Waterloo Engineering spin-off wins recognition for smart materials technology

Thursday, December 8, 2011
WATERLOO, Ont. (Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011) - Less than a year after spinning off from the University of Waterloo's faculty of engineering, Innovative Processing Technologies (IPT) has been recognized by the Ontario government for its breakthrough Multiple Memory Material (MMM) technology, known for making smart materials smarter.

IPT and a Waterloo Engineering team led by professor Norman Zhou have been awarded market readiness funding by the Ontario Centres of Excellence. Valued at $130,000, this fund will support development and qualification of prototypes specifically for automotive applications.

OCE also awarded Ibraheem Khan, co-founder of IPT and a Waterloo mechanical engineering alumnus and researcher, the Martin Walmsley Fellowship for Technological Entrepreneurship. The one-year fellowship is valued at $50,000 and supports the transition of OCE-funded university-based research into innovative business ventures.

"The new MMM technology allows virtually any memory material to be quickly and easily embedded with additional local memories," said Khan. "This advance promises to revolutionize the manufacture of diverse products such as medical devices, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), printers, hard drives, automotive components, valves and actuators."

Smart materials have also been identified as a top candidate for clean energy solutions that can secure energy security and efficiency.

IPT's new technology promises to enhance applications of shape memory alloys by making clean energy components lighter, more functional and efficient. In recognition of this achievement, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid recently presented IPT with the Innovation Company of the Year Award at the CleanTech North 2011 annual meeting.

Waterloo Engineering graduate students Matt Daly and Andrew Pequegnat were also recently awarded the Best Student Paper at the ASME 2011 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures, and Intelligent Systems. Their paper was selected from more than 50 submissions for its outstanding contribution to smart materials research by a panel of worldwide academic and industry experts.

Nearly a dozen prototypes using the MMM technology have been developed by IPT. Much of the work has taken place on the Waterloo campus by the company which employs five people from Waterloo Engineering, including graduate students.

"This disruptive technology is poised to change the way shape memory alloy materials are implemented," said Zhou, a professor in the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering. "The formation of IPT and continued development effort at Waterloo is a great example of commercialization of innovation developed at our university. All the while we are training our students to be leaders of tomorrow."

IPT, located in the Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District, is currently working with a number of clients in the automotive and aerospace sectors.

About Waterloo Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo is ranked among the top 50 engineering schools in the world. It is the largest engineering school in Canada with more than 6,300 undergraduate students, 1,840 graduate students and 280 faculty members. It is home to the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and seven other academic units, which are working to prepare the leaders of tomorrow and address social, technology, business and policy needs through ground-breaking research. More than 33,000 alumni are making their mark in industry, academe and the public sector worldwide. For further information, visit www.engineering.uwaterloo.ca.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with close to 34,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

Contacts:

Ibraheem Khan, CTO and President, Innovative Processing Technologies Inc., 416-300-6616 or ibraheem@ipti.ca

Norman Zhou, Director, Centre for Advanced Materials Joining, University of Waterloo, 519-888-4567 ext. 36095 or nzhou@uwaterloo.ca

Carol Truemner, communications officer, Waterloo Engineering, 519-888-4567, ext. 33470 or ctruemner@uwaterloo.ca

John Morris, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4435 or john.morris at uwaterloo.ca

Waterloo news release no. 75
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