Brace Up For Future Technology Demands, Expert Charges Mechanical Engineering Students
An automobile manufacturing expert has said students of Mechanical Engineering at Covenant University, and Nigerian engineers in general, would have to elevate their creative ingenuity beyond the ordinary so as not to be left behind by the fast pace of technological development.
Mr. Gitesh Yahnick, the Chief Operating Officer of Dana Motors Limited, manufacturers of Kia Motors in Nigeria, who gave the charge at the 5th Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Mechanical Engineering held on Thursday at the department, lauded the students for coming up with inventions but emphasized that they must think out of the box.
“Producing automobile in our country (Nigeria) entails many things. I see many student projects, we are trying to re-invent the wheel,” said Yahnick. “Please change the thinking, we don’t need toy cars, think out of the box. Think of what can make your country to take a leap ahead.
“Let us start thinking from now, are we going to remain stagnant or widen our horizon?’ the automobile expert, who spoke extempore queried.
The Indian said his country has made some remarkable progress in automobile manufacturing by starting the hard way. Immediately after independence, India, he stated, had to ban import and collaborated with Fiat, an Italian automobile manufacturing giant, to produce Premier. Then the country later came up with Ambassador.
“If you want to catch up with the world, you have to run fast,” he said, adding that, “for many years one company in India has been producing air gasket for Mercedes and send it to Germany.”
Kia Motors, it was disclosed, currently employs fresh graduates from different institutions in Nigeria, including Covenant University, to give them the chance of practicalising the knowledge gained in the classroom.
“After setting up an assembly plant, we resolve to employ only educated engineers; it is a policy in our company. Many of your products are now working with us at our assembly plant, but we are considering a partnership between our company and educational institutions,” said Yahnick.
Apparently, in a bid to authenticate the creative ingenuity of CU’s Mechanical Engineering students, the department made a brief presentation of a mock chassis sports car, designed after some 500 Level students had participated in a Formula Sports Competition in the United States, where they qualified for the Class 2 event.
The department made an appeal to Kia Motors for sponsorship to enable the completion of the project. Specifically, a request was made for fiberglass, technical knowledge and material design.
Yahnick, who applauded the initiative by describing it as “a nice creation”, however, suggested an improvement to it. “The engine has to have more power; it has to be quick enough. Suspension design and aerodynamics are very important, and you have to make it in Nigeria with whatever materials are available for easy replacement of the parts.”
The world, he stressed, is becoming very transparent, and Nigeria can have some technical knowledge available.
“If you buy television sets today, all the TV will have similar technology. So what is that main difference to sell automobile to consumers? The difference is that new thing. I request all of you to look at new areas of mechanical application.
“Nigeria is growing; a lot of manufacturing is coming up and a lot of opportunities beckoning. If the students are ready, there’ll be nothing like unemployment. All you need is focus on your study. Never forget basic things, which make many things to happen,” Yahnick explained.
Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Oluseyi Ajayi, who expressed gratitude to Mr. Yahnick for his thought-provoking lecture, said the department “looks forward to signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Kia so that the relationship will get better.
“We are very much interested; we want to have an automobile section in the real sense,” he added.