Last year the state government of Karnataka partnered with Tata Technologies to upgrade 150 ITIs across the state into technology hubs. I explained the details of the upgradation in my earlier post titled “The Changing Face of Technical Education in India“. 3D Systems has been working hard behind the scenes to install our Figure 4 Standalone 3D printer in 150 ITIs across Karnataka, train the ITI staff and support the training programs that have started to roll out.
To support the Indian government’s “Make in India” initiative, there is a strong and urgent need to expose ITI students to advanced manufacturing techniques such as Additive Manufacturing. One of the main reasons the Figure 4 Standalone was chosen for the ITI upgradation was its ability to quickly mass produce intricate end-use production parts and use Additive Manufacturing as a replacement for injection molding where it made sense. This way the expensive and time-consuming tooling process can be skipped altogether. Why spend lakhs of rupees and waste weeks of time machining a mold when you can directly 3D print end-use production parts using the Figure 4 Standalone? ITI students in Karnataka have started learning and appreciating the advantages of Additive Manufacturing. But that is just half the story. The other half is putting theory into practice by working on real-world industry projects.
As part of our ongoing support of this initiative 3D Systems and Matrix Moon enable interaction between the ITIs and local industry so that the students can put their learning to real use. This serves two purposes. Firstly, the students get hands-on experience manufacturing real-world products instead of merely completing exercises in the courseware. Secondly, the local industry gets exposed to the latest manufacturing techniques like Additive Manufacturing, builds the confidence to adopt these technologies and eventually hire from a ready pool of skilled talent in their vicinity.
An example of this is the ongoing collaboration between Primex Plastics in Peenya, Bengaluru, and Government ITI Peenya. Founded in 1991, Primex Plastics offers high-quality precision molded engineering components for automotive, electrical, white goods, furniture and machines. While they were aware of 3D printing as a prototyping tool, they didn’t know that the technology had advanced to a point where it had started competing with injection molding. Upon learning that the ITI in Peenya was equipped with a Figure 4 Standalone, Chandan BK, manager tool room and new product development at Primex Plastics, was eager to explore a new way of manufacturing. The ITI students under the guidance of the ITI staff got to work and printed a few prototypes. Chandan was quite impressed with the output. The part quality and surface finish of the 3D printed parts were as good as injection molded parts that he was used to. The component was actually a set of two parts that snap fit into each other. The snap-fit worked perfectly.
While Chandan’s team conducts extensive testing of the prototypes, the ITI students started working on a production plan for mass production. They prepared a stacked build of 180 parts in 3D Sprint, the part preparation software that comes with the Figure 4 Standalone. They optimized the stacked build for maximum throughput and minimum material wastage.
ITI Peenya is now ready to mass-produce end-use production parts for Primex Plastics and other companies in and around Bengaluru.
“Previously industry offered internships to ITI students as part of their curriculum to give them exposure and hands-on experience in real-world projects. But with the ITI upgradation in Karnataka, I think the industry will also get a chance to learn from ITIs about new manufacturing technologies like Additive Manufacturing. I didn’t know that toolless production of end-use plastic components was possible until I saw these 3D printed parts. I’m eager to see how Primex Plastics can leverage Additive Manufacturing and the availability of skilled manpower at ITI Peenya to get our products to market cheaper and faster.” – Chandan BK, Manager Tool Room and New Product Development at Primex Plastics.