Establishing a hands-on manufacturing internship program

NIT KURUKSHETRA | Kurukshetra, Haryana, India

Establishing a hands-on manufacturing internship program

NIT Kurukshetra partners with Siemens to train over 350 students in industry-grade software.

Empowering indigenous manufacturing

Technological advancements are accelerating and in turn, transforming the global economy. The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kurukshetra is one of India’s first technical, higher education institutes. During its journey of over five decades, the institute has made remarkable strides in teaching, learning, research, innovation, entrepreneurship and outreach activities.

NIT Kurukshetra understands it is cardinal for the current education system to be equipped with infrastructure to stimulate innovation, sustainability and employment. Therefore, it collaborated with Siemens Digital Industries Software and Siemens’ partner CoreEL Technologies, which acted as the system integrator to establish the Siemens Center of Excellence (CoE) in 2019. Its goal was to become a globally recognized and leading center for skill development and translational research for empowering indigenous manufacturing.

Facing a paradigm shift

Typically, engineering students can participate in an internship, which will equip them with hands-on, industry experience they need to excel after graduation. However, with lockdowns and social distancing health measures due to the Coronavirus disease of 2020 (COVID-19), internships have become scarce. This led to a major global paradigm shift.

Industries are at the cusp of massive transformation due to digitalization and the exponential use of technology. Entering the Industry 4.0 world is a significant initiative for closing the gap between industry and academia.

“NIT Kurukshetra’s vision is to be a role model in technical education and research, in response to global challenges,” states Dr. Satish Kumar, director at NIT Kurukshetra. “This aligns with the current technological needs of the global marketplace and India’s government initiative to fill-the-void in skill development. NIT Kurukshetra wanted to align the education system with the skills required for Industry 4.0 and provide students with complete access to facilities in any industry. It was seeking to develop a workforce that is ready for the industry with the skills needed to enter the realm of fast-paced digital transformation.

Enabling students to gain hands-on experience

NIT Kurukshetra developed an innovative internship program spanning over four and a half months. It is centered around using software and hardware at Siemens CoE. In addition, students were provided with significant industry faculty support.

“The Siemens Center of Excellence will enable the young engineers to access the benchmark technologies in the automotive, industrial automation, industrial machinery, aerospace, robotics, defense and energy saving fields,” explains Kumar.

Siemens CoE helps bridge the gap between technical education and technological brilliance by administering hands-on training with the software and hardware used in the real-world. This holistic development enables students to become successful entrepreneurs and self-reliant in the domestic manufacturing sector, preparing them to contribute to the Make in India program. This is a national program in India, which facilitates investment, fosters innovation, enhances skill development, protects intellectual property and builds the best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure in the country.

The center is equipped with industry-grade software design tools and hardware setups with a focus on smart manufacturing. The facility includes end-to-end product design and development, test and optimization, automation and robotics. It provides students with a competency-based learning forum for empowering education to drive innovation.

“The aspired target for NIT Kurukshetra will be a breakthrough in generating the best-in-class workforce with better employability in the global marketplace,” states Kumar.

Granting students access to specialized laboratories

Siemens CoE is comprised of 11 specialized laboratories:

  • Design and validation lab – is about the design methodology, covering three important domains of the overall product development cycle. NX™ software and Solid Edge® software, which are a part of the Xcelerator™ portfolio, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens, are used in this lab for computer-aided design (CAD) to create 2D drawings and 3D models of a part or assembly. NX is used to generate the G and M codes for turning machines to multi-axis milling machines. Femap™ software is used for computer aided engineering (CAE) to perform structural thermal and flow analysis
  • Advanced manufacturing lab – is used to create 3D simulated models of the entire manufacturing process of an industry. This includes plant layout, robotics, material movement, etc. This lab uses Siemens’ advanced industrial software to integrate the physical manufacturing process with the virtual manufacturing process to increase plant efficiency
  • Test and optimization lab – is used in the analysis and design of complex life systems, which ranges from simple linear static problems to highly complex non- linear transient problems. This unified CAE environment uses Simcenter™ 3D software with the finite element analysis (FEA) capabilities of Simcenter NASTRAN software and Simcenter STAR-CCM+™ software, which is a CFD solver for modeling and analyzing fluid flow problems. The lab also uses Simcenter Amesim™ software, the system-level simulation tool for solving multi-physics problems, and Simcenter Testlab™ software, which is a test-based solution for engineering problems
  • Automation lab – provides a platform where engineers can understand and work on Simatic S7 technology and products, learn how to control different manufacturing processes and become industry ready professionals or solution providers. This lab works with industrial controllers and monitoring devices and can provide complete factory automation solutions using a programmable logic controller (PLC) and WinCC® SCADA system WinCC® HMI system
  • Mechatronics lab – provides industrial solutions, such as system design, system integration, maintenance and trouble-shooting to foster knowledge, work experience and synergistic integration of diverse engineering disciplines among the individuals. It has a modular manufacturing system that consists of five different stations that are controlled by S7 1200 PLC and totally integrated automation (TIA) portal and PLC simulation (SIM) to simulate these standard industrial operations
  • Electrical and energy savings lab – offers the opportunity to study the industrial equipment and explore energy efficient strategies to deliver customized consulting and market specific solutions. It has industrial electrical equipment, which is used for strategizing about motion control by using variable frequency drive, equipment protection and energy efficiency
  • Process instrumentation lab – is comprised of various sensors and instruments to control equipment and monitor process parameters for industrial automation. This improves production, product consistency, quality and workplace safety in manufacturing and processing plants
  • Robotics lab – uses industrial grade robots in the manufacturing automation process with typical robotic applications such as tungsten inert gas (TIG), metal inert gas (MIG) and spot welding and material handling operations. This lab is used to gain insight in the selection procedure of industrial robotic arms, grippers and effectors and their operation, programming and teaching methods
  • Metrology lab – is used to develop skilled workforce-ready engineers in the fields of quality engineering, advanced precision measurements and reverse engineering. Metrology lab is equipped with an industry-grade coordinate measuring machine and blue light 3D scanners, which enables rapid, precise and accurate measurements for smart and flexible manufacturing
  • CNC controller and CNC machine labs – are comprised of facilities for computer-integrated manufacturing and controllers for turning and milling operations to provide hands-on experience of machining and maintaining. Computer numerical control (CNC), programming and operations play a key role in the mass production manufacturing to deliver quality products and parts in compliance with the customer demand and industry standards. These labs have industrial grade CNC turning and vertical machining center (VMC) machines to perform operations


Bridging the gap between technical education and technical brilliance

The internship program at Siemens CoE enabled students to gain hands-on experience with Siemens’ software and hardware used in various industries at a single location during COVID-19. Students were granted exposure to the building blocks of various technologies and given the confidence to undertake industry-grade projects.

Over 350 students benefitted from the internship by successfully completing 40 projects. The students also enabled the Siemens CoE to receive a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75. Students gained and improved their skills with software like NX and Simcenter 3D and applied this knowledge to solve real-time industrial problems.

They also used Plant Simulation in the Tecnomatix® portfolio to design and optimize manufacturing plants for automotive parts, food processing, coins, toys and textiles. By using tools in this software such as bottleneck analyzer, energy analyzer and charts, students were able to flexibly change layouts throughout the design process and eliminate bottlenecks between workstations.

NIT Kurukshetra is now receiving inquiries from students from other institutes across the country. It has also inspired other institutes in the country with a CoE to design their own internship programs.

The distance between a probable future and a possible future is always shortened by resilience and determination. Making the youth ready for the future is a chord that cannot be missed.

Moving forward

The center is now focusing on skilling and re-skilling programs and has designed 38 courses that are run by industry experts. There are currently 13 industry professionals who work at Siemens CoE that have academic and industry experience. Siemens CoE supports the industry by providing new solutions and empowering students by upgrading their skills in industry-grade technology. So far, over 1000 candidates have been trained in numerous domains.

Industry experts at the facility are working on two research and development (R&D) projects assigned from a research organization. Siemens CoE is working on the collaborations with academia, industry and research organizations and has partnered with 11 institutions with more in the pipeline.