Archive for June, 2012

A team of students comprising of Talati Utsav A, Pathak Arnav S, Vaishay Jasmit F and Bhatiya Paurash K from Ahmedabad Institute of Technology have scouted and solved a very pertinent industrial problem. At the manufacturing plant of a major global heavy auto manufacturer they came across a very typical challenges that the company was facing due to localized procurement of auto parts. Further analysis of the problem lead the team to discover a range of other problems that were impeding efficient operations. The problem resulted in cost escalations for the company.

Primarily the company had its R&D operations in United States. The company has a practice of bringing new designs and upgradations to existing models at a regular interval. All of these upgradations, new designs and technology is introduced by the US based R&D department. Often when the new technology is adopted for local production, the adoption is not optimum, as there is no effort for the adaptation of design/technology for local production.. The specifications sheet of models are used as it is.
Local procurement of auto parts is a major practise of global MNCs to keep the cost of local production low. For both due to logistics and the availability of cheaper local  components , companies often work hard to procure locally. This often has quality issues. The same practice is also followed at this plant. Many different models at auto MNC use many same components. Therefore the components that the new models share with other models are easy to replace, even though they do create quality issues. for e.g. The orifice used at the compressor jet which when imported from U.S has a engineering life of 15 years while that used from the local ancillary industries have a unsteady life of average 2-3 years.
The student also observed that these parts are stored in a large inventory area manned by only two individuals. The team also observed that the stocks are not tagged properly according to which  components  will go into production of which model. the stocks are also generally a mix of different vintage and manufacturers.  The lack of tagging of  components  according to each model makes it difficult to estimate which  components went into which models. The inventory area stocks a large number of local parts which also go into the production of new introduced models. And the lack of ability to track the parts according to models coupled with the problem of inferior local parts, makes quality control very difficult for new/upgraded models. This reduces the ability to control quality and assess the defects back to the manufactures or the component source (by date or manufacturer).
Further the lack of tagging also makes inventory planning more difficult. The company generally have production schedules according to model type. Thus based upon the production volumes and the used component list. It should be easy to forecast inventory shortage and hence procure efficiently. But again the lack of tagging and break up of inventory stock list by models fails impedes efficient procurement.
Additionally due to lack of tagging increases the dependency of the unit upon the two individuals who currently operate the inventory racks. with proper tagging available it will make it easy for other personnel to access and operate the inventory racks.
Thus the team has proposed the company to develop and implement a system of tagging of components with vintage/manufacturer and according to model type.

Each year thousands of students in India learn making android apps. Many of them choose making apps as a project. If each of these android app could solve a small little problem of society or common man, their aggregate effort in societal progress will be enormous.

Many of the readers may have often travelled by public transport including auto rickshaws. And there surely must have been times when you felt that the money charged by the vendor was inappropriate or above the stipulated norms. Many cities have fixed tariffs based on the distance one travels and during the time when the journey is made. Yet at times purely due to lack of information, many users of auto rickshaws pay more than they are supposed to.

Here is an example of an student, Neel Kadia who is a student of Government Engineering College,  Gandhinagar has made an app that solves this problem for the unsuspecting customer. He also has a nice youtube video that makes shows how the app works.

Neel is still working on the app and continues to improve it. The app can give user the fare is he is supposed to pay based on kilometres and time of day travelled. He also has a facebook page for the app, where you can find more abou tthe project.

While the problem may not be the most pertinent ones our society faces but then its is one small step towards solving some problem.

India has some 40 to 80 million persons with various kinds of lower limb disabilities. Wheelchairs are a very common mobility assistance system for people with lower limb disability. However wheelchairs cannot serve people with upper both upper and lower limb disability.

It  is suited for persons with both upper and lower limb disability. It is a battery driven wheelchair, which can be operated through joy stick or using tongue and head movements depending upon the kind of disability the person has. The chair sports sensors attached on the seat at the neck position and these can be operated by the movement of the neck to maneuver the wheelchair. Similarly the tongue may also be used to provide inputs to the wheelchair’s mechatronical system through sensors. It can also be easily elevated to a convenient height. This wheelchair facilitates easy movement for people with spinal injuries, as they can navigate it using their tongue.

The project team received the Gandhian Social innovations award at Gandhian Young Technology Awards 2012

Pratik Gandhi , Chintak Dholakia, Sumit Shatwara, Bhargav Desai, Priyesh Rajnikant, Vanraj Kamliya, LD College of Engineering
Project Guide: Prof BH Parmar 


The project has designed a novel drug formulation that inhibits breast cancer causing agent using carbonitrile group.

Inhibition of aromatase, a cytochrome P-450 enzyme responsible for biosynthesis of estrogens, is an effective approach for the prevention and treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Carbonitrile containing compound shows enhancement in aromatase inhibiting activity. The present work aims to introduce carbinitrile group in ring-D and to observe its impact on the aromatase inhibiting activity of the molecule. A novel A- and D-ring substituted steroid 16β-cyano-17β-hydroxy-4-phenylthia-4-androsten-3-one (7) has been synthesized and evaluated for its potential as aromatase inhibitor using human placental microsomal preparation as the enzyme source  and [1β-3H]androstenedione as substrate.

Dr. Prafulla M. Sabale
Parul Institute of Pharmacy, Vadodara

The project comprises of a new technique for providing tsunami forecasting. Accurate forecasting of Tsunami can be very vital in issuing warnings and evacuating the people from regions with the possibility of being hit by tsunami.

The cost of this tsunami warning system may be a hundred times cheaper than the existing systems due to the very low cost of obtaining TEC data from satellite pratham.

