SAEINDIA Educational Meet at Coimbatore

SAEINDIA’s Off-Highway Board announced a two-week industry-certified and fully sponsored annual training program for ten faculty members from across India.

The ten professors will learn about the manufacturing of off-highway vehicles such as tractors, forklifts, cranes, backhoes, bulldozers and golf carts in companies that manufacture these. They will, in turn, pass on their knowledge to students, and also initiate joint student projects with industry.

This decision represented one of the important outcomes of the two-day SAEINDIA Edu Meet recently organized at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus. An initiative of the Society for Automotive Engineers-India, the meet was hosted by Amrita.

“The meet was meant primarily for faculty,” stated Dr. S. Thirumalini, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Coimbatore, who was one of the main organizers. “SAEINDIA recently constituted Off-Highway and Aerospace Boards and this was their first joint initiative.”

“In India, when a graduate is placed in industry, he or she must be trained for upto 10-12 months, before beginning to contribute fully. In the West, this training period only lasts for 2-3 months. So this meet deliberated on ways to reduce the training time frame in India.”

The meet attracted not only faculty members, but also several students from colleges around India. These students and faculty had the opportunity to listen to and interact with several industry leaders from organizations such as John Deere, Volvo, Cummins, PTC, Boeing, HCL and NAL.

“India and China are mega markets of the 21st century,” stated Mr. Sudhakar Shenoy, Vice President, John Deere Pvt. Ltd and Chairman of SAEINDIA Off-Highway Board, in his inaugural address.

“In particular, the off-highway industry in India will play a significant role in the critical sectors of agriculture, infrastructure and defense. Research is needed to adapt to Indian market needs.”

Speaking about career opportunities with off-highway industries, Mr. Craig A. Barnes, Co-Chairman, Off-Highway Board unveiled plans to build a network of academia, students and industries.

Later the duo was joined by Mr. Ashutosh Parasmis of PTC, Mr. Anil Sharma of Allison Transmission and Mr. M. Nataraj, an advisor for SAE, for a panel discussion on Education Initiatives to Improve Employability.

Others who spoke, included Mr. Anupam Dave of Cummins, Mr. Shantanu Chakraborty of Volvo, Mr. Trevor Fuss of John Deere, Mr. Sanjay Kulkarni of EATON and Mr. Vadiraj Krishnamurthy of BOSCH.

The second day of the meet focused on the aerospace industry. The Chairman of the Aerospace Board Dr. Bala Baradvaj (Director, R&D, Boeing-India), highlighted opportunities available in the aviation industry for the students of various disciplines. These were elaborated upon by Mr. K. Ashok Kumar, Chief Technical Officer, Infotech Enterprises Ltd., Hyderabad.

“It was an interesting session for us, and we learned about employment options in the Indian aerospace sector,” stated final-year aerospace engineering students who attended.

Later sessions addressed topics including employability challenges, industry requirements in aerospace, industry initiatives in academic resource development, various resource sharing models and the benefits of resource sharing.

Earlier, Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor of Amrita had described innovative programs that were instituted to increase the emphasis of research at Amrita. “The need for multidisciplinary collaboration in engineering schools is tremendous,” Dr. M. P. Chandreshekaran, Dean-Engineering, had emphasized.

“The sessions were very enlightening,” stated Murugesan, Senior Lecturer, Department of Automobile Engineering from PSG College of Technology. “I look forward to more such events in the future.”

As such, this was the first time that an educational meet was organized by SAEINDIA. Did it achieve its stated objective of initiating a dialog between industry and academia?

“Yes, undoubtedly,” emphasized Dr. Thirumalini.

Dr. Joshi C. Haran, Chairperson of the Department agreed. “The primary focus of the meet was the industry-academia relationship. It provided a feel of the opportunities that are available in these engineering disciplines to both faculty and students.”

September 4, 2010
School of Engineering, Coimbatore

– Report prepared with input from PG Diploma students of Journalism, Anitha Ramachandran and Renu Unnikrishnan

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