STIMS Institute Supports Development and Implementation of Diagnostic Tools for Manufacturing Processes


We gratefully acknowledge the opportunity to collaborate with the research team at IIT – Madras along with the industrial partner (Micromatic Grinding Technologies – MGTL). This collaboration has resulted in the development of a portable/mobile diagnostic tool for precision grinding processes, in a record time. The tool has been developed at IIT – Madras and has been validated in the industry through MGTL. This tool has also been used as a tool for the past three years, for teaching grinding science for use by practice oriented engineers and managers in leading manufacturing companies in India. We also acknowledge the collaboration with IMTMA – an industry organization. This is an excellent example of Knowledge Integration and development of manufacturing eco-system based on Inter-industry collaboration, promoted by the STIMS Institute as the foundation for Next Generation Manufacturing.

Performance Analysis of Cylindrical Grinding Process with a Portable Diagnostic Tool

AIMTDR-O0582 Performance Analysis of Cylindrical Grinding Process with a Portable Diagnostic Tool

Authors:  Vairamuthu1, M Brij Bhushan2, R. Srikanth1, N. Ramesh Babu3* — 1Research Scholar, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, — 2Engineer, Micromatic Grinding Technologies Limited, Bangalore; — 3*Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600 036,

Abstract:       This paper presents an approach to develop a diagnostic tool that can monitor the power drawn by the spindle motor using a power sensor and infeed of grinding wheel using a linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) in cylindrical grinding machine. A combination of spindle power and wheel infeed measurement enables the performance evaluation of grinding process.  This evaluation suggests the possibility of optimizing the grinding cycle in order to enhance the efficiency of grinding process. The effectiveness of the developed in-process, portable diagnostic tool is demonstrated with a case study.

Acknowledgements:     The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India for rendering the financial support to this project. We are extremely grateful to Dr. K. (Subbu), Subramanian, President STIMS Institute Inc., USA, for continuous support through mentoring of team and thought provoking discussions at different stages of this work. We are indeed fortunate to have a strong industrial partnership with Micromatic Grinding Technologies Limited, Bangalore. We are highly indebted to Mr. N K Dhand, Chairman, Micromatic Grinding Technologies Limited for his unrelenting support and encouragement to this activity. We wish to acknowledge the support given by Mr. P J Mohanram, IMTMA, Bangalore during the developmental work.

Sector specific education offered successfully for third year in a row!

We started 2 years ago an initiative in collaboration with  IMTMA (Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Association).

The purpose is to upgrade the knowledge of  middle & senior level manufacturing engineers with the basic elements of “Systems Thinking of the Manufacturing Processes”, that they deal with every day at the work place. While the “Economics”(OEE or productivity) of these processes is their daily concern, the “Engineering” solutions they work out often lack the “Science”  & science-based fundamentals, which alone can help these engineers “Optimise the Process as a System”.

Encouraged by the success of previous two programs, first one launched in South at Bangalore, India in 2012 & repeated in the North at Delhi in 2013, IMTMA  decided to take this program to the West this time. The 3rd program was scheduled at Pune from 19-22 Nov. as per details attached.

Dr. Subbu Subramanian is PhD from MIT-USA, with working experience of over 30 years. He worked at Ford Motor Co. & was the International Director of R&D at Saint-Gobain Ltd. (earlier Norton USA). Now he is the President of STIMS Institute Inc., USA. Through this company he teaches and trains professionals on System Thinking and Knowledge Integration.  He is collaborating with IMTMA, MGT & also with IIT-M Chennai for helping Indian Industries understand & adopt “Systems Approach to Manufacturing”-starting with the Grinding Process. Details are given in the attached brochure with a link of a video of an “interview with Dr. Subbu”  & another link of last year’s “participants feedback”

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The success of this program can be seen from the participant feed back.

Overall Evaluation:              
      Excellent Very Good Good Average Poor
      -5 -4 -3 -2 -1
Relevance of Topics     67% 19% 15%   –    – 
Contents     59% 30% 11%   –    – 
Information in presentations     44% 44% 11%   –    – 
Usefulness of this program     48% 48% 4%   –    – 
Physical arrangements (Venue, Food, etc.)              
      56% 30% 15%   –    – 
Your views on lab, Exercise/Practical Session(s)               
      37% 41% 22%   –    – 
Name the presentation(s) or aspect of this program you liked :              
1. The presentation involving the microscopic interactions.              
2. Practical Test & Presentation Sessions              
3. Group Exercise, Trouble Shooting, Measure Analysis              
4. Asking – Why?              
5. Dr.Subbu’s Presentation              
6. Introduction about Abrasives              
7. Knowledge & experience shared by Dr.Subbu is excellent.              
8. Approach towards solving problems by scientific and also Technical way.              
9. The system approach for industrial process.              
What percentage of content presented at this training programme were new to you? 
    More than 25%   Less than 25%       
    89%   11%      

Future of Manufacturing and Core capability Development

ManufacturingSome of the trends noted as the future of manufacturing are:

1. Manufacturing process as a critical core competence

2. “Product as a service”,  as a core part of the overall value proposition.

