The synergy created by the troika of government-academia-industry had long been known to create an ecosystem for relentless innovation. Many developed countries like USA, Germany, UK, Japan had leveraged this collaborative model to remain at the top of the technology chain. Realizing the need for such a system in India, especially for the capital goods manufacturing sector, Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) and its think tank had long been pushing the Government of India and various academic institutions to create schemes for the collaboration of academia and capital goods industry. IIT Madras took a plunge in 2008 to create such an ecosystem and finally in 2012 had a proposal sanctioned by Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (OPSA) to GoI to Develop a Next Generation High Precision Grinding Machine in collaboration with an industrial partner. As the project progressed, the confidence for academia-industry collaboration strengthened in the minds of IIT Madras and IMTMA. As a result, in 2013, IMTMA and IIT Madras jointly convened a meeting with IMTMA’s members to deliberate on the need for Centres of Excellence that could develop the fledgling ecosystem. The positive deliberations in the meeting, helped the IMTMA to push the case with GoI and the Governments own study through the Planning Commission and DIPP pointed out the need to promote such schemes for the development of the capital goods sector in India.
The sustained efforts from IMTMA and Government of India led to the formulation of the “Enhancement of Competitiveness of Capital Goods Sector” scheme in 2015. Under this scheme provisions were created for the formation of Centres of Excellence with eminent academia and R&D institutes. IIT Madras being an prime mover, took the opportunity to submit a proposal for the formation of Centre of Excellence on Machine Tools and Production Technology along with the support of IMTMA. The proposal was submitted with the support of six industrial partners and with eleven proposals for technology development. The same was sanctioned in January 2016.
Meanwhile the project that started in 2012 with the support of OPSA was nearing its conclusion with the development of a Next Generation Precision Grinder, which was finally inaugurated by Dr. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI at IIT Madras in June 2016. The grand success of this project once again showcased the potential of the synergistic troika of government-academia-industry for commercially viable product development. With the success of the project and sanction for the CoE, IIT Madras formed the Centre of Excellence on Machine Tools and Production Technology as a special purpose vehicle and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Center (AMTDC) was setup as a registered society under Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975.