From developing adult and infant ventilators to simulating industrial business processes and addressing manufacturing design challenges, PSG College of Technology in Peelamedu, Coimbatore, is leveraging its ties with the industry for research and development work.
The strengths of the institute are electronics and communications and it boasts of a number of centres to develop cable technology, embedded systems, CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) processes.
Industry collaborations have proved beneficial. The PSG-Lapp Centre for Excellence in Cable Technology has been set up with support from the German cable manufacturing Lapp Group. It has facilities for designing suitable electrical cables for various applications. The PSG-Infineon Embedded Systems Centre, which has facilities for designing and testing of embedded systems, is supported by German semiconductor manufacturing Infineon Technologies.
Dr R Rudramoorthy, principal, says his students and faculty use these facilities for R&D. “Our PG students are involved in research and development work. Working at the centres improves their technical skills for meeting industry expectations. The current technical problems associated with these industries are very useful for research work,” he adds.
Students have the benefit of familiarising themselves with actual engineering practices and also use the facilities for their project work. Faculty members take the students to the shopfloor to help them understand manufacturing processes. Single semester programmes in universities such as South Australia, Dayton, Arkansas, Luxembourg and Toledo, also give students ample international exposure.
International internships help. Recounting his experience at switchgear manufacturing company ETA PCS, Ajman, UAE, A Abdul Rahim says, “It was like any job meeting HR on the first day and being briefed on the company and schedules for the next two months. Safety induction training was given by the health and safety engineer.” In the first month, Rahim was given a week in each department to learn about the outline of each. Then, he opted to work in the quality assurance and internal testing department “because I can learn stuff technically and get hands-on experience on testing of panels and relays.” Every day was about learning something new. “Apart from technical stuff I have learnt many lessons from my superiors regarding professional behaviour and communication. Overall, my stay at ETA-PCS was technically and professionally enriching with a right blend of knowledge and fun,” he adds.
Students have also been accessing Agilent, SAP and Cordys centres with software facilities for simulating industrial business processes, open source softwares and cloud computing.
Training of faculty is a key area. Dr P V Mohanram, a senior faculty of mechanical engineering, was trained in pneumatic automation by FESTO. Ashok Leyland trained him in the area of automotive engineering. He feels he is better equipped to teach related subjects with appropriate emphasis on the industrial standards and practices.
The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (Tifac) and Pricol Industries, manufacturer and supplier of complete automotive products, have helped set up the PSG Tifac Core. This centre has advanced facilities in CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) laboratories. For the uninitiated this refers to computer software used for design and manufacture products. CAD/CAM applications are used to design a product and programme manufacturing processes, especially for CNC machining, which involves the use of computers to control machines.
Experienced faculty of the institute are engaged in research in product design and development. The centre has full-fledged rapid prototyping facility (to quickly fabricate a scale models, using three-dimensional computer aided design data. Usually done using 3D printing or ‘additive layer manufacturing’ technology). Faculty services are extended to industries in rapid prototyping, reverse engineering (reproduction of another manufacturer’s product after examination of its construction or composition) and rapid tooling (fabricating tools from a rapid prototyping process).
“So far,” says Rudramoorthy, “about a 1,000 companies have used its facilities for product development and it is doing very well.”
It is promoted jointly by PSG-Pricol and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), with all three contributing equally. Pricol, too, has used the centre for developing its automobile dashboard components.
Joint research and development projects include a bench model for an adult ventilator. Funded by the Society for BioMedical Technology, Bangalore, technology transfer of the ventilator took place in 2005 between PSG and Pricol.
With the lessons learnt, another project on an infant ventilator was taken up with Pricol Medical Systems Limited, one of Pricol’s group companies.
The funding and expert guidance came from DST. Because of the earlier experience, there was more to add to the infant ventilator and ensure it had elegant aesthetics. Its features included advanced modes of ventilation, touchscreen display, user-friendly menu and, interestingly, more than 60% indigenous components. The equipment was also tested for trouble-free operation and reliability and maintainability.
The institute established an Entrepreneurship Development Cell in the early 80’s and upgraded it as PSG Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park (PSG STEP) in 1998 with financial support from DST. It has seen about a 100 startups and both faculty and alumni have benefited from the project.
