MAS, Sri Lanka’s largest design-to-delivery service provider in the apparel industry and the Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College (CINEC), initiated a Research Centre. The Centre will be a one-of-a-kind research facility, which will create an environment where students and industry experts can work together to innovate and solve industry specific issues and identify novel solutions through engineering and automation, a Press Release stated.
The opening ceremony was held on 3 July 2017, under the auspices of the Chairman of MAS, Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean, CINEC President and MD, Capt. Ajith Peiris, CINEC Joint MD, Nilanthi Sivapragasam, MAS Director Modernization, Samatha Seneviratne; MAS Kreeda Director Human Resources and Sustainable Business, Damitha Dharmasena, MAS Kreeda Director Operations Aliasgar Adamali; CINEC, Senior Consultant, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, CINEC Vice President, Prof. Capt. Nalaka Jayakody, Senior Director Research and International Cooperation of Prof. N. Rajkumar, CINEC GM Finance, Planning & Projects, Tharanga Gamage, CINEC GM, Foreign Projects & Local Branches Capt. MAS Kreeda Peshala Madagama, DGM, Autonomation, Tharanga Nanayakkara along with a host of other invitees and students at the campus, the Release stated.
“Accelerated innovation is the final goal”, said Capt. Ajith Peiris. He elaborated the advantages of the alliance. “We are breaking new ground for non-State universities, creating a place where our students can problem-solve beyond the realm of academics, with real world applications and outcomes. This is the power of open innovation, it will offer our students the ability to see beyond academics into application, paving the way for their future employment. This is especially relevant in the current context as it creates industry-ready students, who can contribute to the development of the nation”, he added.
CINEC students shared their optimism on the state-of-the-art facility. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to move our focus from the classroom to actual application. Sometimes, there is a real disconnect between the two and a lot is lost in translation, but here you have something really special – a ‘meeting of the minds’ so to speak” said Marlon Keppitipola, final year Mechatronics Engineering undergraduate.
“To some of you the word ‘Autonomation’ may be new. It is a word we coined and means automation with a human touch, unifying both the creativity of the craftsman and the consistency of the machine. Autonomation in collaboration with a local university is our goal, and the final outcome we foresee is contributing to national development by creating Outcome-Based Education. This initiative will be an opportunity for these fresh minds to tackle the challenges of apparel manufacturing, contributing to improved productivity, product quality, and Team Member experience through Autonomation. This is a new experience for us and CINEC, but I believe we will be able to learn from each other and work collaboratively to make this initiative a success”, said Deshamanya, Mahesh Amalean.
The MAS-CINEC Research Centre is already operational with students and MAS employees collaborating on some initial engineering and automation projects. But at the heart of the Research Centre is a collaborative research methodology, where students gain invaluable insight and experience where they are able to see their ideas and concepts become a reality, the Release further added.