Professionals in every field must constantly equip themselves with the latest skills to achieve new solutions for process problems.
Being adept at ‘Transformational skills’ and ‘system thinking’ constitutes a lifelong learning strategy required to develop a stream of New Solutions, a must to survive and succeed in the 21st century economy
Who exactly are ‘intrepreneurs’?
We hear a constant drum beat for professionals to be entrepreneurial, capable of handling a variety of jobs and problems. This is in total contrast to the standardized
and de-skilled task-oriented replication activities. There are many opportunities to integrate knowledge from various sources – from other workers, knowledge available across departments, with the suppliers as well as with the customers or end-users. The advent of smart phones, Facebook, Google and other search engines also augment this ability to aggregate information from across the globe and convert them into new knowledge. The result is a “new solution” of high added value. They are heralded as “entrepreneurial”. The new term used for such entrepreneur working inside a company – as opposed to a startup operation – is “Intrepreneur”.
Life Long Learning Strategy:
Modern Manufacturing India, a Publication of the Indian Machine Tool Manufactusers Association (IMTMA) carries the cover page article authored by STIMS Institute. This article provides a strategy for life long learning for entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs.
We were invited to present a Key Note lecture on August 5, 2017 at the Chinese Conference on Abrasives Technology at Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China. Inserted below are main points, some images and a link to the full presentation.
To address the limited capability among Indian machine tool manufacturers to produce high precision machines, a model on Next Generation Precision Grinder (NGPG) has been developed. This project also illustrates the development of a collaboration frame work to integrate the expertise available with the Indian machine tool manufacturers, academic resources, etc with the knowledge available from across the globe.
Key lessons learned:
Cooperative R&D is entirely possible between industry and academic/R&D institutions in India as long as everyone is focused on the same common goal (i.e.) advancement of academic knowledge that supports commercially viable end results.
Such an approach is most appropriate for medium to long term R&D projects (3-5 years), not those requiring immediate development.
At higher reaches of technology, the scientific inputs can only be brought by academia, since industry – especially the SMEs – mostly does not have the needed resources.
There are tools and resources available from Govt. funded agencies that could be deployed by students and industry professionals. Developing such eco-system enhances efficiency and reduces the total cost and investments needed in such projects.
A structured project with system thinking leading to clearly laid down quantified objectives stands a good chance of success.
There must be a driver each from industry and academia, who make it their personal mission to complete the project successfully.
7. It is essential for the industry and academic institution to continuously interact and jointly work on the project at every stage. Such collaboration also benefits from engagement of organizations, such as IMTMA and international experts in knowledge integration.
A free exchange of information and data is essential, without being worried about Intellectual Property (IP) confidentiality at every stage. This can be secured through a mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) at the start.
If properly reviewed and managed periodically (as by the PRMC), it is possible to complete such projects within the time and budget allotted.
Education, Process Innovation and End to End Innovation are the focus areas of STIMS Institute. Each of these three focus areas are interconnected. education that is merely academic is less valuable today in the world where more than 80% of what is needed can be obtained through Google. Today education has to be holistic (i.e.) system oriented. That implies scientific fundamentals together with an emphasis on application of the science and the strategic reasoning required to make such education relevant and useful in the real world. Such Education was offered for the fourth year in a row . This leads to over 100 senior engineers, managers and teachers trained to meet the high end professional needs in the manufacturing sector.
This year the course was offered under the GIAN (Global Initiative for Academic Network) program at IIT – Madras, India.
Why should we grind?
Critical and enduring role of physical processes like grinding in manufacturing and especially in Precision Components Manufacturing
Examples of grinding processes used in a wide variety of:
Work materials, machines, components and applications
Role of grinding processes in traditional applications as well as emerging needs like high efficiency IC engines, computer parts, LED, PV and wind energy components manufacturing.
The System Approach to Grinding Processes:
Every process is an Input / Transformation / Output system
“Transformation” represents the Science of the Process
System Approach requires integration of Science, Engineering and Strategy
Grinding Processes are Input /Transformation / Output systems for surface generation to meet critical functional needs and process economics.
The Science of grinding: The microscopic interactions that occur at the grinding zone and their quantification
Inputs to the grinding process and how they impact the microscopic interactions:
Work Materials and components
Abrasive and dressing tools, coolants and other consumables
Machine Tools (key element of investment and process design)
Process parameters (that are selected as part of process design and can be changed at the shop floor )
Measurement and Analysis of grinding processes
Hands on laboratory exercises
Tutorials and analytical and data driven problem solving
Technical Outputs – What are the requirements to be met when using grinding processes
System Outputs – the Why? strategic and economic considerations pertaining to grinding processes
Application of the System Approach – Case Studies
Truing & Dressing of CBN grinding wheels
Optimal use of CBN grinding solutions
Simple Solid Shape (S^3) grinding – High MRR low WIP, short lead time and flexible processes
Processes for micro – chip, magnetic head and LED substrate fabrication.
