An electric car being assembled at Mechanical workshop in 1970s
(Photo courtesy of Emeritus Professor P A De Silva)
The Department of Mechanical Engineering was established in 1969 under the Ceylon College of Technology, but has its origin in the Ceylon Technical College dating back to 1893. Over the years, the Department has effectively contributed to the overall academic programmes of the Faculty of Engineering at Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels. At the same time, the Department has engaged in numerous research projects and outreach activities that benefited the larger community.
In 1988, the Department took a major step forward in improving the quality and relevance of the study programme by establishing the CAD/CAM/CAE Centre under a UNDP funded project. Following the changes in the Universities all over the world, the Department launched a semester-based study programme since year 2000 leading to a B.Sc. honours degree in Engineering. In 2006, the Department won a USD 1 Mn World Bank grant to improve the relevance and quality of the undergraduate study programme. In 2010, a centre funded by the Ministry of Industries was established to design and manufacture Dies and Moulds for the industry in Sri Lanka. In 2014, the Department initiated two major streams of study, namely Aeronautical Engineering and Mechatronics Systems Engineering for the already well-established Mechanical Engineering programme, to cater for the industry needs.
At present, the number of undergraduate students enrolled in the Department per intake is 120. Out of these, 10 students select Aeronautical Engineering and another 10 select Mechatronics Systems Engineering specialisations. The Undergraduate programme of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has received national and international recognition. The programme was accredited by the IMechE (UK) and IESL from 2007 to 2012. From year 2013 onwards, the study programme received Washington Accord accreditation through the IESL.
The Department pays special emphasis on Research and Development activities. In line with this, the Department has established a Research Laboratory and a Product Development Unit that is open 24 hours a day where students and staff work together in developing new products and solving industry-related problems. Department offers three postgraduate study programmes leading to PG Diploma/MEng/MSc qualifications in Energy Technology, Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Building Services Engineering. The Building Services Engineering programme is conducted in collaboration with the Departments of Civil and Electrical Engineering. The Department also offers PhD, MPhil and MSc research degrees to suitably qualified candidates. At present, research attracts a considerable amount of funding from national and international bodies. There are also several collaborations that have been established with national and international partners.
The Department extends its services to the community engaged in technology-related industry by conducting regular Continuous Professional Development programmes of the highest standard. Furthermore, the Department leverages its strengths to the communities around Sri Lanka by involving in technology transfer activities. Offering expert services to the state and private sector organisations on a regular basis is also a key outreach activity of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.