The University of Waterloo, based in Ontario, Canada, has opened the country’s largest metal Additive Manufacturing facility in Kitchener. This facility, which began as a small room on the University of Waterloo campus, has moved into a 1,400 m2 space equipped with $25 million worth of equipment. The new facility aims to serve as a hub for future metals research and a central location for advanced Additive Manufacturing machines and characterisation devices.
“The MSAM Lab’s expanded facilities will allow for increased R&D capacity, which will enable us to meet growing demands in Additive Manufacturing for advanced scientific discovery, elevated collaboration with industry and a vital training ground for the next generation of engineering innovators,” said Dr David Clausi, associate dean for research and external partnerships at the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering.
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The MSAM Lab received funding from industry and government partners, including the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev). In 2021, FedDev provided $8.2 million to establish the Additive Manufacturing Alliance (AMA). Since its inception at the University of Waterloo in 2020, the AMA has supported 119 companies with R&D collaborations, prototyping, testing services, and training. To date, thirty-nine products and services have been commercialised through this initiative.
“The expanded facility will continue to help businesses accelerate and grow while giving them a place to test their products,” stated the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario. ”Our manufacturing sector and innovators are embracing next-generation technologies for a better future and stronger Canada and our government will continue to support them.”
PhD student Mohammad-Mejad shared, “So much of the equipment we have now, we didn’t have space for in the previous facility, so here we have all this equipment all together so we don’t have to relocate from one building to another, so we can do the tests back-to-back.”
Located in the Catalyst137 facility in Kitchener, the MSAM lab aims to foster collaboration with other tenants. This building is also referred to as the world’s largest dedicated Internet-of-Things manufacturing space.
The founder of the MSAM lab, Dr Ehsan Toyserkani, is a mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor at the University of Waterloo. “With the current geo-political issues and shortage of supply chains, 3D printing technology will be able to help a lot in minimising steps in supply chains. We will be able to rely on local manufacturing rather than other countries to make some components,” he stated. “This is the largest academic facility on metal Additive Manufacturing in Canada and one of the top five in the world.”
Since its inception in 2017, the MSAM lab has been dedicated to developing intellectual property and equipping students with new technological skills to further scientific discoveries.
The metal Additive Manufacturing facility offers a more efficient and sustainable method for prototyping and manufacturing products across various sectors, including aerospace, healthcare, and automotive.