Category Archives: Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre

Niagara College co-hosts webinar Jan. 30 on accessing project funding for SMEs

SMEs who have put manufacturing innovation on their to-do list for 2018 can hit the ground running with the information to be provided later this month in a webinar entitled “Funding for Collaborative Post-Secondary Research Projects.”

The event, taking place Tues., Jan. 30 from 1 to 2pm, is cohosted by the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and Mentor Works Ltd., a consortium that steers SMEs through funding strategies for business growth.

The hour-long program will focus on those in the manufacturing sector, which means companies who make anything from axes (A) to zippers (Z) and who are looking for productivity or product improvements, prototypes or various other technical services to allow them to innovate, save money, become more efficient, or make more money.

Webinar takeaways include:

· How the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Centre supports industry-led R&D projects

· The three main ways industry can engage with a college for applied research projects

· Canadian government funding to access post-secondary institutions

· Government grants for co-op placements and hiring recent post-secondary graduates

The speakers include Jim Lambert, Centre Manager, Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and Ryan Fusina, Director of Sales at Mentor Works. Jim’s presentation will also include case studies on recent engagements with industry.




Plan the Work/Work the Plan: Reducing Costs by Leveraging 3D Scanning Technology in Industrial Applications

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Deadline to Register: Thursday, January 25, 2017

Time: 8:00am to 11:00am*
*Tour of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre included as part of this workshop
Cost: $25 includes breakfast and workshop
Location: Niagara College, Welland Campus
Room IC209 – Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre
100 Niagara College Boulevard, Welland, ON L3C 7L3

As-built documentation is crucial to the development, planning and refurbishment of industrial sites and facilities. But the challenge for existing assets is the ability to turn decades’ worth of operational information and experience from various sources and systems into ‘applicable information’. As-built documents are often incomplete, or outdated and hence unreliable. Currency and accuracy of data is critical in design environments:

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • MEC Interference Co-ordination
  • Brownfield Facility Refurbishment
  • Maintenance Shut-downs
  • Strategic Facility Planning

Come hear how sophisticated data acquisition technology, such as 3D Laser Scanning, can reduce your production schedule, minimize risks and improve operational efficiency.


Mechanical Engineering grad lands position with prominent Canadian manufacturer

Andrew McCuaig’s journey at Niagara College began in international business before finding his passion in mechanical engineering.

A big opportunity awaits NC Mechanical Engineering Technology and International Business Administration graduate Andrew McCuaig, who will put his skills to good use working for a leading Southern Ontario manufacturer.

McCuaig, the research associate of NC’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre has accepted a new position as a mechanical designer at Jantz Canada, a manufacturer of conveyors, palletizing and bulk material handling. In this role, McCuaig will help create and improve high quality machinery, working with automation and robotics to support the agricultural industry.

Prior to graduating from the college’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, McCuaig earned his degree in International Business Administration, which he looks back on as a great asset to have because of the routine communication and relationship building he experienced in project engineering. After graduating with his first degree, he decided to pursue mechanical engineering and chose to stay at NC after talking with the program coordinator, touring the facilities and comparing it to other programs offered in the province.

For the last three years he has been a pivotal member at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, starting as a Jr. mechanical engineering co-op research assistant and progressing into leadership-focused duties as a research associate. He enjoyed each passing year at Niagara College, seeing the growth, learning a range of concepts and having the ability to gain experience from hands-on work in the field.

“It was a wonderful journey to see Niagara Research evolve and grow into Research & Innovation and see the expanding scope of projects that we’re able to do,” he said. “Research is able to make the region more competitive not only with the applied research projects and tech services, but also with the students that go out into industry after they gain an experience that they wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.”

During his time at NC Research & Innovation, McCuaig had the opportunity to work on a variety of process improvement and lean manufacturing projects. For one of his mechanical engineering co-ops he and faculty worked in the region’s food industry, changing layout systems to improve the number of peaches manufacturers could package by 20 per cent.

He credits the college for providing him with the necessary skills and tools to adapt in the industry, citing the work he did in his program and at Research & Innovation for giving him the edge for his upcoming position.

“For our Capstone Project, we designed a log splitter which had to be sized accordingly to withstand a certain force and the whole unit had to meet a specific criteria,” he recalled. “Going to the interview with that project under my belt and having the engineering drawings to show the engineering team was a good showpiece for what I’m capable of and what Niagara College provides.”

In the last six months he has been working with a local reseller, developing a product and design for an injection mould that he hopes to see on the shelves at retailers in the coming year.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing something I had a good amount of work put into come to fruition.”

The Walker Centre is consistently impressed with the strong work ethic and contributions of their students beyond graduation.

“When students and graduates working at the Centre find employment beyond Niagara College, I’m excited by the possibilities that lie ahead,” said Gordon Koslowski, the research project manager who worked with McCuaig in the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. “They put in an overwhelming amount of effort, day in and day out, to harness the cutting-edge technologies available to them and through this solve real-world problems that ultimately benefit our project partners. Individuals like Andrew are contributing to the highly skilled workforce necessary to continue growing our economy at a regional level.”

NC taps Research & Innovation team for high-tech reno help

left: Research Assistants Jason Wright and Daniela Cortes set up the FARO Focus 3D laser scanner to take accurate measurements for the FMS division prior to their renovation of the Yerich Auditorium at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus; top right: a screenshot of the scanned room; bottom right: new seating bases ready to be installed.


It sure helps to have inside connections.

When the Facilities Management Services division at the College needed to have a precise, as-built measurement scan prior to renovations to an auditorium, they needed only look to the technology already housed at the Welland campus’ Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

Armed with their 3D laser scanner, a team of students and a lab specialist with the Research & Innovation division recently headed to the Yerich Auditorium at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. It’s a space that’s about to get a complete overhaul: new seating, walls, flooring and some added services such as communications, mechanical piping and electrical.