The project uses a novel technique for ionospheric tomography using the TEC data. The TEC data for this system is obtained from Pratham, a satellite developed by IIT Bombay. The TEC data is being generated using ten ground stations in India and one in France. The algorithm reconstructs the distribution of electron density across various layers of the ionosphere with more than 85% accuracy. This allows forecasting tsunami with a good deal of accuracy.

The project team received appreciation award underthe category ‘Technological Edge’ at the Gandhian Young Technology Award.

Jhonny Jha, Sanyam Mulay, Deepika Thakur, Husain Manasawala, Tushar Jadhav,IIT Bombay
Project Guide: Prof. K. Sudhakar

Team receiving Gandhian young technology award from Dr. Mashelkar

Team receiving Gandhian young technology award from Dr. Mashelkar

It uses an embedded system to classify tiles in different grades using digital image processing and measure the thickness of tiles using ultrasonic waves. The ceramic tile industry is almost completely automated with the exception of the last step of visual inspection, which is undertaken for the classification of tiles into different grades.  In this system designed by the innovators, images of tiles are captured, digitized and an algorithm used to compare it against a standard tile image and accordingly the tiles are classified.

To measure the thickness of a tile, ultrasonic waves involving pulse echo method are used. The measurement unit uses a continuous signal in the transmission frequency range of ultrasonic transducers. The team designed the systems for a Tile manufacturer based in Morbi, Gujarat. The students had identified this problem as ‘industry defined problem’ while on an industrial shodhyatra at the local unit of tile manufacturer.  The automation of the tile grade classification may reduce the time and improve the reliability of tile grade classification.


Dulari Kothari, Khyati Kotecha, Deep Bhimani, Jasmin Nandaniya, Chirag Patel
Government Engineering College, Rajkot

Lack of access to clean drinking water is a major problem in India. Jeevan Dhara is an innovative water purification system is a promising idea that aims to solve this problem by making a low cost water purification solution that uses electricity. It is still at a conceptual stage with only minimal testing.

Kirti Ranjan, Sankhya Mohanty, Sushant Sachan, IIT Kharagpur

Wheelchairs are extensively used by disabled people to enhance their personal mobility. One of the basic problems of user on manual wheelchair is overcoming architectural barriers like kerbs,stairs etc. on its way.

Vardaan facilitates climbing up and down the stairs by using an innovative ‘Y’ shaped wheel that provides better grip and optimum braking along with a ratchet and a braking system. The ‘Y’ shaped wheel has been designed to mimic the human gait while climbing up. For climbing up the user pulls and pushes the lever ratchet attached on the axle of the Y shaped wheel. The design makes use of the fact that people with lower limb disability have high upper body strength and therefore pulling/pushing the ratchet lever can be conveniently operated by them. While during the climbing down the user can use brakes to control the motion of the wheelchair as the ‘Y’ shaped wheel rolls down the steps.

The braking system along with the ‘Y’ shaped wheel is likely to make the wheelchair a safe solution for climbing stairs for the user. The initial prototype has been tested under various circumstances like step sizes of stairs, people with different weight (58 kg-89kg) and it has shown satisfactory results. The wheelchair can navigate stairs with 350-230 mm width and step heights from 110-185 mm. As per National Building Code Specifications for step sizes of staircase of public building VARDAAN can climb all the public stairs.

The project received Gandhian Young Technology Awards in April, 2012.

Shanu Sharma, IIT Kanpur
Project Guides: Dr. J Ramkumar, Dr. Satyaki Roy

This prototype combines a water heater along with refrigerator. This modified Domestic refrigerator has two interesting novel functions. The waste heat of compressor is used to heat water, through a heat exchanger and in the process of removing heat, the life of compressor is extended and its efficiency goes up. Thus the power consumption also goes down because compressor has to work less.

The lukewarm water thus generated can be used cleaning kitchen utensils, washing clothes, bathing etc. Through this modified design daily 100 liters of lukewarm hot water can be produced while the cooling capacity of the refrigerator is increased by about 20 per cent . This may also reduce the consumption of electricity.

The project received appreciation under the Gandhian young Technology- ‘More from less’ category.

Prof. Anil Gupta had the following comment on the project technology in his DNA column:

“Every fridge manufacturer must be obliged to attach a heat harnesser to the compressor so that energy consumption in the fridge goes down and user can harness extra heat for casserole or heating water. In fact, if pulses are kept in hot water for a while, they cook faster and save further energy. Some of the vegetables need not be cooked at all and they may become palatable merely by keeping in hot water, saving all the nutrients as well.”

Dhruv Patel, Gandhinagar Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar
Gujarat Technological University

Project Guide: Dr Nilesh M Bhatt

Agarbatti making is a large industry in India employing 800,000 people. An agarbatti making worker- who are mostly women and children- has to bend down and work on a wooden board for 8 to 10 hours a day in order to roll 5,000 Agarbatti. This kind of hard labor leads to spinal pain, abdominal pain and pain in the hands and legs.

This prototype aims to mitigate this hardship of agarbatti workers through a low cost agarbatti maker which can be used at home also to make agarbattis. This machine is a low-cost, semi-automatic and hand driven machine which may double the production capacity. The machine is ergonomically designed to mitigate back pain and other spinal problems. Using this machine, a woman may be able to roll about 6000 sticks a day.
The prototype consists of a roller mechanism in which dough is fed. In the machine, the black agarbatti paste is flattened using calendar rolling systems. The flat paste is then cut into strips of required width using cutting roller, which is later wrapped around the bamboo stick using wooden roller.

The final assembly consists of rollers made up of wood, rubber conveyor belts, steel pipes. Therefore owing to the simple component and assembly the cost of final machine may be low.

The project received appreciation under the ‘More from less’ category at the Gandhian Young Technology Awards 2013.

Keshav G,IIT Gandhinagar
Project Guide: Prof Murali Damodaran, Prof. K. Sudhakar