A one-day Workshop on ‘Readying Students for Industry 4.0’ was held at MVJ College of Engineering on 24thAugust2019, to mark the College Academia-Industry Day. The Chief Guest for the Workshop was Dr. Anil D Sahasrabudhe, Chairman – All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Dr. BN Suresh, Chairman – Governing Council of MVJCE, presided over the Workshop. Many eminent speakers from academia and industry addressed the gathering comprising guests from Industries, DRDO Labs, PSUs, ISRO, CSIR Labs, invitees from statutory bodies, VGST, VTU etc., Alumni, parents of current students and the students of the college.
The following sessions were held in the one-day Workshop:
- Inaugural Session wherein Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chief Guest, and Dr. BN Suresh addressed the gathering.
- Session I –‘Requirements of Industry 4.0, and enhancing links with the Industry’. Dr. K Ramachandra, Former Director – Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) DRDO was the session Chairman. Mr. U Mohandas, Managing Director – M/s Sparr Electronics, Bangalore and Dr. V. Bhujanga Rao, ISRO Chair Professor – National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, addressed the gathering.
- Session II – ‘Hands on Training and Entrepreneurship’. Mr. PS Krishnan, Former Director – Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) DRDO was the session Chairman. Prof. Sameer Khandekar from Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) and Prof. Amaresh Chakrabarti, Head – Centre for Product Design and Manufacture (CPDM), Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) addressed the gathering.
- Session III – ‘Promotion of Ideas and Innovation’. Prof. BN Raghunandan, Former Dean – IISc. Was the session Chairman. Dr. TG Pai, Distinguished Scientist from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) DRDO, visiting professor IIT Kanpur, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, addressed the gathering.
- Session IV – Panel Discussion on ‘How to Enhance Academia-Industry Partnership in the Industry 4.0 Scenario’. All speakers of the previous sessions and two Alumni – Mr. Leni Davidson, DGM – SKF Bearings (Mechanical Engineering-1995 batch) and Mr. Kalyan B Ram, CEO – Electrono Solutions (Electronics and Communication Engineering – 2004 Batch) – expressed their views on what is lacking in the present scenario, and how in their view, we can enhance the partnership. The panel objective was to make recommendations on what measures can be implemented for enhancing academia-industry partnership, in the Industry 4.0 scenario. At the end of the session, three student project teams shared their experience on how they conceived their projects and how they executed it.
The Brief on each Session
A short film was screened – this film focussed on the various initiatives taken by MVJCE in providing opportunities for students to work on innovative projects, and how they are mentored and encouraged, with students themselves speaking on the various initiatives. The film was well taken and appreciated by the audience. After the welcome address by the Principal Dr. Nagaraj Sitaram, the session commenced with the opening address by Dr. BN Suresh.
- Dr. BN Suresh gave an overall perspective on how industries perceive that engineering graduates are not industry ready, how they feel that the students need to wet their hands on practical, working models, on innovative projects. Only when students understand that there is a difference when a theoretical system is applied to a working model, they will comprehend the reality in engineering. Dr. Suresh explained about the various workshops that are conducted in MVJ College of Engineering, starting with Idea Box, Tomorrow’s Engineers, Foundation Skill in Integrated Product Development, and Entrepreneurship Development Cell, and about how students explore their ideas in the college Tinkering Lab, how they understand practical systems etc. He also mentioned that there is a steady increase in the number of students who are getting involved in such activities – there were initially just 6 or 7 student projects, this has risen to almost 60 projects over the last three years. He commended the fact that the students are now winning national level competitions with these projects – projects that they have conceived and developed, after participating in such workshops. While appreciating the students on their increased involvement, he told them to convert this into a movement that can sustain startups and incubation cells.
- Dr. Anil D Sahasrabudhe, Chairman AICTE, in his inaugural address, applauded the efforts taken by MVJCE in successfully implementing an innovation culture in the campus, over the last three years. He then stressed on the necessity for innovation, and pointed out how our nation is improving its international ranking on innovation, from 81 in 2015,to 52 in 2019. He said that the target for the country is to be in the top 10, by 2025. He then went on to outline the various initiatives taken by AICTE to promote innovation, by setting up Institute Innovation Council, conducting Smart India Hackathon (Software and Hardware). He pointed out how the participation of colleges is increasing year by year. Dr. Saharsrabudhe also spoke on the new initiatives taken by AICTE in conducting International Hackathon in association with the Government of Singapore, and on other initiatives, too. The AICTE Chairman touched upon the various curriculum changes that are being implemented, including restructuring the credit system to lessen the load on students, and encouraging them to work on innovative practical projects. He elaborated on initiatives in incorporating courses that students can choose, not just in their respective colleges, but also online courses that are offered by elite Institutions such as IITs / IISc.etc.,which will add to their credits and enhance value to their learning and their degrees. He asserted that the recent initiative has thecomplete support of Government of India, with the singular aim of making engineering education in Indiaon par with that offered at leading international Universities. The address by the AICTE Chairman was indeed informative and inspiring.