Machining to Grinding Processes
Data driven process solutions.
Optimization in the development og new machine tools for grinding process solutions.
Guest Lectures from Industry and academic leaders on the need and role of System Approach for manufacturing processes.
This course was a team effort in collaboration with Prof. Ramesh Babu, IIT – M, Mr. Sudheendra – a research student for his Ph.D program and Mr. Anant Jain – R&D manager, Micromatic Grinding Technologies, a well recognized Precision Grinding Machine manufacturer.
Traditionally grinding process is treated as something very complex and known only to a few with many years of experience and with specialised skills in the shop floor. A portable diagnostic tool and interpreting the process signal is changing the situation and helping to reduce such challenges faced in grinding.
“It is like using a torch light in a dark ally. Once the light of the signal shines, we can see the path more clearly and easily,” states Dr Subramanian.
“Further analysis of the signals and explaining the variations in terms of the microscopic interactions that occur in the grinding zone, brings the science of grinding to the shop floor,” according to Dr K (Subbu) Subramanian, President, STIMS Institute Inc, USA. He has been mentoring this work at IIT Madras and its subsequent transfer for industrial use. This work at IIT Madras has been carried out as part of a larger project, “Development of Next Generation High Precision Grinding Machine Tool,” funded by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. Prof Ramesh Babu is the principal investigator of this project along with his students at IIT Madras. MGTL, an industrial partner in this project is commercializing this mobile diagnostic tool as Grind TrakTM.
In a recent example, a grinding process was the bottleneck operation, limiting the production of the entire line. By looking at the signals obtained and analyzing them, it was determined that the cycle time for this operation can be reduced resulting in a net increase in line throughput of 40%, without the need for any additional investments.
“Next generation of manufacturing will require smart and well qualified people using portable diagnostic tools and techniques very much like the medical field. In this regard, the Grind TrakTM will serve as the stethoscope and thermometer for this new generation of grinding professionals”, asserts Dr Subramanian.
Recently, I had a leak in the hot water tank in our house. Fortunately the hot water tank in my house is located on the basement floor. So, the damage was only modest. As one would in a situation like this I called the plumber. The company I contract with is a one man operation. he was away on vacation. But, he had arranged one of his fellow plumbers – another one man operation – to follow up on the calls. The back up plumber came to my house, checked my hot water tank, followed up with my primary contact, got all the paper work, figured out that the tank can be replaced on warranty. He had used the camera in his phone – mobile diagnostic tool – to take pictures and document the details to communicate with the manufacturer. When he informed me of all this it was time for me to travel. He said not to worry. He offered me a suggestion to turn off the water, while I was away and scheduled the hot water tank replacement work, as soon as I returned. No sooner had I returned the plumber was at my home with the replacement tank, which he had arranged to secure while I was on travel. He did all the work a plumber does – drain the system, disconnect pipes, connect where needed, solder the and seal the joints as needed, refill and test the system. He could have left right away after that. Instead he asked me to put the system to full duty cycle for nearly thirty minutes. Much to his surprise one of the solder joints, which he had not touched started leaking! As you might know a leaking solder joint can not be fixed with out starting all over again, draining the water in the system. The plumber went through the steps diligently and ensured that I had a fully functioning system – a system that met all my requirements as a user.
You might think that is what the plumber is supposed to do. But the plumber is also rated and the rating is uploaded on to a on-line data base like the Angie’s list. Only those with good ratings get calls from the tech savvy social media dominated population.
What does this have to do with you as a professional? How often do you take on an assignment where the problem is clear, well defined and the user needs clarified up front? Do you then systematically and methodically follow up on all aspects of your work and rely on all your core capabilities: your knowledge, information work and physical labor? Do you check and re-check your work so that the person who relies on your work – like the home owner reliant on the plumber – is fully satisfied with your solution. Do you operate as a single owner company whose livelihood and success are entirely of his own making? Do you have people as back ups in your work that you can rely on, when you have to be away? Do you subject yourself for constant scrutiny and review so that you have a constant pulse on user satisfaction of your work? If you do all of these you will be a successful professional, no matter where you work – may be it is a small start up, a medium sized company or a large enterprise.