Mechanical engineering is one of the most versatile disciplines among the wide spectrum of engineering studies. Some of the areas in mechanical engineering such as production automobile, aeronautical, marine, industrial, tool and die engineering have developed as independent full-fledged disciplines. Any industry requires inputs from mechanical engineering. There is substantial research work in the diverse fields of this broad discipline.
We import a lot of technology. It is estimated that mechanical engineering technology accounts for nearly half of the total technology imported. This points to the need for intensive research in this discipline, for ensuring self reliance. A key player in the field is the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Mahatma Gandhi Avenue, Durgapur – 713209. Web site: www.cmeri.res.in.
CMERI, which was established in 1958, is the apex R&D institute for mechanical engineering, under the aegis CSIR. The institute facilitates innovative studies utilising Indian talent. It is poised to expand its horizon of research activities so as to steer the country forward in cutting-edge and sunrise fields. It offers assistance to industries in the form of feasibility studies, research, training, and consultancy.
The institute aims at product / process development, import substitution, export promotion, waste recovery, quality control, and standardisation. It tries to provide complete technology package comprising design and manufacturing know-how, consultancy, and training. CMERI has an extension centre at Ludhiana, the Mechanical Engineering Research and Development Organization (MERADO).
Let us look at the various activities of research and development undertaken by the institute.
Robotics and mechatronics: CMERI has expertise in the field of robotic systems, control engineering, and other related areas.
It has undertaken the development of a vacuum mopping system for spilled heavy water for atomic power plants.
It has developed the first indigenous 60kg payload SCARA Manipulator. The first indigenous remotely operated vehicle for a depth of 200m for the Department of Ocean Development, Government of India, also came from this division.
Energy and process plants: The institute conducts studies in the broad field of thermal and fluid engineering. It offers technical support to the industries.
Heat power engineering: The essential focus is on process design and development in the area of thermal / fluid systems in power and process plants, drying for agro industries, and advanced energy conversion. Other areas of work includealternative energy, fuel cell, hydrogen generation from biomass and other sources, and application and improvement in drying system for grains and seeds.
Process plant engineering:Design, development, installation and commissioning of different kinds of process plants. Executing national mission programmes. Life assessment of process plants structures.
A significant contribution of the group is thedesign and development of carcass utilisation plant in Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai. Meat is processed as noodles. Tallow is used in the soap industry, bone powder as fertilizer, and the processed meat as poultry feed.
Chemistry and biomimetics: Biomimetics refers to man-made processes, substances, devices, or systems that imitate nature. It involves the application of biological systems found in nature to engineering and technology. The research in the chemistry and biomimetics group focuses on mechanistic studies of thermal reactions in solution, and photochemical studies. Modern kinetic and analytical techniques are applied for elucidating the molecular nature of the investigated reactions.