Developing a framework for Industry – Academia collaboration : A case study


Education & Training NGPG EM Mar 2017

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Such an approach is most appropriate for medium to long term R&D projects (3-5 years), not those requiring immediate development.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. A structured project with system thinking leading to clearly laid down quantified objectives stands a good chance of success.
  6. There must be a driver each from industry and academia, who make it their personal mission to complete the project successfully.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. If properly reviewed and managed periodically (as by the PRMC), it is possible to complete such projects within the time and budget allotted.

System Approach for Precision Components Manufacturing – Interview

This summer (2012), I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Krishnan, Vice President of the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Accociation (IMTMA). We had a great conversation sparked by the current innovation pathway needs in the manufacturing industry. We discussed in detail how the System Approach could be the next wave in manufacturing, after Lean and 6-sigma approaches.

Below is a brief video of our talk.

– Dr. Subramanian

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.