kharagpur, At this time of pandemic when staffing has restrictions due to hygiene and social distancing norms, cloud infrastructure, remote and real-time operations systems hold the key to maintain effective industrial operations. But the benefits of controlled operations have a bigger impact especially in the context of Atma Nirbhar Bharat in delivering quality output at low costs. The present innovation upgraded the industrial process of friction stir welding to a multi-sensory system of Industry 4.0. It has not only set the course for remotely controlled operations in the Indian industrial sector but has enabled real-time quality check and correction during the production process. This will make possible for industrial houses to achieve standardized quality goals throughout the production process and reduce rejection hence lowering the cost of production.
Emphasizing on the need for such technologies to achieve the ‘Make in India’ goal, Director Prof. Virendra K Tewari remarked, “While we are aiming to boost indigenous production and exports, our primary goal should be quality output with minimum disruptions. Be it consumers in India or abroad, these are two basic needs our industrial sector must address for procuring orders in large volumes. At IIT Kharagpur’s Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology we have set our target to bring to the forefront indigenously developed industry 4.0 technologies to support our industrial sector to achieve this goal.”
The innovative technology developed by Prof. Surjya K Pal, professor in-charge at the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology in association with TCS will acquire real-time information about the welding process through multiple sensors and enable online control of weld quality by means of cloud-based communication with the friction stir welding machine. “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 said, “Our multiple sensor process involves various signal processing and machine learning techniques to 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 standardized 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, Prof. Pal confirmed. The technology has been jointly patented by IIT Kharagpur and TCS.
Industry partner TCS views such innovation as an enabler 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 (CoE) in Advanced Manufacturing Technology at IIT Kharagpur is a case in point,” said K Ananth Krishnan, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “The Embedded Systems & Robotics, IoT and ICME platform teams from TCS Research and Innovation are working closely with IIT Kharagpur’s CoE towards AI-driven prediction/control of weld strength using a scalable and robust platform. Academic partnerships are an important part of TCS Research and TCS CoInnovation Network (TCS CoIN) in creating real world solutions with scientific rigour.” he added.
The Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology was set up through the support of the Department of Heavy Industry of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India, along with a consortium of top six industry members with the aim to stimulate the innovation in advanced manufacturing for boosting the capital goods sector. Tata Consultancy Services is a key industry partner at the Centre.
Talking about the Centre, Director, IIT Kharagpur, Prof. V K Tewari said, “This is the way forward, not only in the new normal situation due to the pandemic but with the increasing adoption of automation, digitization, IoT and Cyber-physical Systems applications in the industrial sector as part of Industry 4.0. Our Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technology with its industry collaborations has immense scope in facilitating this transition not only through innovations but also upskilling the workforce for using such technologies and innovative processes. You will witness the germination of a new industrial culture from centres such as ours towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.”