AMC at Waterloo is advancing industry-focused research
by Carol Truemner. This article was originally posted on the Engineering news site.
The Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC), a joint partnership between McMaster University, University of Waterloo, and Western University, is helping to accelerate industry adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies, which will create jobs and strengthen the province’s reputation as a leading manufacturing region.
Since AMC was launched in April 2017, nearly 100 companies have benefited from the advanced manufacturing experts and state-of-the-art facilities at Waterloo.
To simplify industry-friendly R&D from conceptualization to implementation, AMC at Waterloo provides access to advanced manufacturing equipment as well as over 200 researchers and technical specialists across the following R&D groups: Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems, Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing, RoboHub and WatCAR Manufacturing.
William Melek, director of Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program and RoboHub, says industry connections with AMC have been invaluable to all parties.
“AMC provides insight into our manufacturing industry partners’ process automation challenges, which allows us to align our advanced robotics and machine learning research to increase capacity, productivity and manufacturing throughput,” says Melek.
A Waterloo AMC success story
Ontario Drive & Gear (ODG), a gear manufacturing company in New Hamburg, Ontario, collaborated with WatCAR Manufacturing to improve its approach to process development and quality control.
Waterloo researchers created a virtual machining software that predicts optimal process parameters and quality control. The Waterloo team deployed the software, trained ODG engineers and process developers on-site, and offers continued support.
ODG reported up to 24 per cent production improvement for high-volume gear production for major Canadian customers, including a forestry equipment producer and a Tier 1 automotive supplier.
The reduction in production cycle times freed up ODG’s machine capacity to grow the existing business and develop new customer relationships. This business growth has translated to a proportionate increase in shifts and hiring new manufacturing, quality control and support staff.
“The impact of our work with the Precision Controls Laboratory at Waterloo has significantly increased productivity and decreased costs by enhancing the capabilities of ODG engineers,” says Liam Tiernan, general manager and vice president, Gear Division, Ontario Drive & Gear.
To discover more about AMC’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, research expertise, and successful industry partnerships, members of the industrial, academic and government communities are invited to attend Waterloo’s inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Consortium Showcase on April 23.
The AMC Showcase includes presentations of AMC’s key research areas, targeted breakout sessions with lab representatives and networking opportunities.
Conrad Grebel breaks ground on community space
Today, Conrad Grebel University College will break ground on an expansion of its dining room and kitchen facilities.
Apart from small upgrades, the Grebel kitchen is the same size it was when the College opened in 1964. “Our Food Services staff are excited about new space that will help us to better serve a growing and diverse student body,” said Cheri Otterbein, who manages Food Services. In addition to regular student meals, the College has experienced increased catering needs as programs grow and initiatives like the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, Conflict Management Certificate Program, and Anabaptist Learning Workshop become established.
Over the past 55 years, the dining room has undergone some moderate renovations, but as the Grebel community has grown, the people have exceeded its capacity. Grebel offers a home to more than 250 students in the residence program, 70 graduate students, and welcomes thousands of University of Waterloo students into classrooms each year. The expanded dining room will seat up to 300 people, a vast improvement from the current capacity of 220 for term-end banquets.
On April 1, the university college's Board of Governors approved the expansion. “The Board is excited about the impact that the extra space and improved kitchen will have on students at Grebel” said board chair Jim Tiessen. “A key feature of the project is the inclusion of a stairway to connect the dining room directly to an expanded Chapel foyer. This better connects the Chapel to the other public areas and will serve the college well for the next 50 years.”
Construction expenses will be over $7 million. The Board has authorized using $1 million of capital reserves for this project because many expenses, such as new windows, are maintenance-related. A Fundraising Advisory is leading the “Fill the Table” campaign to raise $4 million in donations. The remaining amount will be financed.
Brian Rudy, a Grebel alumus, is the lead architect from Moriyama and Teshima Architects. “This kitchen design is bright and efficient and expands the capacity. A dedicated specialized diet area and an after-hours pantry space are provided. The dining room will include more space for students to gather and a gracious stairway and elevator will create a new interconnection between the dining room and Chapel spaces.”
“Everyone is invited to celebrate with us as we use the ceremonial shovel that was originally used by the College’s founders to turn the sod on this new project,” says Conrad Grebel President Marcus Shantz. Join the Grebel community on Tuesday, April 23 at 4:30 p.m. on the site of the new kitchen to witness the ground breaking and mark the beginning of this new building project.
Research Talks and guesswork walks on Tuesday
The latest Research Talks event is scheduled to take place today at 11:45 a.m. in DC 1302. The event will feature a panel presentation and discussion examining virtual reality applications with speakers including Neil Randall, Jennifer Boger, Ben Sainsbury, and Evan Jones.
Some of southwestern Ontario's top science students will be gathering at the Univeristy of Waterloo today as they compete at the Sanofi Biogenius Canada Southwestern Ontario Regional Final. The student presentations take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in STC 2806, with the award ceremony scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in STC 0060.
The second SEE Canada Grant Information Session will be happening today at noon in DC 1304. If you are looking to further your professional development through idea-exchange and learning alongside counterparts at other institutions, then look no further, as this brown bag lunch information session will give you the lowdown on the Staff Enhancement Experience (SEE) Canada Grant. There's still time to register, and don't forget to bring your lunch.