Nearly 10 months after the signing of an MoU to help make AM in India 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 center is the result of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a prestigious academic institution in India, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), and their Industry Partner and AM services provider, Sedaxis Advanced Materials Pvt. Ltd. It is located inside the VIT Chennai campus.
The center was inaugurated by VIT Chancellor, Dr. G. Viswanathan, while the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr. V. Kanchana Bhaaskaran, delivered the welcome address. Mr. Vishwanath Godavarty, Business Head at SEDAXIS Advanced Materials, briefed the audience about the vision and mission of the center and elaborated on its state-of-the-art facilities. He also gave details about how the center’s objectives were aligned with the strategic outcomes envisaged in the National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing laid out by the government of India in February 2022.
The chief guest, Mr. Hans Raj Verma, Chairman and Managing Director of The Tamilnadu Industrial Investment Corporation, drew attention to the current economic situation and the responsibility of the society to revive the industrial sector, and congratulated SEDAXIS for bringing a Centre of Excellence to Chennai, and appreciated VIT Chennai for incepting a center in line with 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 Dr. Sreenivas Rao, Outstanding Scientist and Director of the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, DRDO, in Vishakapatnam, Mr. Sivarajah, Mission Director and CEO of Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission, Dr. Nikhil S Tambe, CEO of Energy Consortium, Indian Institute of Technology, in Madras, Dr. Devendran, Managing Director of ST Advanced Composites, in Chennai, and Mr. Vishwanath Godavarty, Business Head of SEDAXIS Advanced Materials Pvt. Ltd.
The members discussed the status of the 3D printing movement in India, applications, and current research trends in the nation, and emphasized the need for scaling up the reach of 3D printers – even to remote locations of India. Mr. Vishwanath Godavarty urged the state government of Tamil Nadu to join the partnership with VIT and SEDAXIS to generate mass awareness and promote mass adoption of 3D Printing amongst the MSMEs in Tamil Nadu.
Following the panel discussion, VIT’s Chancellor, and former Member of Parliament, Dr. G Viswanathan opened the center in the presence of all dignitaries. This was followed by a tour of the Centre and its facilities by Mr. Vishwanath Godavarty. One of the biggest USPs of the center is 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 center will conduct a series of workshops with a core theoretical element supported by a mandatory hands-on training element for stakeholders from industry and academia.
The VIT-SEDAXIS Centre of Excellence also claims to be the most affordable in the region for students and SMEs from where to avail design, engineering, and manufacturing services. For researchers, the center boasts an array of 3D printers – all using open materials, and some allowing for complete control of parameters governing the 3D printing process, thus enabling active and unhindered research for the burgeoning R&D community in India. The center, with full-time resident manpower of experts from design, engineering, and production/post-processing, has already begun supporting doctoral research students from within VIT Chennai on their research projects.
The center has also undertaken projects with leading institutions like IITs, NITs, and IISc to showcase the potential of select hardware and software infrastructure within the center to support their research needs, and will feature prominently in VIT Chennai’s rich industry outreach initiatives wherein VITs current and future industry partners will be able to make use of the center’s AM resources for industry projects and services.
The establishment of the VIT-SEDAXIS Centre of Excellence for AM 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.