The University of Waterloo, Canada, reports that it has received cash and in-kind funding of nearly CAD $27 million for its Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab, including $8.9 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Combined with $6.2 million from the Government of Ontario, this is reportedly the largest-ever government investment in AM at a Canadian university. The Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab aims to help Canadian companies tap into the potential of Additive Manufacturing, while also advancing the technology itself through funded research programmes.
“Additive Manufacturing is poised to fundamentally change the way things are made,” explained Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor at Waterloo. “Fuelled by a culture of innovation and backed by broad expertise in the advanced manufacturing sector, we look forward to playing a key role with our partners in unlocking the potential of this exciting technology.”
Bardish Chagger, MP for Waterloo and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, visited the university campus to announce FedDev Ontario’s contribution. “We are proud to support the University of Waterloo in continuing its role as a leader in Additive Manufacturing, innovation and strategic partnerships with the private sector,” he stated. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to supporting innovation, which translates into creating jobs and opportunities for middle-class Canadians.”
“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovation and competitiveness on a global scale,” added Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario. “This means investing in research and development to place Canada at the leading edge of disruptive manufacturing technologies. It also means supporting skills training for manufacturing jobs now and in the future.”
“The Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab at the University of Waterloo is an innovative initiative that aligns perfectly with our province’s innovation strategy,” stated Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “It is key to ensuring Ontario’s competitiveness when it comes to the manufacturing sector, which is an integral part of our province’s economy.”
The Waterloo lab is focused on the development of next-generation AM to process metals through the use of new sensors, quality-assurance software and machine intelligence. A major patented innovation is the fabrication of smart components by the Additive Manufacturing of sensors and their embedment into metal parts.
“Through the support of the Government of Canada, this state-of-the-art lab will merge high technology with Additive Manufacturing,” added Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Engineering at Waterloo. “From machine design to the Additive Manufacturing process to final part quality, Canadian manufacturers now have a research hub to help them adopt end-to-end process innovation on their shop floors.”
Experts at the lab will work directly with companies to develop high-value products using AM processes, equipping them to either do their own production or outsource it. Building on expertise and patented technology developed at Waterloo in the last 17 years, research will involve at least 14 professors and dozens of engineers, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and co-op students.
When fully equipped, the Waterloo lab will reportedly be one of the ten largest university-based AM facilities in the world. Researchers will also collaborate with peer institutions with top AM labs, including those in Germany, the United States, England and Singapore.