STIMS Institute offers industry focused education for fourth year in a row.

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.


Course Outline:

  • 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.


System Approach for Engineers – a new course developed and being offered at Thyagaraja College of Engineering in Collaboration with TVS Co., India.

Madurai Temple 2                      How do you promote system thinking and why is it necessary?

This subject was discussed in depth recently by Dr. K. (Subbu) Subramanian, President, STIMS Institute, with a large manufacturing company and a well renowned College of Engineering in India recently. As a result it was concluded that while system engineering and the structures and techniques related to that are well established, System Thinking is not a natural part of working for practicing engineers. It was noted that, while there is a lot of discussion on Cross functional teams and concurrent engineering, there is little in terms of education and practice that promotes concurrency in thought process that brings together the Science, Engineering and Management disciplines pertaining to any problem or solution. While we see every medical professional with a Stethoscope, thermometer and blood pressure monitor, practicing engineers rarely resort to active diagnostic tools to obtain the “Vital signs” of the process or solution they deal with. There is also a tendency to execute whatever they are asked to do or assigned, rather than constantly ask the question “Why?”
With out a system thinking outlook, engineers tend to work in silos and stick to their cubicles. Knowledge, which is available from many sources – suppliers, inside the company, customers, … – is rarely integrated in a deliberate fashion, since there is no framework readily available for such frame work. While tools like Fishbone diagram look at the Cause and the effect, they rarely focus on the “phenomena” or the science that links the cause and the effect. The effect itself is seen only in technical terms (what is the solution) and rarely in terms of the “Why?” or benefits to stake holders and the order of priority.
To address the above needs, a new course is being developed to be offered as an optional course for the 7th semester students. While the initial plan was targeted the ME and EE students, the college has decided to offer this course for all majors. The expected outcome of this course are:

  • Definition of any solution as the System: Input/Transformation/Output Scheme
  • Distinction between:

—    System Thinking (which underlies the) System Engineering
—   Task Orientation Vs. Solution orientation (System Thinking)
—   Technical Output Vs. System Output

  • The four components of the Inputs categories of any system or solution
  • Definition and distinction between Science, Engineering and Management
  • The role of each of the above three pathways for critical thinking
  • Transformation — What does it mean?
  • How to identify the “transformation” behind any solution?
  • Ability to frame any assignment, job or problem as the system and its parts
  • Ability to recognize the need for diagnostic tools and their use to probe the “Transformation”
  • Principles of the System Approach (Captured in the books referenced below)
  • Comfort level to know who the stake holders are (who are also the sources for inputs)?
  • Ability to seek them out for help and collaboration from both inside as well as outside the company.



    1. Thriving in the 21st Century: Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals”, K. (Subbu) Subramanian, Srinivas U. Rangan, ASME Press, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-7918-6016-8


The system Approach to precision manufacturing – Grinding Processes

Need to go beyond Lean and Continuous Improvements?

Do you need step change in cost, quality and productivity?

Earlier this year, Dr. Subramanian led a workshop on the System Approach for associates of the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA). Students participated in hands-on, laboratory style experiments, where they collected and analyzed data during grinding processes.

Key learnings from the workshop included:

  • Looking at the manufacturing process “as a whole” as a system
  • Achieving large scale improvements through the application of Science, Engineering and Management principles together (and not as isolated pockets)
  • Learning about the “Microscopic interactions” (i.e) what really happens when the sparks are produced?

More information about the workshop here: Training Program on Grinding.