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New industry 4.0 tech for India’s advanced manufacturing sector

IIT Kharagpur’s Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology has set out to bring to the forefront indigenously developed industry 4.0 technologies that support India’s industrial sector to achieve the vision of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India). Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IITK) was the first-ever Indian Institutes of Technology to be established and is recognised as an institute of national importance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated significant staffing restrictions with new hygiene norms and social distancing. In this new normal, cloud infrastructure, remote and real-time operations systems will be critical to maintaining effective industrial operations. Furthermore, the advantages that controlled operations bring in delivering quality output at low costs have a wider impact in the context of Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India).

The institute recently developed novel Industry 4.0 technology for remotely controlled factory operations and real-time quality correction during industrial production, in partnership with an Indian multinational information technology services and consulting company, to set a new trend in India’s advanced manufacturing sector.

The innovative technology has been developed by Prof. Surjya K Pal, Professor in-charge at the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology jointly with the information technology services and consulting company, will acquire real-time information about the welding process through multiple sensors and enable online control of weld quality through cloud-based communication with the friction stir welding machine.

Stressing the need for such technologies to achieve the ‘Make in India’ goal, Director Prof. Virendra K Tewari believes that while India is aiming to boost indigenous production and exports, the primary goal should be the quality output with minimum disruptions. He felt that these are the two basic needs our industrial sector which must be addressed for servicing business to scale.

The innovation upgrades the industrial process of friction stir welding to a multi-sensory system of Industry 4.0. The process has set the course for remotely controlled operations in the Indian industrial sector and, at the same times, has enabled real-time quality check and correction during the production process. This will make it possible for industrial houses to achieve standardised quality goals throughout the production process and reduce rejection hence lowering the cost of production.

Welding is at the heart of any industrial operations. If we can improve the weld quality in real-time during batch production we can reduce rejections in post-production sample checks,” opined Prof. Pal.

Explaining the new technology, he revealed that the multiple sensor process involves a range of signal processing and machine learning techniques that predict the ultimate tensile strength of the weld joint is fabricated. This technology is connected with a vast experimental knowledge base to conform to a standard system and prediction of the weld joint strength. Any defect identified during the monitoring procedure is corrected in real-time by sending modified parameters to the machine thus ensuring the standardised quality of the process.

The concept of this technology can further be evolved for real-time control of other industrial processes and such work will be carried at the centre with other industrial partners soon, affirmed Prof. Pal.

IITK’s industry partner believes that such innovations are enablers of technology-based transformations in the country, especially in overcoming challenges called out by the pandemic. The remote friction stir welding machine quality control via multi-sensor fusion developed by Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology at IIT Kharagpur is a case in point

The Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer said their organisation convinced that academic partnerships are an important part of their Research and Co-Innovation Network (CoIN) in creating real-world solutions with scientific rigour. He confirmed that their Embedded Systems & Robotics, IoT and ICME platform teams from their Research and Innovation wings were working closely with IIT Kharagpur’s CoE towards AI-driven prediction/control of weld strength using a scalable and robust platform.

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