Category Archives: Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre

Niagara College’s research role for Canada highlighted in House of Commons

Niagara College’s role in driving innovation, creating jobs and training students, was featured in the House on Tuesday.

As part of its parliamentary business, St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle promoted the College’s applied research efforts and success: “Colleges play an essential role in training Canadians with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy and in helping local businesses innovate and create new jobs,” he said.

“In the Niagara region, through the Community & College Innovation Program, small businesses partner with Niagara College’s Technology Access Centres on innovative research to help them stay competitive—expand their businesses. They also provide young Canadians with the opportunity to gain hands-on training and job experience.”

His remarks were endorsed by Hon. Kirsty Duncan (Minister of Science, Min. of Sport & Persons with Disabilities): “Our government knows that colleges are essential in driving innovation in Canada,” she said. “When I visited the Niagara region with the member from St. Catharines I heard directly from local businesses about how this investment will train students. It will also help businesses solve pressing challenges, allowing them to stay competitive, grow their businesses and create jobs.”

Last July Minister Duncan and MP Vance Badawey toured the two Tech Access Centres (TACs) at Niagara College: The Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre and the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre.

They met with a number of industry partners who have worked with both Innovation Centres and who spoke to the assistance they received by the student-staff research teams in helping their businesses innovate and grow.


Research & Innovation impresses at Niagara Industrial Association tradeshow

Research & Innovation came equipped with some of their scanners that students demonstrated to industry professionals 

Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division (R&I) showcased its state-of-the-art scanning technology at the 2018   Niagara Industrial Association (NIA) Tradeshow on February 23. 

The event, held at the Fallsview Casino Resort, attracted more than 60 vendors across Niagara’s industry sector. R&I impressed guests with its FARO Edge ScanArm from the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre and a spatial scanner to promote how local industry can improve efficiency and leverage the College’s technology to offer industry solutions.

One of the ways R&I helps industry is through research projects, often times product development where the College takes an idea and creates a working prototype that the client can manufacture and mass produce. 

“Our scanner can do reverse engineering projects or with our spatial scanner we can capture the as-built data of a construction site,” said David Vuyk, research laboratory technologist at Research & Innovation. “Our goal is to help local industry innovate, give them access to new technologies and help them de-risk that technology so they can get a taste for how it works and benefits them before they make the initial investment.”

Vuyk was on-hand to demonstrate to industry professionals the various core competencies that NC’s technology can provide. “Another technology vertical is additive manufacturing (3D printing) which is really helpful for creating jigs and fixtures for measuring, prototype development and, in some cases, tooling for different manufacturers,” he added. “We also do design and simulation, whether that’s FEA (finite element analysis) of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis – analyzing fluids and gases in different applications.”

 The event also featured the Southern Ontario Network of Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a grant funded network that aims to increase the quality and quantity of applied research projects available for students and to support the Golden Horseshoe’s manufacturing with top-level facilities and equipment. Niagara College is one of four institutions that make up the partnership, working in association with the manufacturing centres at McMaster University, Mohawk and Sheridan College.

As a member of the NIA, NC participates in many of the functions to demonstrate the College’s resources and capabilities. The affiliation also provides additional opportunities to recruit industry partners to engage to solve R&D challenges.

– by Dylan Brennand-McClemont 


A.R.M.M. (Ambulation Re-training Mobility Mechanims) Prototype Service Improvements

B.I.S.E.P. creates new technologies and devices to enhance human performance in sport, exercise & rehabilitation. As a Kinesiologist, the President/CEO Daniel Bordenave has practiced mobility and ambulation training across a variety of different facilities. He noticed in all facilities that training, specifically with individuals who were learning to walk again, was conducted in a relatively unsafe and inefficient manner. As a result, Dan designed a prototype that aims to improve this situation. The accessory prototype bridges wheelchairs to walkers making the transition to walking safer and more efficient. In an earlier project, BISEP Inc. has sought the help of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre to improve upon its design and manufacturability for alpha testing with patients. As a result of these tests, some observations regarding the robustness and strength of the frame, as well as the adjusting means, have been recorded. B.I.S.E.P. has now approached the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre to address these observations with further design improvements. 

In particular, it has been observed that although the existing aluminum prototype is a valuable therapeutic device, in service the aluminum frame and fastening areas are becoming damaged, and the telescopic adjustment method is not lasting. Accordingly, in this project, Walker A will comprehensively assess the best choice of frame materials (aluminum vs. welded and painted steel), with particular attention to in service strength, manufacturing cost, and compatible fastener and telescopic adjustment methods. Keeping in mind the patient environment, smooth surfaces that are easy to clean will be preferred.

Click HERE to learn more about SONAMI: Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation.

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.”