IIT Madras Gets India’s First ‘Cold Spray’ SMART Lab

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The laboratory consists of a state-of-the-art High-Pressure Cold Spray (HPCS) equipment imported from Japan.

The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) in collaboration with General Electric (GE) has set up a lab that will develop advanced services technology for aircraft engine components.

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The ‘Cold Spray’ SMART (Surface Modification and Additive Research Technologies) Laboratory is the first-of-its-kind facility being installed in any academic institute in India.

IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi and Alok Nanda – Chief Executive Officer, GE India Technology Centre and Chief Technology Officer, GE South Asia – inaugurated the laboratory on Friday in the presence of faculty, researchers and students from IIT Madras and GE officials.

The laboratory consists of a state-of-the-art High-Pressure Cold Spray (HPCS) equipment imported from Plasma Giken, Japan.

Cold Spray is an emerging technology for advanced manufacturing & services and will be utilized to co-develop processes for aero-engine applications.

MRO ecosystem in the country

The project is funded under ‘Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana’ (UAY) of the Government of India, which is intended to boost collaboration between academia and private sector.

According to Alok Nanda, India’s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) market for civilian aircraft is expected to grow at 7 per cent CAGR from its current value of Rs 4,800 crore.

Currently, 90 per cent of the MRO needs of Indian carriers are done outside India.

“This program will enable strengthening the MRO ecosystem in the country, help develop advanced technology expertise in the country and skill development of our engineers in additive technology. I am excited about this technology partnership with IIT Madras,” he said.

As part of the collaborative efforts, IIT Madras would develop advanced coatings meeting specifications of the aerospace standard.

Cold spray technology vs thermal spray

Cold spray technology is different from other widely used thermal spray processes as there is no melting and oxidation of powders, enabling production of high quality coatings,  explained Professor M. Kamaraj from the IIT, a principle investigator of the project.

As the deposition rates are very high leading to less powder wastage, it can be used for additive manufacturing and repair of components as well, he said.

This smart technology has application temperatures that are much lower than other thermal-spray and welding processes, which means the distortion and stresses associated with those repair techniques are avoided, leading to longer asset life.

Scientists at GE are already combining gas dynamic ‘cold spray’ deposition technology with robotics and machine learning to build and repair metal parts using additive manufacturing with greater precision which was never a possibility earlier.

 

(With inputs from The New Indian Express)

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