Role of Mechanical Engineering in ‘Make In India’

Mechanical Engineering is one of the basic branches of engineering and its fundamental principles are used in the design, development and construction of nearly all of the physical devices and systems we see around us including but not limited to automobiles, machines in all kind of factories, machinery used in building construction, road construction, agriculture etc. Mechanical engineers are also involved with the design, construction and operations of all kinds of machinery. They conceptualize design for any product to be manufactured. They also develop, test and manufacture the state of the art machinery.

Computerized CNC machine
Figure 1. Computerized CNC machine at JKLU for high production and precision machining

Manufacturing sector encompasses a set of industries to make or produce anything in a factory and therefore, it requires a great deal of specialized knowledge.  Mechanical engineers are often referred as manufacturing engineers also as they are recruited by all kinds of companies which manufacture a variety of machines, robotics and other equipment. The mechanical engineers are normally responsible for the design, selection of materials, specifications and the development of production processes and equipment.  Responsibility for plant layout, production planning and control, as well as plant maintenance is also a major job responsibility that mechanical engineers undertake.

Job opportunities for Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical Engineers
Figure 2. Computerized high production turret lathe machine at JKLU to machine the metal pieces quickly and efficiently using multiple tools at a time

Students who complete a BTech in mechanical engineering can look for employment in almost every type of manufacturing industry such as automobile, aerospace, railway coach factory, chemical manufacturing plants, metal producing plants etc. apart from the private sector, mechanical engineers gain employment in public sector units such as BHEL, SAIL, GAIL, Indian Railway, Electricity Boards. Typical examples of the technology that mechanical engineers deal include automobiles, aircrafts, turbines, robotics, agriculture machinery, etc.  Mechanical engineering, being a basic branch of engineering provides employment in all kind of industries and therefore is a branch of choice for aspiring engineers.

‘Make in India’ initiative by Government of India:

Make in India is an ambitious initiative launched by government of India to attract manufacturing enterprises from abroad as well as domestic origin to set up manufacturing units in India to enhance the share of manufacturing in our GDP from current 15 percent to 25 percent by 2025. Manufacturing being one of the highest employment generating sector has been of current focus though capacity upgradation, skill development and industrial development. To achieve this target, government of India has adopted a mix of policies for ease of doing business in India though good governance, decreasing red tapism and scaling up infrastructural development.

Industry 4.0 concept and JKLU’s Mechanical Engineering course curriculum in relation with ‘Make in India’:

Industry 4.0 has been defined as “a collective term for technologies and concepts of value chain organisation which draws together Cyber-Physical Systems, the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Services”. In Industry 4.0, cyber-physical systems made up of connected systems of software, sensors, machines, workpieces, and communication technologies monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world, and make decentralised decisions. According to Sackey et al. (2016), the following areas need attention in any Mechanical Engineering (ME) curriculum enhancement initiatives for Industry 4.0: (i) Data science and advanced (big data) analytics; (ii) Advanced simulation and virtual plant modelling; (iii) Data communication and networks and system automation; (iv) Novel human-machine interfaces; (v) Digital-to-physical transfer technologies, such as 3-D printing; (vi) Closed-loop integrated product and process quality control/management systems; (vii) Real-time inventory and logistics optimisation systems; (viii) Teaching and learning demonstration infrastructure. Similarly, for education systems in general to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0, it should recommend three things: (i) providing broader skill sets; (ii) offering job-specific capabilities; and (iii) closing the IT skills gap.

The curriculum of B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering offered in JK Lakshmipat University addresses the subjects CAD/CAM, Mechatronics, Robotics Engineering which could represent the efficient way of accommodating mechanical, electronic, computer science and data communication elements, in a single course. Subjects covered under the ME courses, including Production planning & control, Product design & development, Flexible manufacturing system, total quality management are also important in Industry 4.0. More emphasis is being placed on interconnectedness of communicating devices in cyber-physical systems and the internet of things- a common theme in Industry 4.0 though imparting these concepts in the relevant computer integrated manufacturing courses of mechanical engineering BTech curricula.

Laboratory facilities at JKLU: JKLU mechanical engineering department has state of the art laboratory facilities needed to understand the key concepts of manufacturing operations, product design, and quality control

Automobile lab
Figure 3. A car model in Automobile lab demonstrating the internal components of a car.
data capture and analysis
Figure 4. Mechanical testing of materials with real time computerized data capture and analysis

About the Author:

Dr. Murari Lal GuptaDr. Murari Lal Gupta
Associate Professor and HoD, Mechanical Engineering, IET, JKLU

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