3, Remote Diagnostics

4. Sensor driven data as the basis for product and service Innovation

More details on these evolving core capabilities can be seen at the end.

We at STIMS Institute execute projects and offer programs for companies – big and small – to advance their internal capabilities and work force skills to position themselves as leaders in each of these emerging growth areas in manufacturing. Unlike most other companies we do not offer a “strategy” and leave the implementation in your hands. Instead we work from end to end, from concept to commercial impact.

As a recent example we identified precision grinding process as a core competence for an auto parts manufacturer. Recognizing that a specific grinding process was the bottle neck operation, we used our process signal monitor to obtain the vital signs of the process. The signal was further used by our expert team trained in the System Approach for Manufacturing processes, to optimize the process and reduce the cycle time by over 40%. This in turn translated into a direct increase in line through put by 40% without any additional capital or plant and equipment investment required!

For more details please contact us

Details on evolving core capabilities in manufacturing:

1. Manufacturing process as a critical core competence: In the case of global agricultural-equipment manufacturer Deere Inc., a key driver for the tractor-manufacturing strategy hinged on drive trains, says Pat Pinkston, Vice President for Global Platform Services for the firm’s Agriculture and Turf Division. The complexities involved in the drive train manufacturing are:

  • The size and configuration of the drive train
  • Customers want different types of transmissions (power shift, infinitely variable, collar shift, or low cost) as part of the overall drive-train package. A further challenge was Deere’s competitive decision
  • Lead-time for building a drive train from 40-50 days to one week.

These layers of complexity quickly made it apparent that the Machining of drive-train castings and gears had to be a core internal competence for the company. That one strategic decision rippled across the length and breadth of Deere’s revamped Waterloo, Iowa manufacturing facility. “We’ve got to continually understand what’s core, what’s non-core, and as the technologies, business, and customer requirements shift, be able to reassess and figure out how to integrate all that in a way that allows us to differentiate.”

2. “Product as a service” as a core part of their overall value proposition.  Rolls Royce no longer just sells airplane engines to its customers. It has a service-based offering called TotalCare that sells only the hours that each engine is in service. From scheduled maintenance to overall management, Rolls Royce guarantees an engine’s performance by taking responsibility for its operations. TotalCare transfers the risks and costs associated with an engine being offline to the vendor, thereby making reliability and uptime major incentives for both the customer and Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce is part of their overall value proposition.

The aerospace/defense industry (74%) and medical device manufacturers (70%) plan to lead with performance-based contracts. Similar to the Rolls Royce TotalCare solution, these contracts are about a customer paying a vendor based on performance against a set of defined metrics.

3. Remote Diagnostics: Ingersoll Rand’s Ohio-based Trane Intelligence Systems, data from 10,000 pieces of  HVAC equipment around the world are managed remotely. Remote diagnostics enable Trane Intelligence Systems to know ahead of time when HVAC filters need to be changed, when oil or bearings are starting to wear, and when Trane should plan for maintenance. Harvesting this data from operations enables more efficient service scheduling for Trane while maintaining uptime across customer premises.

But along the way to better product maintenance, Trane Intelligence Systems realized that the same diagnostic data could be used to adjust the internal temperature of buildings in order to extract better energy use from the equipment. Given that air conditioning can amount to 40% of a commercial customer’s total energy bill, this is not an inconsiderable value proposition.

 4. Sensor driven data as the basis for product and service Innovation: After several product generations spent improving the core compressor design of its Copeland Scroll line of refrigeration units, Emerson’s Climate Systems unit made a strategic decision to focus on sensor-based diagnostics as a differentiator. According to Charles Peters, Senior Executive Vice President at Emerson, the initial reason for equipping the compressors with sensors was to measure use and changes in electric amperage, which is often an indicator measure for a variety of performance or fault conditions.

Source: Manufacturing Transformation – Achieving competitive advantage in a changing global marketplace


Message on Manufacturing Day!

