Where Are They Now? – Manas R Das, Whirlpool Global Technology & Engineering Center
Today we are talking to Manas R Das from Whirlpool Global Technology & Engineering Center. Manas studied Systems & Control Engineering at IIT Bombay, and graduated in 2019.
What did you learn in the various projects you took up during your time at university?
This real-life problem solving is awesome for students. Because as students we will enter the workforce with significant experience in the areas of research, logical reasoning, team cooperation, and project management.
Why did you choose to work on various projects apart from your academic work?
Projects encouraged me to delve further into a subject instead of just recalling quizzes, tests, or exams. Experiment is equivalent to experience. Each time I did a project, succeed or fail, that project provided me a new experience.
This real-life problem solving is awesome for students. Because as students we will enter the workforce with significant experience in the areas of research, logical reasoning, team cooperation, and project management. Through projects I worked on, I increased my learning in a system which closely mirrors the reality of adulthood and the workforce rather than just stay with the theoretical knowledge that we learn through classes and courses.
How did you use MATLAB and Simulink in the academic/co-curricular work?
I used MATLAB and Simulink extensively in my academic and co-curricular work. I have used Simulink right from controller design to modelling the DC motor system. I have also worked with MATLAB and Simulink for modelling and system identification. Also, since we can directly interface a wide variety of external hardware directly to Simulink, I used it for a real motor control deployment of my Simulink model using automatic code generation.
I also had an opportunity to work with MATLAB and Simulink for an aerial vehicle design system. This work is concerned with deriving and simulating the kinematics and dynamics of a spider cam system. Basically, a spider cam system consisted of a camera fixed on a base that is suspended by 4 cables; the length of these cables is controlled by 4 DC motors. We first did the simulation of this system using Simulink. But we wanted to be sure that the motors are giving us the right values. So, we used the Monitor and Tune feature of the Arduino Support Package from Simulink, to monitor the motor RPMs. This really helped us since we modified a few parameters and saw the results immediately on the Arduino Mega 2560 board.
How did the co-curricular activities help you find a job?
Hands-on experience is like doing real life implementation with mathematical representation of systems.
Do you think the skills you gained using these tools has helped you in your professional career? If so, how?
Simply yes. These tools taught me a very logical and methodical approach to model-based design which is the way industry works. Dividing the requirements to implement a logic, and analyzing the subsystems using debugging techniques helped me a lot in analytical thinking.
For example, in the same Spider cam design and test project that we had worked on, we went step by step.
- First, develop the simulations to understand the kinematics and dynamics.
- Second, implement a PID controller and test the response on the hardware.
- Third, monitor the output for various inputs.
- Finally, perform system identification to understand the experimental plant that we had.
We worked out on the corner cases where our model would fail; where our assumptions would give up. Learning these approaches before joining the industry greatly helped my smooth transition into the industry.
Did your hands-on experience help to prepare you for your first role in industry?
Hands-on experience is like doing real life implementation with mathematical representation of systems. Hands-on experience helps you find easily the error between your pen and paper implementation with real life system modelling. But the more important part here is understanding what you are doing before you put it on the hardware or in production. That is when you learn what were the assumptions that were not correct or need some changes. You then make the same changes and observe the results. When you are confident enough of your simulations and assumptions then you push it on the hardware. This approach and experience really helped my seamless transition for my first role in the industry.
What are you working on today?
In your current role at Whirlpool Corporation, do you use MATLAB and Simulink?
I work as a Model Based System Analyst at Global Technology and Engineering Centre at Whirlpool Corporation. Most of my work involves doing model-based system analysis and MATLAB and Simulink play a major role in the Model-Based Design process.
What big project are you working on right now?
I am working on applying Model-Based Design processes to cross-domain systems which include systems from the mechanical, chemical, electrical domain. Also, I work on data driven Model-Based Design which involves applying neural network-based Model-Based Design to replace traditional Model-Based Design processes.
While doing projects the proficiency in using tools such as MATLAB and Simulink not only increase your efficiency but also makes you industry ready as these tools are widely used across almost all of the industry.
What advice would you give young engineers seeking employment post-graduation?
Education is an evenly balanced process of theory and application. The real world demands more of the application specific learning. The bridge between the theoretical aspects and real world is hands-on project-based learning. Projects will help you in understanding the subject better which in turn leads to remembering what you have studied for a longer duration of time.
My advice would be don’t just confine yourself to the specific areas of your academics only. Keep your mind open to new technologies that are happening every day around the world. Get yourself involved in different project work individually or in a group that will increase your skill set and increase the probability of getting a job easily once you get into the industry.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Do you remember all that stuff that you read for the exam you wrote a few months ago? Probably not. But you will definitely remember a lot of things if you have done a project. Projects encourage us to dig deeper and help us learn new things. Projects make learning more learner-driven than teacher-driven. And while doing projects the proficiency in using tools such as MATLAB and Simulink not only increase your efficiency but also makes you industry-ready as these tools are widely used across almost all of the industry.
It’s really good to see that MathWorks is always bringing state of the implementations to its audience and helps numerous users/developers around the world keeping abreast of the recent trends of technology.
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