Waterloo-based additive manufacturing consortium gets FedDev funding
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$8.2 million for consortia to help SMEs accelerate new technologies and integrate into new supply chains
The University of Waterloo has received an investment of $8.2-million from FedDev Ontario to build on its Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Lab and establish the Additive Manufacturing Alliance. Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. With applications across sectors including aerospace, healthcare, automotive and more, additive manufacturing can offer a quicker, more efficient and environmentally-friendly way to prototype and manufacture a range of products.
“With its cutting-edge research facility and world-class expertise, the University of Waterloo has become a global leader in additive manufacturing. Through collaboration, the new Additive Manufacturing Alliance will help businesses accelerate growth by adopting advanced manufacturing technologies into their operations and creating good jobs in our community, while also providing training and upskilling opportunities to prepare workers for the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow,” said Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo.
Next-gen metal additive manufacturing
The Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Lab, housed at the University of Waterloo, is Canada’s most comprehensive academic research and development facility for next-generation metal additive manufacturing. With world-class equipment and the largest team of experts in the country, MSAM is a space for companies to adopt new technologies and innovative products, while also advancing technology through ongoing research.
“This funding is instrumental in capitalizing on an unprecedented interest in additive manufacturing tech adoption in Canada. It will be used to scale up research and development activities and move them into more mature stages of the product development cycle and stimulate technology transfer to achieve tangible economic benefits for SME partners,” said Mihaela Vlasea, assistant professor, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, University of Waterloo.
Green supply chain and industry ecosystem
A collaboration between post-secondary institutions and major industry partners, the AMA will help businesses across southern Ontario overcome barriers to adopting cutting-edge advanced manufacturing technologies. Providing access to the MSAM’s specialized metal 3D printing equipment and expertise, the AMA will help companies grow and move their technologies from prototype to production-ready. It will also facilitate industry connections to integrate businesses into established supply chains and develop a talent pool of next generation additive manufacturing workers through training and up-skilling.
“This FedDev investment will help to engage and train a substantial number of companies in environmentally sustainable manufacturing opportunities offered by additive manufacturing to solidify Ontario’s additive manufacturing green supply chain and industry ecosystem,” said Ehsan Toyserkani, professor, Canada Research Chair in Additive Manufacturing, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo.
The project will support more than 90 businesses to commercialize nearly 30 advanced manufacturing technologies, create and maintain over 275 jobs and provide training and outreach opportunities for about 1,500 students, research associates and industry personnel. It will also expand MSAM’s geographical reach beyond Kitchener-Waterloo and the Greater Toronto Area, with new participating companies from across southwestern Ontario.
- AMA will connect participants from academia, government labs, as well as companies from the aerospace, energy, defence, nuclear, automotive, communication sectors and more.
- In May 2017, FedDev Ontario announced $8.9 million for the University of Waterloo to establish the Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab (MSAM). To date, the lab has supported 25 companies to commercialize more than 30 new products, services, and processes, trained more than 50 highly qualified personnel in the next generation of AM innovations, created and maintained 115 jobs, and enabled industry to pivot towards increased sales from technologies developed collaboratively.
- In the fight against COVID-19, MSAM shifted production focus to 3D-printed medical devices and supplies, including face shield parts for frontline workers and patients. The team is also part of a global innovation challenge to develop a simple, low-cost ventilator that meets the needs of COVID-19 patients. In addition, MSAM participated in focus sessions on supply chain and engaged in networking to facilitate agile crisis response.