The mission was to produce an “as-built” scan of the room to provide FMS with a data set of precision measurements so they can accurately design their new layout.

“We require the precise location of the walls to each other, the wall distances and related angles,” says Bart Lanni, FMS planning & development technologist. “This will be a great aid in helping us to accurately locate the new seating before drilling the floor slab for the electrical power to each row or fixed seating.

“The fixed seating supplier uses the scan to aid them in locating the floor levels where the transitions occurred from level, to sloped, and back to level.”

The research team utilized its FARO Focus 3DS 120 laser scanner to create a 3D image of the room using visible laser light to measure millions of points, explains Charles Lecompte, senior application specialist with R&I.

“The FARO Focus takes those millions of measurements and creates a ’point cloud‘ that represents every visible surface, which can then be imported into CAD software,” says Lecompte. “From there we can use the updated ’as-is‘ condition of the facility to plan and co-ordinate while mitigating risks that occur when working from incorrect data.”

Centre manager Jim Lambert says this type of technology can be beneficial to industry, particularly for plant design, and in construction and operations. The planning and co-ordination of work around existing facilities can represent large cost savings in labour and materials.

Lambert called the project mutually beneficial for the College; the FMS department gains this as-built model and students receive real world application knowledge by utilizing innovative solutions using advanced manufacturing technologies. “This experience makes them more marketable to [small- and medium-sized businesses] looking to improve their operations.”

Daniela Cortes, a second-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student and research assistant, agrees: “Working at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about and use leading-edge technology for various applications.”


A Brotherly Bond Sharing More Than Just Genes

Brothers John and Jim Lambert are both alumni of Niagara College and nomination recipients of the prestigious Premier’s Award. Jim is also the Centre Manager at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre at the Welland Campus.

While Niagara College celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s also a great time for remembrances of things past: like the times that brothers John and Jim Lambert both graduated from the College and then each received a nomination for the prestigious Premier’s Award.

“Not sure if we are the only siblings to both have graduated from the college and also be nominated for the Ontario Premier’s Award,” wonders Jim.

The awards, administered by Colleges Ontario, celebrate greatness in every field and those who excel in innovations and add to the “prosperity of their community.”

Jim was first to graduate in 1983 from the Mechanical Engineering Technician (Drafting Design) program. And in 2008 he was nominated for the Premier’s Award in the Technology category. This is for individuals that are trailblazers in growing the culture and improving lives by creating innovative and cutting-edge technologies.

It’s only fitting then that after a 33-year engineering career with Bosch Rexroth Canada, Jim returned home to NC as the Centre Manager for the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, a position he’s held since 2015.

His brother, who is 20 years into his career with the University of Buffalo, graduated from the Retail Management program in 1986 and in 2002 was nominated by the College in the business category for the Premier’s Award.

“We are so proud to be Niagara College alumni.”

REGISTER TODAY – Breakfast & Learn: Practical Strategies to Develop, Grow Product Sales

2017 Breakfast & Learn Workshop Series at Niagara College

Practical Strategies to Develop, Grow Product Sales

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – Deadline to register Friday, March 24, 2017

This workshop explores ways to grow your business using proven techniques for setting up independent sales reps who only get paid when they sell. It also delves into effective strategies for using LinkedIn and other social media.

Facilitated by Bryan C Webb, P. Eng.

One of the key elements of a successful business is growth of sales and sales revenue. Growth helps through scales of economies where your equipment and staff can be more efficient by maximizing use of fixed assets and adding people as needed. Many companies work very hard in their manufacturing facilities but don’t spend an appropriate amount of time planning for future growth and needs. They also rely on sales to their current customers within Ontario or Canada without considering these same types that operate in the United States.

In this morning session, you will learn:

  • what challenges other manufacturers in the region face with regards to product sales
  • what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats exist in today’s economic climate
  • how to set up new sales channels in new territories when you’ve never done it, and don’t think you have the time, skills or resources to effectively execute.

Who Should Attend:

Owners, general managers, sales managers and anyone involved in the strategic planning for an industrial company.

Our facilitator:

Bryan C Webb, P. Eng. – Sales and Marketing Consultant

Bryan is a registered Professional Engineer of Ontario with more than 30 years of sales and marketing of highly technical and sophisticated systems and products. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Electronics Engineering from the University of Waterloo with a minor in Management Science. He has also completed the four-year Canadian Institute of Management (CIM) program at York University.

He is a technical product sales and marketing professional whose expertise includes instrumentation, industrial and test automation in both hardware and software (control, capture, display, analysis and storage). In April 2010, he co-started Norton Scientific Inc, a biotechnology company designing and manufacturing analytical instruments. His recent efforts included setting up independent sales reps/agencies across Canada and much of the United States.

Bryan’s skills include sales and marketing of sophisticated technology products. His background is based on electronics engineering (and heavy computer usage) including the use of the Internet from its earliest days. He is a networker of note, primarily on LinkedIn where he has had a profile since April 2006 and presented “LinkedIn for Success” at least 20 times.

He recently served for two years as the Chair of the Niagara Industrial Association (continuing NIA Board member from 2009 to 2013); and served on the Board of the Niagara Workforce Planning Board. In addition, he is involved with mentoring of new Canadian professionals with organizations such as the Niagara Immigrant Employment Council (NIEC, a part of NWPB).


Wednesday, March 29, 2017
8:00am to 10:30am*
*Optional tour of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre included as part of this workshop


Niagara College (Welland Campus)
Room: IC209 – Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre
100 Niagara College Boulevard
Welland, ON L3C 7L3


Cost: $25 (includes breakfast)
Space is limited.