How Danfoss got interested in PSG

Danfoss India’s first Centre of Excellence aims at enabling PSG College of Technology to prepare industry ready engineers

PSG College of Technology (PSG), Coimbatore, owes its existence and strong industry linkages to its founding body, the PSG & Sons’ Charities Trust. In 1951, the founders established the college on the premises of PSG Industrial Institute, which designs, manufactures and distributes motors and pumps, with the aim of fostering industry interactions through that business’s existing setup and wider network.

The 5WH in brief

Who: Dr R Rudramoorthy, Principal, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore

How: By presenting a good track record of partnerships, committing `40 lakh investment in infrastructure by PSG and re-framing the curriculum

When: In 2013

Where:  Campus of PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore

What: Convinced Danfoss India to establish Centre of Excellence at PSG

Why:  To expand the academic resources and infrastructure needed totrain students on latest technologies, prepare faculty for delivering advanced courses or provide students continuous avenues to engage with ‘live’ research projects

 Why a Centre of Excellence was needed

Value-added courses and industry internships, however, are not enough to understand and meet the evolving needs of industry for trained engineers. They do not help expand the academic resources and infrastructure needed to train students on latest technologies, nor do they prepare faculty for delivering advanced courses or provide students continuous avenues to engage with ‘live’ research projects.

 According to Dr R Rudramoorthy, Principal, PSG, “All these objectives can be fulfilled only by establishing formal ties with industry. An effective way for colleges to foster a working partnership and continuous interaction with a company is by inviting (and inspiring) it to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on the campus.” 

How Danfoss was roped-in

POSITIVE FEEDBACK FROM EXISTING PARTNERS: It’s common knowledge that any new partnership works only if the track record of partnerships has been good. PSG had already got the Agilent CoE and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency funded CoE. It has linkages with companies in the automotive, aerospace, defence, textile, machine tools, software development, and consumer durables sectors. Positive feedback from industries like LAPP India (a cabling solutions company) and FESTO (an industrial control and automation company) helped Dr Rudramoorthy convince the Indian subsidiary of Denmark based industrial company Danfoss to set up its first CoE in India on the PSG campus

PSG’S COMMITMENT TO SPEND ON INFRASTRUCTURE: PSG had to commit a substantial amount to create the CoE. “We spent `40 lakh to create the centre and will bear the running and maintenance cost,” shares Dr Rudramoorthy. Danfoss India on its part has given PSG access to current technologies in power semiconductor modules, harmonic filters, digital Variable Frequency (VF) electrical drives, HVAC components, and software to communicate with electrical hardware drives and perform parameterisation. The estimated value of these technology products and software is also `40 lakh. Danfoss has committed to update this equipment regularly.

RE-FRAMING THE SYLLABUS AND LAB EXPERIMENTS: The syllabus of certain undergraduate programmes (Electrical & Electronics, Robotics & Automation, Instrumentation & Control, Mechanical), post graduate programmes (Power Electronics & Drives, Control System, Embedded & Real Time Systems) and online study material used as reference had to be re-framed based on the availability of the new facilities. In sync with industry emphasis on energy efficiency, PSG has instituted credit courses in energy and climate. Lab sessions now make use of new equipment and industry based applications. “Students can learn more and learn better because of the immersive practical experiences,” says Dr Rudramoorthy.

FACULTY TRAINING: Danfoss India provides technical training to PSG’s faculty bringing them up to speed with latest industry developments.

Benefits of aligning

IMPROVED STUDENT PLACEMENT: Aligning education with industry needs proves extremely beneficial when it is time for students to find jobs.

According to Dr Rudramoorthy, “The new lab is giving students hands-on exposure to applying the variable speed drive concept to save electrical energy. This awareness is relevant to different industries—aqua, textile, cement, paper, HVAC and automation. We expect the number and quality of placements in companies from these industries to go up in the coming years.”

Danfoss India also offers three internship placements to diploma students, three placements to undergraduate students and five placements to post graduate students. Six of these students are regularised as per the company’s norms after they complete their course of study.

BETTER OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESEARCH: Being aware of Danfoss India’s technical challenges opens many research avenues for students. Danfoss India often asks its customers to brief students about their application of VF drives. Students are expected to improvise on existing applications, and develop ones consuming less energy. Developing variant technologies for providing high quality of electrical power is another research objective.

“Involving students in live research and live testing labs, improves their technical skills, making them industry ready,” opines Dr Rudramoorthy. To encourage final year students take up meaningful energy efficient technology research, Danfoss India offers Best Innovation Project awards—two cash prizes worth `1 lakh and ` 75000 for undergraduate and post graduate students.

Faculty and students alike are appreciative of the new facility. According to Dr B Vinod, Head of Department, Robotics & Automation Engineering, “The new Centre of Excellence has helped the department and college to take up consultancy projects for small scale industries, on automation to conserve energy.”

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