Applications are invited for the position of Research Laboratory Technician in the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) at Niagara College, located at our Welland Campus. This position is part of the Research and Innovation Division.
Reporting to the Centre Manager – Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, the Research Laboratory Technician position is critical to all laboratory and research activities. The successful candidate will support research activities related to producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products or processes for small- and medium-sized businesses.
For a company that fabricates glass structures for the high-rise residential and commercial construction industry, having tools and machinery on its production floor up to the task, is critical.
This is certainly the case for BVGlazing Systems Ltd., a major player in this industry. The company was created in 2016 through the merger of Allan Windows Group and Global Architectural metals Group, two dominant forces in the design, manufacture and installation of commercial and residential glazing, cladding, railing, skylight and entry systems in Canada and the United States for the past 60 years.
BVGlazing’s facilities in Niagara Falls and Concord, Ont., produce curtain wall, window wall, doors and railing systems.
When the company had two corner crimping machines in their Concord plant in need of repair, they sought the assistance of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) at Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division.
“The parts that came off of the machine were originally cast iron and were cracked and in bad shape,” says Jeremy Pasma, manufacturing engineering manager at BVGlazing. “There were attempts to repair the parts by trying to weld them and bolt extra pieces on, but this was not successful.”
In the fabrication process, crimping machines are used in conjunction with a corner key to crimp the corners on vents and doors to mechanically hold the corners together.
“Normally, I would be able to use CAD software, along with measuring tools to reverse engineer the part, but this top plate was more complex, with a lot of holes and angled faces.” ~ Jeremy Pasma, BVGlazing Systems
The only fix, explains Pasma, was to remake the parts. However, as is often the case with many companies, the company did not have any drawings or 3D models of the part, and therefore did not have a starting point.
“Normally, I would be able to use CAD software, along with measuring tools to reverse engineer the part, but this top plate was more complex, with a lot of holes and angled faces. I decided that a 3D scan would be the best way to produce a 3D file that I would be able to use.”
Pasma is no stranger to the expertise at WAMIC: He employed the technical services of the research engineering team when he needed to rebuild a set of dies for a punch, but again, there were no drawings or 3D files available.
“I was happy with the previous results, so I got them to do my most recent project. They have the right equipment in the Centre to handle this type of work,” notes Pasma.
That equipment is WAMIC’s laser scanning arm, a portable coordinate measuring machine (PCMM) that captures precise measurements with reverse engineering capabilities. The technology is able to digitize complex geometries and create 3D models as future design files.
The research team scanned the cracked part and provided BVGlazing the 3D model, who is now using the 3D file in conjunction with their CAM software to CNC machine a new part.
“Working with the team at the Innovation Centre was excellent. Given that we are currently in a COVID lockdown, the team was still very accommodating,” added Pasma. “If more projects come up in the future that require 3D scanning, the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre will be my go-to for this type of work.”
This is one example of the types of technical services offered by WAMIC’s Technology Access Centre (TAC). Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and housed at colleges or cégeps across Canada, TACs provide access to specialized technology, equipment, and expertise to local industry – particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises – with the goal of enhancing their productivity and innovation.
Through its TAC, the research team at WAMIC provides small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to needed facilities, equipment, funding and technical expertise – including 3D technologies, such as Computer-Aided Design (3D scanning) of objects as small as a dime and as large as a whole factory – and serves to assist them in product development, technology adoption, expansion into new markets and commercialization.
For more information on the array of solutions offered by the technical services at WAMIC, visit the website.
When telecommunications engineer Ba Binh Luong wants to take a break and de-stress from his daily tasks of computer programming, developing software and creating wireless protocols, he turns his attention to researching a diverse range of topics – just for fun.
His curiosity leads him to explore new technologies, big data, cryptocurrency, geography and law. And what is sitting on his nightstand? Introduction to Algorithms, Third Edition, MIT Press.
“I know it is a weird relaxation method, but it is how I unwind my head.”
Luong started with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) in November 2020 as a computer programming research assistant. A Niagara College graduate (2021) of Computer Programming, he’s now enrolled in the Industrial Automation program – a one-year graduate certificate – at NC for this fall.
