health monitoring and connected manufacturing through digital interventions, robotics and automation”, added Prof Surjya K Pal of IIT Kharagpur, the technical lead of the Center.
The Center will also create an ecosystem for indigenization and innovations in the manufacturing sector involving small and medium scale enterprises. The Innovation Lab at the Center will be accessible to SMEs and Startups to gain expertise in modern technology usage and upgradation. The SMEs will receive hands-on training to develop modern technologies and capacity building to boost supply to large-scale industries. This will have a long-term effect leading to import substitution.
Mr. Sanjeev Goenka Chairman of Board of Governors at IIT Kharagpur described and the Center as a great initiative and wished it success. "It is a matter of great honour for IIT to be associated with setting up a Centre of Excellence with another man of excellence, a leader of excellence, Hon’ble Minister Mr. Babul Supriyo. I am told he has been the driving force behind this initiative. It is a special privilege to partner with the Central Government and, in particular, a man known for exceeding expectations, Mr. Babul Supriyo" he said.
The Center has received PPP funding of Rs. 65.19 crore, and is expected to be fully functional by the end of this financial year.