Aeronautics company benefits from NC talent and tech

Airbus Helicopters Canada is part of the Airbus Group, a global leader in aeronautics, space, and related services. Airbus Helicopters is the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer offering the most comprehensive range of civil and military helicopters in the world. Employing approximately 23,000 people worldwide, the company’s fleet in service includes 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in approximately 150 countries. 

Airbus Helicopters manufactures composite components for various platforms within the group. Some legacy programs designed prior to the advent of 3D design system rely on a master tooling reference. This meant that Catia data for use in their CAD system was not available.  

To bridge the gap, Airbus turned to the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC). The WAMIC team, comprised of two Research Leads and two student Research Assistants for this service, got to work using their 3D laser scanning software to scan the master tooling, providing fully parametric 3D models for direct import into Airbus Catia CAD software.  

To do this, the WAMIC team used equipment including the Faro Scan arm HD with Blue LLP, the Faro Laser Tracker, and the Trackarm Kit – equipment and products that Airbus Helicopters wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. 

In addition, the WAMIC team used software including Innovmetric Polyworks, 3D Systems Geomagic Design X, and Autodesk Inventor, to complete the technical service project. 

Niagara College was key in assisting Airbus with technology adoption via the acquisition of fully parametric 3D CAD data of their legacy master tooling. Now that the tooling exists in a digital environment, slight modifications can be made to the geometry to create new tooling reflecting as-built or as-required conditions. This proof of concept can now be applied to future applications through technology adoption.

Niagara College provided the necessary testing and technology de-risking which allowed Airbus to upgrade their own 3D laser scanner for future development. 

Besides a great partnership between the college and the company, this opportunity provided real-world job experiences for NC students, exposing them to the challenges which manufacturing companies face each day working with legacy tooling. These experiences foster further learning opportunities utilizing advanced manufacturing technologies and bringing further value to a student seeking full-time employment after graduation with companies such as Airbus. 

“At WAMIC, the learning never stopped, and I think that was the main fun factor. It can be overwhelming at times, but I feel like the most learning happens through those overwhelming times.” – Brock Husak, Manufacturing Project Engineering, Airbus

A familiar name, Brock Husak, received that type of experience during his career with WAMIC. He began as a student in 2017 and was hired on as a staff member in various roles over the following six years. As of June 2023, Brock has gained full-time employment with Airbus.  

The skills Brock learned at WAMIC by working on projects such as these have allowed him to become agile and take on many responsibilities at once, with ease. He had many job titles over the years with WAMIC, and the variety of work and leadership opportunities has made him highly employable and intriguing to companies like Airbus. 

In his new role of Manufacturing Project Engineering at Airbus, he will eventually be a project leader for composite manufactured parts for a specific helicopter model. Brock will be a technical lead in the manufacturing process, implementing changes, improving processes, and much more. 

“At WAMIC, the learning never stopped, and I think that was the main fun factor. It can be overwhelming at times, but I feel like the most learning happens through those overwhelming times.

“Every team member I worked with has stood out to me and I must say, Al Spence, Brian Klassen, and Lyndon Ashton have played quite a roll in my professional development over the past year,” he said.  

“But I am excited to be moving into the next step of my career and getting to work for such a prestigious brand like Airbus,” Brock added.  

He thinks WAMIC is really becoming a source of talent for Airbus, as there are others who have gained employment with them after working in the research space with Niagara College as well. 

“As I get settled in my new role, I hope I could become the main point of contact between WAMIC and Airbus to foster more collaboration, since I have a strong understanding on how both companies operate,” he noted. 

Companies with similar technology challenges can access Technical Services at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, located at the Welland Campus of Niagara College. We provide a key competitive advantage to industry, offering access to cutting-edge equipment – and related services – for the development of products and manufacturing processes. By working with WAMIC, your company is also investing in the skills and training of students and future leaders in the manufacturing industry. 


  • We specialize in: Technical services including: 3D Printing, 3D Design, 3D Measurement and Scanning Automation: Mechanizing a process to decrease human labour and increase efficiency Product design and development: Creating a new product for deployment within your business or to be sold to a customer Reverse engineering: Discovering the technological principles of a device, object or system through analysis of its structure and functions Product re-design and improvement: Revamping an existing product to improve quality and/or adapt to changing market conditions 


You can learn more about WAMIC’s resources and capabilities by visiting our website

Start the conversation with us today. Together, we will determine how best to meet your needs, whether we perform a quick turnaround service, or a full innovation project. For research and development partnership opportunities, contact David DiPietro, Manager, Business Development, at [email protected].