Prior to arriving in Canada to begin his studies, the 33-year-old spent eight years as a telecommunications engineer for Viettel Network, Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company. This after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering at the Post and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, a university based in his home country of Vietnam. He also specialized in physics at a high school for gifted students.
While he had a “good career” in Vietnam, he wanted to widen his knowledge in a complementary field and to also lay the groundwork for his goal of obtaining a Master’s degree in computer science.
“All IoT devices have to have software to process data and protocol, and what I have learned in the programming field can help me develop the application for it,” explains Luong. “The evolution of Industry 4.0 and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed our world. The core of it all is based on software development, speed of information transmission and big data processing.”
At WAMIC, Luong is receiving real-world experience working on projects for industry partners, including IoT projects, developing software and web services to support device-to-device connection.
“I had the chance to develop embedded software for a microcontroller, a mobile application for smartphones, and conduct research about the protocol for interacting with and controlling electronic devices.”
Currently, he’s working on a project to develop a mobile application for the remote control of a set of wireless IoT devices which are geographically dispersed.
“WAMIC is a great place to apply my knowledge in the real world. Engaging in the workforce definitely helps me to immerse and improve my technical knowledge.”
“I’m working to develop both the mobile application and Web API (Application Protocol Interface) on a server site,” he says, adding that the project interests him because it involves not just software development but also hardware, electrical circuits and IoT.
“WAMIC is a great place to apply my knowledge in the real world. Engaging in the workforce definitely helps me to immerse and improve my technical knowledge,” he says. “I also appreciate all the time I share with the team on my present project.”
One of Luong’s biggest hurdles in making Canada home, he says, has been learning the English language. He spent two years of serious study to reach the standard to apply for a study permit to come to this country and upon arrival he was required to take an eight-month EAP (English for Academic Purposes) program to enhance his skills.
“I have problems with pronunciation and accent, which results in many embarrassing situations,” he says with a laugh. “It is hard to express my ideas or feelings in English, and not everyone has the patience to communicate with me.”
His other challenge has been the restriction to visiting his family (parents and two siblings) back in Vietnam. His plans to visit in July 2020 were thwarted by the global pandemic restrictions.
That said, Luong is accustomed to not seeing his family much over the years. Being from a small rural village, he has had to move away on his own for education in larger cities since the age of 16 – visiting his family only twice a year.
“Thanks to technology, I can make video calls to my family at home and keep in touch closely.”
Meanwhile, he takes pleasure in sharing outdoor activities, like jogging, with his fiancé.
“I enjoy Canada’s natural beauty and have many stories to share with my fiancé when we are out,” he adds. “I believe that jogging has to turn into a habit. It’s not only good for my health but also creates a bond between me and my girl.”
Always a keen student of knowledge, he also plans on learning to swim as soon as his gym reopens.
Advanced Manufacturing Scientist – Production Innovation and Manufacturing Research
Applications are invited for the position of Advanced Manufacturing Scientist, Product Innovation and Manufacturing Research in the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) at Niagara College, located at our Welland Campus. This position is part of the Research and Innovation Division.
The incumbent is responsible for providing internal technical lead for all 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design activities, and other technical services and/or applied research activities, as assigned. Working in collaboration with the Centre Manager, the Research Project Manager, and the Research Laboratory Technologist, the Advanced Manufacturing Scientist will provide the technical service lead in advanced manufacturing technical service and applied research activities, including, but not limited to, disseminating pre-sales technical expertise to industry partners; executing customer visits; recommending solutions; following up with potential customers; and achieving deadlines/completion of deliverables.
The Mechanical Engineering Research Assistant will have a comprehensive skill set to work with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre team, Faculty Leads and Industry Partners on a variety of time-sensitive projects. The successful candidate may work on research projects or technical services in Additive manufacturing, Product Design & Development, Product Testing, Reality/Spatial Capture, Reverse Engineering and Lean Manufacturing Assessment. Hours completed during this work term may be used toward your co-operative placement hours.