Ontario universities aim to create advanced manufacturing consortium
Stephen LawElectronics Engineering
Three of the top research-intensive and industrially collaborative universities in Ontario – McMaster University, University of Waterloo and Western University – received $35 million in funding over five years from the Government of Ontario today as part of a $50 million project aimed at combining existing strengths in the heart of Ontario’s manufacturing region to create an Advanced Manufacturing Consortium.
The Consortium is meant to lead Ontario in advanced manufacturing in the broadest sense, including in emerging sectors like next-generation additive manufacturing, digital components and devices, across a variety of sectors with the potential to make significant impact on a global scale. The three partner institutions have already established a significant critical mass of infrastructure, talent and know-how.
In Ehsan Toyserkani’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab at the University of Waterloo, researchers are exploring the potential of 3D printing technology.
“Manufacturing isn’t disappearing but it is being reshaped in revolutionary ways. That shift opens the door to new opportunities in advanced manufacturing,” says McMaster president Patrick Deane. “We have a great history of working with industry and university partners to create new products and processes to give companies a competitive advantage. Ontario’s support for this partnership is a vote of confidence in our researchers and students and signals the province’s commitment to the economic future of our region.”
McMaster, Waterloo and Western have a strong track record in research, training and commercialization in the advanced manufacturing and materials sectors and are well positioned to leverage this strategic investment in broader collaborations to accelerate Ontario’s transition from our traditional manufacturing sector to lead the world in the next generations of advanced manufacturing.
“Our universities are uniquely positioned to lead the transition to manufacturing driven by knowledge and innovation and make a lasting impact on the economic prosperity of our province,” says Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo.
The universities are already working together on a smaller scale in some of these areas and achieving significant results. For example, Waterloo and McMaster have been successful with the “Initiative for Automotive Manufacturing Innovation” and Western and McMaster have a successful partnership for many projects involving the Fraunhofer Composites Centre. All three universities have successfully collaborated on a project for lightweighting of automotive components using magnesium in an Automotive Partnership Canada project.
By leveraging existing research strengths, infrastructure and research capacity, the Consortium will serve as a centre for the development of new technologies, creating new products and production methods and generating new highly-skilled jobs.
“Working together, our universities are uniquely positioned to build greater economic activity for our cities and region,” says Western University president Amit Chakma. “We are buoyed by the possibilities this funding holds for research, innovation and a dynamic knowledge-based economy in Ontario.”