In an important step towards technology maturation, locally designed and developed aviation high-speed Micro Turbo machines has gone to National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) for testing.
This is a product which has been jointly developed under a joint innovation programme started in 2016 by IIT Madras (IIT-M) and US based GE Aviation (GE).
More about the joint innovation
Researchers and engineers of GE and IIT-M worked together to develop a local aviation supplier ecosystem. This is for the manufacture of high-precision and high-speed turbomachinery which is in line with global aviation industry manufacturing standards.
According to an official statement from the company, for the manufacturing and assembly of the prototype two private companies — Pragati Transmission Pvt Ltd and Turbocam India Pvt. Ltd., have been part of this project.
More about the collaboration for Aviation
In 2016 the two signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on research and development.
Over the last five years, an investment of about Rupees 10 crores was funded 75 percent by IIT (M) through Ucchatar Avaishkar Yojana (UAY) scheme of Government of India. The balance 25 percent was invested by GE. The collaboration was for designing, manufacturing a Micro Turbomachine. This is now ready and is being tested in India.
Collaboration of industry and academia
According to Alok Nanda, CEO, GE India Technology Centre & CTO GE South Asia, this programme is a great example of collaboration between the industry and academia. Launched under UAY of the government, it is expected to promote industrial innovation that will address the needs of local industry.
Expressing his delight at working with NAL, he added, “Testing is an important part of the product development cycle.”
More about the project
It was conceived by Late Professor B V S S Prasad (former head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT-M) and his team of talented researchers and faculty members could meet the demands and challenges of developing the Micro Turbomachine.
Several simulations were undertaken which were required to arrive at the optimum design of the product.
This was followed by test rigs which were designed and developed with active collaboration between IITM and GE teams.
According to Prof A Seshadri Sekhar, principal investigator of the project and the current Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT (M) throughout the whole process, all the researchers were in constant touch with engineers of GE Aviation.
There is a Versatile Turbine Test Rig (VTTR) at NAL which is for high-speed turbine testing up to 50,000 rpm & 500 kW power.
This, according to Jitendra J Jadhav, Director, CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, will be used for performance evaluation of Micro Turbomachine which has been jointly developed by IIT-M and GE.