After the Inaugural session, the Chief Guest and other dignitaries visited the exhibition of projects done by students. There were over 50 projects on display, and the Chief Guest spent time in discussion with the students on their projects and encouraged them with his comments.
Session I: ‘Requirements of Industry 4.0 and Enhancing links with the Industry’
The Session Chairman introduced the session objectives, and requested the session speakers to commence their talk. The first talk was by Mr. U Mohandas. Mr. Mohandas spoke on the history of Industrial Revolutions, and how the fourth Industrial Revolution has already begun, based on the technological concepts of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services, and how these technologies are used in the Smart Factory. He discussed decoupled, flexible, highly integrated manufacturing systems. He explained the six design principles of Industry 4.0, and on the building block that makes the Industry 4.0.He elaborated on how the current digital value chain is functioning, and gave examples from Siemens, Trumpf, GE etc. to substantiate his thoughts. He outlined how Industry 4.0 is likely to impact us at an individual level, National level and Global level, before concluding his talk.
The next speaker was Dr. V Bhujanga Rao, who commenced his talk placing in perspective the industry links that IITs, IIScs and NITs enjoy, and how it is virtually nonexistent in private engineering institutions. He stressed on the importance on Teaching, Knowledge, Intellectual Property and Innovation required in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). He put it in context from the National Employability Report 2016, and stressed on the role of HEI being the primary catalyst for progress in industry. He discussed the steps that need to be taken to promote partnership between academia and industry, the importance of frequent interactions between colleges and industry, and what industries can do to bridge the gap. He spoke about Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), where the academia operates and where the industry operates and how R&D establishments can contribute to bridge the gap. He proposed that Technology Business Incubation Centres (TBIC) are the best way forward for HEIs, and pointed out the importance of Innovation and the role of Tinkering Labs in this landscape. He put forth his views on what Government organisations like UGC, AICTE, DRDO, DST, NIF should do, the tasks the management and faculty of HEIs should be responsible for, and what Industry bodies like CII, SMEs, NASSCOM should do to close the widening gap between Industry and Academia. The session concluded with the Session Chairman summing up all the points discussed by the two speakers.
Session II – ‘Hands on Training and Entrepreneurship’
The Session Chairman introduced the objectives of the session and requested the speakers to commence their talk. The first speaker in this session was Prof. Sameer Khandekarwhose talk was not just absorbing, but also electrifying – the audience was spellbound by Dr.Khandekar’s speech. He started with the canvas of future technology, new and emerging science, and stressed on the importance of innovative ideas that are based on strong engineering basics with a genuine emphasis on solving problems. He presented multiple examples to highlight all aspects. He underscored the importance of students tinkering around with their own hands. He suggested to parents and students alike to work with their own hands, read books, and emphasized the importance of changes needed in the outlook of Indian engineers, from service providers to inventors. He even historically connected this with the Harappan civilisation days. He presented data on GDP and energy consumptions and explained how this pattern is different between India and other developed countries. He stressed on the need for competitiveness in the mindset of Indian engineers, and presented a comparison between Asian countries and India, on the 12 pillars of competitiveness. He then spoke on the skill set requirements of the next generation, and discussed with examples, on how to achieve these skill sets. He differentiated between ‘Jugaad’ and innovation, and advised students not to trivialise innovation, but fortify it with the rigors of engineering methods, sound in principles of engineering. He then spoke on the innovation cycle and the important role the college tinkering lab plays, in progressing towards this objective.
Prof. Khandekar’s talk was followed by a talk by Dr. Amaresh Chakrabarti. Dr. Chakrabarti gave a stimulating talk on making innovators in the college campus. He presented examples of Indian innovators who have been listed among top 25 innovators by Times magazine, and how these innovators did what they did. These examples kept the audience enthralled. He then spoke of the six chasms of death for ideas and how to avoid them. He showed a probabilistic calculation on what role % of success plays in an innovation. He stressed on the pursuit of excellence in education, research and practice in the areas of design and manufacturing, so as to support development of systemically-complex, technologically-intensive and socially-impactful solutions that are functional, aesthetic, usable and sustainable. He covered the Design Matrix stressing on synthesis and analysis, and to evaluate functionality, feasibility, usability and aesthetics He spoke of Design, design thinking and the roles of technology, business and society in innovative design. He stressed on the importance of high levels of domain knowledge, process knowledge, technology feasibility, value to society and profitability in the business venture. He then presented the traits of top technologists and innovators, and appraised the audience on the 10 common traits that were present in top innovators. He then summarized the ten skills required for innovation and covered the four types of thinking required for innovation. The Session Chairman then summarized the key points that the two session speakers had covered, and the session concluded.
