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Student story

Anurag Bagalkot

20 July 2023

"A PhD in this field can help me achieve my dream of working as an R&D engineer and give back to society..."


Master of Engineering Studies with an endorsement in Mechanical Engineering

Studying towards a PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Industrial PhD Student Intern, Talbot Technologies

With previous studies in Mechanical Engineering in India, Anurag has long developed an appreciation for the subject as a precise and creative form of engineering.

"The field of study is all practical, I can see almost everything happening. There are no assumptions or theories. It is all just intense study of the material properties and designing and lateral thinking abilities to solve a problem. When I make a mould I can see what it looks like, why it fails or why it is better than the moulds or designs other people have made."

Anurag is determined to contribute more to the industry as a Research and Development Engineer, and so decided to carry on to postgraduate study to discover more about the benefits of injection moulds in daily use.

"Plastic Injection moulded parts are everywhere – from medical devices to aerospace parts everything has an injection moulded part. Improving these parts can benefit society directly," he says. "A PhD in this field can help me achieve my dream of working as an R&D engineer and give back something to society as well."

When it came to choosing a location for his studies, Anurag looked for the best option for his academic pursuits and love for outdoor hobbies.

"I spoke to academic staff from a lot of universities around the world, and none of them replied to emails as often as the professors from UC. A professor was even kind enough to have a Skype session with me over my research ideas and courses. The Skype call was everything for me. That is when I chose UC.

"I had always heard that people are very warm and welcoming in New Zealand; couple that with a world-class research institute like UC and the outdoor activities Christchurch presents, it was a very simple decision to choose NZ as my destination."

He was a little intimidated when he first arrived with New Zealand being so different from India, but found life here enjoyable once he got started at UC and met new people. As such, Anurag became a Student Mentor to help other international students settle in when they first start at UC.

"I was expecting to be homesick after a few months, but Kiwis are very friendly people and here I am after a year telling everyone that Christchurch is the best place to live your life," he says.

With an R&D Fellowship Grant from Callaghan Innovation funding his PhD, Anurag is also gaining industry experience through an internship at Talbot Technologies designing injection moulds.

His current PhD thesis examines the design of plastic injection mould tools using additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

"We are typically trying to 3D print injection mould tools that would be able to replace conventional steel moulds. This area of research is a fast growing field which can revolutionise the way medical and aerospace devices are prototyped.

"Conventional steel moulds are costly and take a long time to be manufactured and any design modifications in these further increases the time and cost. 3D printed moulds can solve this problem by reducing the cost and time to manufacture these moulds. The main underlying challenge is to understand how cooling of moulds work and finding out ways to make these moulds more versatile to work with a wide range of materials."

All in all, he looks forward to using his knowledge within the industry and is thankful to have the background he needed from UC.

"UC is one of the best universities,’ he says. "I would recommend my professor Dr. Dirk Pons to any student who wishes to research in the field of manufacturing and engineering management. If you love the outdoor and chilled lifestyle, Canterbury is the place to be."

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