A Conversation with Mr. Hemant Gadgil – Director Industry Solutions Group: 3DPLM on AAKRUTI 2015 Design Contest
On October 1st, I had a chance to witness the finals of the ‘AAKRUTI 2015’ –a nation-wide design contest organized by Pune based 3DPLM in association with Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS Corp. AAKRUTI aims to encourage engineering students to showcase their design skills, competency and talent using the latest design tools from Dassault Systèmes. It was great to see an eminent jury panel comprising of industry, academia and CAD software industry to judge the finalists. The jury included big names like
1) Suchit Jain (Vice President, Strategy and Business Development- Dassault Systèmes - USA)
2) Sunderarajan Karaikurichi (Brand Head – SOLIDWORKS Brand, 3DPLM)
3) Dr. Aditya Abhyankar (Den Pune University)
4) Prof.Chakradeo (MIT School of Design)
5) Sanjeev Mantri – AGM Tata Technologies – Tata Motors
6) Dr. Mohan Godse – VP – Endurance Technologies
This year, 700+ teams comprising of 1400 students from 129 colleges and 17 states from registered for this competition and received more than 150 great ideas from various teams across engineering colleges all over India. From all these teams, 13 best teams – 11 from student category and 2 from professor’s category were invited to 3DPLM’s state of the art R&D Campus in Pune office for the final round.
In the background of the event I had opportunity to have conversation with the man behind the success of AAKRUTI, the visionary leader who started Aakruti – Mr. Hemant Gadgil – Director Industry Solutions Group: 3DPLM Software Solutions Ltd. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
How did the concept of AAKRUTI contest came into existence?
In the year 2010, we started the competition for the employees and their family members of 3DPLM. We wanted employees to utilize their modeling concepts and involve family members in the domain in which we are working. It was very successful we got a lot of innovative ideas. During discussion with the organizing committee members the idea of involving engineering students got evolved to provide a platform for young engineers to showcase their creativity and talent. In 2011, we started a competition for engineering students from India.
I think last year you also allowed Architecture students to participate, but they were not seen this time?
As the theme for this year’s competition was little different and not relevant to architects. So, we decided to go with Mechanical, Automotive and production engineering students. Last year we had a topic like – preservation of historical monuments and smart homes – building your own dream home hence we allowed architecture students to participate.
What changes in the competition you have experienced since last 5 years?
When we started our contest for students, the colleges or universities were not aware about our initiative. We had to take lots of efforts to reach to students, colleges and Universities to create awareness. But, now AAKRUTI has become a well-known brand – one of the best design contests held in India. With every new academic year, we receive enquiries from students and professors about the announcement of the contest.
When are the competition dates announced?
Until now, we use to have finals in Feb, we have a technical annual day for 3DPLM in Feb, which is one month activity. However, we realized that in second semester there are lots of activities going-on at college level. So, students are not able to participate. Also, few professors suggested us to do it in first semester. So, starting this year we did it in first semester (Aug -Sept -Oct) and results are magnificent. We got the best response we ever got in past five years.
What is the role of Dassault Systèmes in this contest?
Our competition is based on Dassault Systèmes’ products. They helped us to advertise and support this contest through their network and re-sellers. Their educational re-sellers take care of providing the software and support required depending upon the theme. Our previous contest on 3DVIA particularly was very successful. This year all 700 teams which registered for the contest were given a 3 months free access to educational license of SOLIDWORKS. In addition, we have got great support for DS executives throughout this contest to make it successful.
Do you provide any training to selected teams?
I will say the other way around. Till now we were going to colleges in Pune, Mumbai or Bengaluru to provide training on the products before the competition, thereby preparing them for the contest. But for products like SOLIDWORKS needs no introduction in engineering community. SOLIDWORKS has good presence in academics throughout India along with the excellent support from SW academic partners.
The full suite of SOLIDWORKS was given to students before competition and we have given them advice to explore full suite and utilize it to express their ideas. Many students have not just used SOLIDWORKS 3D features but also have made a use of simulation, animation, rendering and other advance tools to present their ideas in a better way.
Any plans for next year’s theme and any additions to make it better?
We have not thought of it at present. The theme has lot of relevance on the current affairs, like this time we had ‘Smart products for smart cities/villages’ taken from the latest initiative of our Government to develop smart cities and villages in India. We would have discussion with DS to take this contest to its next level where we can have the prototypes of the designs presented by students. We can use the 3D printing technology to get it done or would like industry to get involved to support students to get it done. Next year’s theme would depend on the problems faced during that time and we want students to think of a real-world innovative solutions to resolve that problems and make people’s life easy and better.
Out of 11 teams almost half are from Maharashtra any reason why most teams from Pune got selected?
Out of 700 teams that registered for the competition almost 30% are from Pune and Mumbai. When we shortlisted 150 valid models we didn’t to go by area or team or college in mind. We selected them based of their ideas, creativity in line with the theme given. It is mere coincidence and statistical average that 5 teams from Pune are in finals today.
Any message to engineering students?
I think engineering is all about Problem Solving – Ultimately, what you learn in engineering is how to define a problem, research options, understand capabilities and components, and implement (execute) solutions. A platform like ‘AAKRUTI’ gives a better understanding of the newest, more challenging problems being solved in a field also helps in developing presentation and communication skills of the students. I advice students to participate in various design competitions and paper presentations apply your skills to overcome challenges and develop expertise, that makes an engineer student capable and employable.
I would like to thank Mr. Hemant Gadgil for taking the time to have discussion on AAKRUTI – extend my best wishes to the organizers and wish grand success of AAKRUTI in coming years.
Continuing with the contest -
It was great pleasure to attend the presentations by all teams. The Q&A sessions by experienced jury members made it more interesting. It was really challenging task to guess the winners of the contest. Distinguished guests includes Dr. Chandan Chowdhury – Managing Director, Dassault Systemes India Pvt. Ltd and Mr. P M Ravikumar – Country manager India – DS SOLIDWORKS
That environment friendly solar mechanical electricity generator developed by Pune-based Army Institute of Technology students Sooraj Kumar, Sudhanshu Sharma and Sonu Yadav were declared winners of the students category.
A team of students, Omik Save and Krishna Navale, from VIVA Institute of Technology of Virar in Mumbai were the first runner-up. Save and Navale, third-year mechanical engineering students, presented the idea of generating electricity while purifying sewage water. They used simple mechanism to tackle problems related to sewage treatment, water and electricity shortage.
A quadcopter or drone that can spray pesticide over a large farm, a nursery or a hilly area in a cost-effective manner was the second runner-up. The concept came from Sagar Karnawat and Akshay Jadhav, final year students of mechanical engineering at the Pune Vidhyarthi Griha’s College of Engineering and Technology .
Professor Ashwini Sharma from Northcap university, Gurgaon was declared winner for the professors category for his innovative product – Sanatanitm : Machine that develops low cost sanitary napkins that could be utilized by village women as a good source of income and produce low cost hygienic sanitary napkins in village using the locally available raw material.
Overall AAKRUTI encouraged students to build their team skills, solve real world problems, interact with relevant role models and test their abilities against peers. The competition provided an excellent opportunity for mechanical, automobile engineering students to showcase their 3D design skills. AAKRUTI has become a unique platform for students in India to experiment, brainstorm, stimulate interest, and showcase their creativity with great designs. Students not only got attractive prizes, but also got recognized on this unique creative platform beaming their career path.