Looking ahead, PSG is now establishing a research and development centre for industrial textiles with the ministry of textiles at a cost of Rs. 25 crore. The objective is to develop new industrial textile products.
The institute also plans to bring more industries to the Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park it established in 1988 and engage them in research with the faculty for product development.
An ambitious plan is being drawn up to connect the Indian industry with others in the developed countries by collaborative arrangements through foreign universities. Finally, in the next few years, PSG wants to keenly focus on product development, patents and technology transfer.
Principal’s cut, Dr R Rudramoorthy
We understand the requirements of the industry and their operating technologies through our centres and train our students to develop knowledge and skill in these technologies. The industry gets trained manpower and our placement records have improved because of these centres.Engineers of the industry engage our faculty and ­students. Industries get lots of ideas through students’ projects. They train their engineers using the faculty in these centres. Joint research projects have also been taken up
What the faculty has to say
I have been trained well by Danfoss Ltd, Chennai, a Denmark-based ­company engaged in manufacturing and sales of air conditioning and variable speed motor drives. I am currently professor of robotics and automation engineering department of PSG Tech. Faculty members of PSG Tech have been offering ­training programmes to industries right from refresher courses on ­fundamentals of engineering to highly advanced topics. Companies like Ashok Leyland send their new recruits for intensive training ­programmes of about three months. Departments like robotics and ­automation engineering provide training programmes on advanced CNC programming, programming and maintenance of robots etc. These are very focused on the requirements of the industry and highly customised. So any such training programme requires lot of interaction, visits and networking between the industry and the ­institute. Local industries that have benefited from such tailor-made programmes to name a few are Pricol and Elgi Equipment.
Dr M Sundaram Professor, department of robotics and automation engineering, PSG College of Technology
Hear it from the students
I gained knowledge about the overall functioning of various departments of Lapp USA, a cable manufacturing company and their goals. During my internship I learned both ­technical and non-technical skills. I performed all types of electrical, mechanical and ­physical tests for engineering and laboratory projects and ­created test reports for the tasks completed. An important aspect of having this internship experience was that it helped me acquire professional ­etiquette. There are small things about the professional ­environment that are not taught in school like being on time, responding to emails in a timely manner, not being loud on the phone, acting responsibly etc
My overall internship experience in Lapp USA was good. It helped me gain knowledge on various processes, die blocks, materials used in the production like PVC, nylon and colouring agents, ­difference in various processes and methodology adopted by Lapp USA, manufacturing ­techniques, standards etc
Techprofile: PSG College of Technology – Peelamedu, Coimbatore
Commended for Electronics and communications engineering
Founded In 1951 by Dr G R Damodaran, also its first principal. The first private engineering institute in Tamil Nadu
Status Autonomous, government aided private engineering college and affiliated to Anna University
Industry backup Located on the same campus as PSG Industrial institute. Is among a few to have an industry attached to it
Faculty facts Faculty training programmes are organised in-house to which industry people are invited. Faculty members also attend training programmes organised by industry to ensure updating of knowledge
Linkages Has visiting faculty and guest lecturers from the industry. There were 11 visiting faculty and eight guest lecturers for the electronics engineering departments in 2012-13
Strengths Has 15 engineering and technology departments besides the computer applications, management sciences, basic sciences and humanities departments
Company contributions Several labs and facilities have been set up by industry. College also provided funds for doing the same. In 2005, an open source software laboratory was set up and in 2006 a PSG-LAPP Centre for Excellence in Cable Technology was inaugurated. The same year a PSG-Infenon Embedded Systems Lab was set up
Tie-ups with The institute also has close partnerships with Agilent, SAP, Cognizant and Cordys. It has links with industries in the field of automotive, aerospace, defence, textile, softwaredevelopment and consumer durables
Power centre Was selected by the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (Tifac) of the department of science and technology to set up a Centre of Relevance and Excellence in product design, optimisation and collaborative product commerce. PSG Tifac Core was set up under public – private partnership model by TIFAC, PSG College of Technology and Pricol Industries in 2001