mfg day

      Today (October 3, 2014) has been declared as the “Manufacturing Day”. We offer a few thoughts and a message from the STIMS Institute along with a few examples of our accomplishment for the advancement of Manufacturing across the globe. Manufacturing today is more than making the stuff! Yes, manufacturing is part of a continuum I concept, design and development. It is the step prior to marketing and revenue generation. Beyond that “manufacturing” continues to be a black box! The biggest issue that has been identified as the problem for the growth in manufacturing is the availability of suitable work force for the modern manufacturing operations. Manufacturing is a collection of processes. Each process is an “input/transformation/output” system. The “transformation” or manipulation of the physical events is at the heart of any manufacturing activity. The knowledge, know-how and skill pertaining to the manipulation of the pertinent transformation and the skilled workers who can manage this effort are the core needs. Such need is abundant and wide spread across the globe. The development of such work force requires Knowledge Integration as the core skill. Recently STIMS Institute conducted a small experiment. We trained two young graduates in India, fresh out of college after their UG degree. The training period was about for eighteen months. The training consisted of mapping the industrial manufacturing processes, as a system. They were equipped with the tools and ability to diagnose the vital signals of specific processes. They were then introduced to an auto parts manufacturer, for whom a specific operation (OD Grinding) was the bottle neck operation. By systematically exploring this process and the reasons for the longer cycle time, this young team was able to reduce the cycle time by over 40%. The net result was an increase in line through put of over 20%! Two young engineers adequately trained in the System Thinking and Transformational Skills, with a suitable diagnostic tool and less than a week of work achieved the line throughput increase of over 20%, while maintaining all quality parameters and with no requirement for additional capital investment! The core capability of the team was the Knowledge Integration skills that combined the knowledge of a machine tool builder, technical staff on the shop floor, a global expert – all brought together through in-process data and its scientific analysis and understanding. We at STIMS Institute also believe that Product Innovation, Process Innovation and Applications Innovation are the true growth engines for any manufacturing company. To this end we have been collaborating with Mass MEP and mentoring professionals to foster manufacturing Innovation through an array of Process Innovation capabilities.

Work Force development for the 21st century manufacturing has to focus on two critical trends: The evolution of the Binary Economy and the relentless need for enhancement of Professional Effectiveness of individual employees as well as that of organizations and Enterprises. To promote and convey these concepts we have recently published a book that highlights these needs and the resultant capabilities required. We have also translated these into educational courses for UG students and work shop for industrial clients. We have also incorporated some of these ideas through news articles, special lectures for students and practicing engineers and managers.

To quote one of our students in an M.B.A. course at Southern New Hampshire university: “This is my final class of my MS program at SNHU. Prof. Subramanian is the one professor of them all that has pushed my critical thinking to the limit! He makes us THINK!!!!!!!!! I have been in management for approx 15 years and it’s like he turned on a switch in my mind that makes me look at what I do and how I do it, in a whole different light! I am so grateful that I got to meet him and be a mental sponge around him for 10 weeks!”

Looking into the future the path is clear – One cannot live and prosper in the “Knowledge Economy” without systematically integrating knowledge available from every source. Also one cannot be successful through manufacturing economy without an emphasis on the science of the manufacturing processes and their systematic exploitation.These apply to individual workers as much as they apply to the industrial organizations, enterprises and the nation as a whole. Due commitment for development of such knowledge based workers and their systematic deployment MUST be the focus of all – from educators, to national leaders. This is not an easy task, since everyone who proclaims to  contribute to “manufacturing economy” and growth in manufacturing sector has to go through this education by themselves at first. This will require a level of modesty and genuine commitment placed at the altar of Knowledge Integration.

Are you a Predator, Enslaver, Competitor, Cooperator or Collaborator? How about your business philosohpy?

Recently I came across an on-line survey:
Take a PtC Survey — “Compare Your Collaboration Type” & “Motivations that Drive Collaboration”

The survey and the report (which you see after taking the survey), indicates that:

• Most people think that they are collaborators or cooperators.
• Also one needs to know the distinction between Collaborator and cooperator.

  • When you know this difference, one will realize that mere cooperation is not the same as collaboration.

Yet, in life we find several who are fierce competitors, as well as enslavers and predators. Why does this happen?
In my experience this is due to a lack of the big picture and constant emphasis on it – the system thinking, which is a relentless focus on what one should do (The Technical Outputs) instead on the why this should be done? (The Stake holder benefits or system outputs), It is a shift away from being task oriented individuals and function as the system oriented problem solvers. Thanks to IT based automation, we are all driven more and more into task oriented automatons, at a time when Collaboration is the king and key for success. The result of such collaboration MUST be higher PE Score.

Then how do we make people change? Everyone at every level needs an infusion of the System Thinking together with a clear method to reduce it to practice. Along with that they need a set of additional skills – the Transformational Skills. One of the TS is what we call as the Emotional Intelligence for Innovation(EII). It implies that I work for your success and in turn you work for my success – which is the true spirit of Collaboration.

To develop a Common Language (Another Transformational Skill) we could say:
Predator — I want to win at all cost
Enslaver — I want to win and make you work for me to get there.
Competitor — I want to win, you need to fend for yourself.
Cooperator — I want to win along with you.
Collaborator — I will let you win, but I trust that you will make me win as well.

Now what is your business philosophy? – Are you a predator, enslaver, competitor, cooperator or collaborator? What is your professional philosophy?
Are you and is your business well equipped to function as a collaborator? To co-create value?

The report also implies that cooperation is more of a response to threat or directives or mandates. Hence it is more task-driven, Vs. Collaboration, which is more driven by Mission, Vision and goals.

Don’t expect your M,V and G executed and implemented well until you teach the tools of Collaboration (i.e.) System Thinking and Transformational Skills.
Need help? Want to collaborate? Contact us.