Indian Master’s Student despite the Corona CrisisLokesh Venkatraman is developing a measuring tool for effective maintenance of machines at Aalen University

Student Lokesh Venkatraman from India is completing his research Master at Aalen University. Photo: Aalen Unviversity | Rainer Börret

Tu, 02. March 2021

Gaining international experience as a student during a pandemic? Lokesh Venkatraman has proved that it is possible. The Indian-born student is currently completing his research master at Aalen University. Together with Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH, he is working on a tool to evaluate the condition of machinery at the center for optical technologies, which can then be used to reduce the need for maintenance, as well as recognize signs of wear in advance.

Does the Corona Crisis affect the international career of this student? This was not a consideration for Lokesh Venkatraman, who continued on his way. The 28-year-old studied mechanical engineering in India at Visvesvaraya Technological University and worked for three years as a design engineer in the city Bangalore. Despite his successful start to his career, he wanted to gain experience abroad. For that reason, he applied to Aalen University in 2020 and impressed the acceptance committee of the study program, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Masters (AMM), during his introduction via video conference. “The master in AMM is a unique study program at Aalen University, where I have the opportunity to apply my own interests and abilities independently for real-time projects from companies. That’s how I’m also gaining practical experience at the same time,” says Venkatraman.

Besides for his education, he also specifically chose Aalen as a city: “Compared to the millions of cities in India, Aalen is a small city with fewer residents, a mountainous environment, and offers me a lot of activities and relaxation.”

Venkatraman informed himself about the university and city through the internet. It is the first time that he has come to Germany, but he “loves to discover new places and people, and German culture is fantastic.”

The Corona Crisis made his start more difficult, because due to the lockdown, it was “hard to understand how things function,” but with the help of his new friends and the support of his lecturers at the university, he has arrived well.

His projects have also helped him: Venkatraman is currently developing a robotic head with sensors, in order to determine the polishing parameters of steel and glass. In his master thesis, Venkatraman is now investigating how to correct surface dimensional errors in nanometers with the help of measuring tools. For that purpose, he is working closely with Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH and their on-site specialists. The results should allow for a deeper understanding of polishing processes. On the other hand, the evaluation of the machinery’s condition should be simplified. In this way, developers and users will be able to conduct maintenance in advance and in preventative ways. “Every day I learn something new and unique. I would also like to further build on my skills in the future,” he says. His goal is to stay in Germany after finishing his Master’s degree and settle down with a career.

The collaboration between Aalen University and the company Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH is conducted in the framework of the SmartPro project – one of the partnership networks promoted by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The partner company benefits from the research results of the university, and the students receive insight into the high-tech work of the industry.