Aug 4, 2022: India: Nearly 10 months after the signing of a MoU to help make AM more mainstream amongst the Academic, R&D and SME/Start-up communities, the VIT-SEDAXIS Centre of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing was formally inaugurated on July 20th, 2022 amidst the enthusiastic participation of delegates from Academia/R&D, Industry and Government. The Centre is the result of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a prestigious academic institution in India, Vellore Institute of Technology (Chennai) and an Industry Partner, Sedaxis Advanced Materials Pvt. Ltd. It is located inside the VIT Chennai campus situated on Vandalur-Kelambakkam Road, Chennai.
The Centre was inaugurated by VIT Chancellor Dr. G. Viswanathan, while the Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr. V. Kanchana Bhaaskaran VIT Chennai delivered the welcome address. Mr. Vishwanath Godavarty, Business Head, SEDAXIS Advanced Materials Pvt. Ltd. briefed the audience about the Centre’s Vision & Mission and elaborated on its state-of-the-art facilities. He also detailed on how the Centre’s objectives were nicely aligned with the strategy outcomes as envisaged in the National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing laid out by the Govt. of India in February 2022.
The Chief Guest Mr. Hans Raj Verma, Chairman & Managing Director, The Tamilnadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC), Chennai., indicated the current economic situation and the responsibility of the society to revive the industrial sector and congratulated SEDAXIS for bringing out a Centre of Excellence in Chennai and appreciated VIT Chennai for incepting a Centre towards achieving this goal. He also inaugurated the Panel Discussion on Industry Academic Ecosystem to support the National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing Policy and Make in India. The panel members who represented federal, industrial as well as academic views included:
1) Dr. Sreenivas Rao, Outstanding Scientist & Director, Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, DRDO, Vishakapatnam,
2) Mr. Sivarajah, Mission Director and CEO, Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission,
3) Dr. Nikhil S Tambe, CEO, Energy Consortium, IIT Madras,
4) Dr. Devendran, Managing Director, ST Advanced Composites, Chennai and
5) Mr. Vishwanath Godavarty, Business Head, SEDAXIS Advanced Materials Pvt. Ltd.
The members discussed the status of the 3D printing movement in India, applications, current research trends in the nation and emphasised the need for scaling up the reach of 3D printers even to remote locations of India. Mr. Godavarty urged the State Govt. of TamilNadu to join the partnership with VIT and SEDAXIS to generate mass awareness and promote mass adoption of 3D Printing amongst the MSMEs in TamilNadu.
Following the panel discussion, VIT’s Chancellor and former Member of Parliament, Dr. G Viswanathan opened the Centre in the presence of all dignitaries. This was followed by a tour of the Centre and its facilities by Mr. Godavarty and Dr. JM Jafferson, VIT’s Faculty-in-Charge of the Centre. One of the biggest USPs of the Centre is in its ability to provide low-cost access to skill building, research and manufacturing to the three key stakeholder communities for 3D Printing – Students, Researchers and SMEs/Start-ups. The Centre also claims to be the most affordable in the region for students and SMEs to avail design, engineering and manufacturing services from. Researchers will have access to 3d printers using open materials and some that also allow for complete control of 3D Printing process parameters, thus ensuring unhindered research for the burgeoning R&D community in India. The Centre has already begun supporting PhD students from VIT, Chennai on their research projects. Projects with leading institutions like IITs, NITs and IISc have also been undertaken at the Centre to showcase the potential of select hardware and software infrastructure to support R&D. VIT Chennai’s rich industry outreach initiatives will also get a boost with their current and future industry partners being able to avail of the Centre’s AM resources for industry projects and services. The Centre will also conduct a series of workshops for stakeholders from industry and academia with the theoretical segment managed by VIT’s faculty from the School of Mechanical Engineering and led by Prof. Jafferson JM. This will be supported by a hands-on training segment at the Centre and led by Mr. Akhil Nair, Engineering Manager at SEDAXIS. The establishment of the VIT-SEDAXIS CoE for AM, the first-of-its-kind in the nation, sets a benchmark for the realization of Additive Manufacturing’s true potential and benefit when academia and industry choose to come together to accelerate the awareness and adoption of Digital Manufacturing in India.