Session III – ‘Promotion of Ideas and Innovation’
The Session Chairman Dr. BN Raghunandan introduced the session objective and set a premise and context for the audience. The speaker in the session was Dr. TG Pai, who started the topic with a case study on Design of Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. He and his team from IIT Kanpur and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, had jointly designed and developed the design. He narrated what the challenges in the design were, and suggested the means to overcome design challenges with system engineering approach with set objectives. He presented examples of various design parameters, and narrated how the students of the two institutes had approached the problem and how they had designed it. He then showed a design process comprising 14 steps, outlining the importance of each element in the design process. He also discussed the specific problems they encountered when manufacturing scaled prototypes. He stressed on the importance of the lessons learnt when prototyping designs. Once the lecture was over, the Session Chairman summarised the key elements of design process with seven principles of innovative thinking.
Session IV – Panel Discussion on ‘How to Enhance Academia-Industry Partnership in the Industry 4.0 Scenario’
The last session of the one-day Workshop was a Panel Discussion chaired by Dr. BN Suresh. The panel comprised all the speakers of the sessions I, II and III. In addition, two alumnus, Mr. Leni Davidson (DGM – SKF Industries) and Mr. Kalyan B Ram (CEO -Electrono Solutions Pvt. Ltd.) also participated in the discussions. The objective of the panel was to deliberate on what needs to be done to enhance academia-industry partnership. The Chairman of the panel discussion asked for an opening statement from all members. Thereafter, there were deliberations and discussions on the views expressed by the speakers. The Chairman then threw it open tothe audience and asked them for their comments / suggestions. There was active participation from the audience, especially from guests from Industry and Alumni. The discussions went on for over one hour. Finally, the Chairman summarised the points as follows:
- Students / College should not insist on Internship encompassing full / complete projects. If part projects / small issues are addressed, industries may be more open to accepting students for internship in term breaks.
- All projects from the college should be multidisciplinary in approach. Unidimensional projects have limited scope, and have little relevance to real life projects.
- Industry / Alumnus should conduct extra mural lectures covering business aspects to students. These lectures should be given towards end of semester, when subjects and topics have been completed, and students will bemore likely to receive the concepts with a better frame of mind. The business aspects should cover Business-to-Customer, Business-to-Business and Business-to-academia and vice versa.
- The students should be exposed to projects addressing problem prevention, risk mitigation and risk based thinking by industry experts. Alumni should help in this process.
- College should plan for continuous extended projects, and carry them to a logical end rather than leave a trail of incomplete projects that are not usable by any one. The projects should be divided into phases, and student teams should work and complete each phase,with the next team taking the project to the next higher level of the product.
- The industries should give futuristic problems (those they are likely to face a year or two later) to colleges / students, wherein the timelines are more relaxed and suitable for academic problem solving. Current problems need very urgent solutions, and academia may not be able to meet the timelines.
- College should use the large volumes of data available with the industries, and analyse the data and take up interpretation of data, to help the industry predict problems.
- Industry and academia can meet regularly and create a catalogue of problem statements. This will be a useful repository for projects that are industry relevant to be chosen.
- Academia should have regular top up lectures from Industry experts.
- Industrial training of faculty members should be made mandatory, for faculty to be better equipped in solving and addressing problems.
- Alumni and industries should help academia to set up a technical Business Incubator to encourage students to opt for entrepreneurship. The alumni should guide and mentor the students in the process.
- There is an urgent need for alumni to bond with the current students and act as industry mentors. They should have a fixed interval interaction with students, and mentor them and guide them.
This is the summary of the points that were deliberated on, during the panel discussion. Thereafter, three students spoke of their experience in executing their innovative project, how the existing ecosystem supported them and what their plans for the project were. The three students who discussed about their projects were: Mr.RohitNatesh on his experiences with bBook, Mr. Pavan A on his experiences with his Fruit Peel Filter based Cleaning of Polluted Lakes, and Ms. Megha S about her project. Smart Helmet.
With this, the one-day Workshop drew to a close.