[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The professorial inauguration of Professor Kapil Gupta, a Professor in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Technology, at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), took place on Thursday, 1 September 2022.
The topic of his address, “Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing for a Better World”, saw Prof Gupta present some of the attempts he has made as an engineer, a teacher, and a researcher towards making a sustainable or better world.
He focused his speech on specific key points namely, an introduction to Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing; Making a Better World by Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing; Facts and Figures; and a Call to Action.
Prof Gupta pointed out that accelerated global demand and escalated environmental footprint are the two major reasons behind the adoption of advanced and sustainable technologies in manufacturing.
“In other words, the new and growing demand related to quality, productivity, and sustainability has led to the adoption of advanced and sustainable interventions in manufacturing. Meeting the needs of the present should not be at the cost of compromising the ability of future generations.”
Prof Gupta added: “Environmental degradation is one of the biggest challenges in Industry 4.0. To overcome this challenge, it is necessary to incorporate advanced and sustainable manufacturing practices. It is known that the economy, society, and environment are the three pillars of sustainability. Making use of intelligent/smart, novel, and sustainable technologies can strengthen these three pillars.”
He said the approach to sustainability in South Africa faced specific challenges – size and the rapid pace of growth. He included lack of awareness, interest and engagement tendency, working beyond comfort-zone, paucity of time, funding, resources and skills, absence of collaborative efforts as well as low intensity of research as some of the challenges.
In terms of opportunities to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), Prof Gupta mentioned that local and international collaborations were important.
He added that youth empowerment and upskilling, SDGs advocacy and dissemination (integrating SDGs into research and teaching), research development innovations, plans, policies, funding-sponsorships and interdisciplinary engagements were key in making this happen.
He placed emphasis on how advanced and sustainable manufacturing technologies also enable researchers to make contributions towards SDGs to shape a better world.
“I consider SDG-17, “Partnership for the Goals,” as the key to achieving other goals. Having a specialisation in manufacturing, I have worked towards SDG-9 ‘Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure’ and SDG-12 ‘Responsible Production and Consumption’ along with SDG-3 ‘Good Health and Well-Being’ and SDG-4 ‘Quality Education’.”
Prof Gupta, in conclusion, said the technological advancements and industrial revolutions will never end. “Our focus should be on continuous improvement to achieve excellence and sustainability. Let us collaborate in pursuit of excellence and to make a better world.”
Prof. Gupta has more than 10 years of professional experience in academic and research fields. Modern machining processes, precision engineering, gear technology, sustainable manufacturing, and industry 4.0 are the areas of his interest. He is a Y-rated researcher by the National Research Foundation South Africa and a member of the South African Young Academy of Science. He is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa as a Professional Engineering Technologist.
Prof Gupta addressed UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Professor Daniel Mashao, and invited guests. Dr Amogelang Sylvester Bolokang, Principal Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) gave a brief response to the address.
Watch the inauguration here: