Manufacturing in India: IIT Madras and GE Aviation’s innovation program goes to the test

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In an important step toward maturing the technology, locally designed and developed high-speed aerospace Micro Turbo machines were submitted to the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) for testing.

It is a product that was jointly developed under a joint innovation program launched in 2016 by IIT Madras (IIT-M) and the American company GE Aviation (GE).

Learn more about joint innovation

Researchers and engineers from GE and IIT-M worked together to develop an ecosystem of local aerospace suppliers. This is intended for the manufacture of high-precision, high-speed turbomachinery that conforms to global aerospace industry manufacturing standards.

According to an official company statement, for the manufacture and assembly of the prototype, two private companies – Pragati Transmission Pvt Ltd and Turbocam India Pvt. Ltd., participated in this project.

Learn more about collaboration for Aviation

In 2016, the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on research and development.

Over the past five years, an investment of around Rs 10 crore has been 75% funded by IIT(M) through the Ucchatar Avaishkar Yojana (UAY) scheme of the Government of India. The remaining 25% was invested by GE. The collaboration related to the design, the manufacture of a Micro Turbomachine. This is now ready and being tested in India.

Industry and Academia Collaboration

According to Alok Nanda, CEO, GE India Technology Center & CTO GE South Asia, this program is a great example of collaboration between industry and academia. Launched under UAY of the government, it is expected to promote industrial innovation that will meet the needs of local industry.

Expressing his joy in working with NAL, he added, “Testing is an important part of the product development cycle.”

Learn more about the project

It was designed by the late BVSS Professor Prasad (former Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT-M) and his team of talented researchers and faculty members were able to meet the requirements and challenges of micro-turbomachine development .

Several simulations were undertaken which were necessary to arrive at the optimal design of the product.

This was followed by test benches which were designed and developed with active collaboration between the IITM and GE teams.

According to Professor A Seshadri Sekhar, Principal Investigator of the project and current Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT(M) throughout the process, all researchers have been in constant contact with GE Aviation engineers.

There is a Multipurpose Turbine Test Rig (VTTR) at NAL which is intended for testing high speed turbines up to 50,000 rpm and 500 kW of power.

This, according to Jitendra J Jadhav, director of CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, will be used for the performance evaluation of the micro-turbomachine which was jointly developed by IIT-M and GE.

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