Banner image of a dock overlooking mountains

MMRI and ImaginAble Solutions are engineering personal accessibility solutions

Partnership

Nearly every industry is experiencing technological disruption. In manufacturing, developing new tooling and processes to meet shifting demands allows our partners to stay ahead of the disruption curve, and we’re proud to help them do it. Since 1999, the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) has been a strategic partner to industry, applying our world-class expertise and cutting-edge facilities to solving manufacturers’ challenges — honing processes to maximize productivity and quality while reducing cost and facilitating product innovation.

ImaginAble Solutions logo ImaginAble Solutions is a biomedical engineering company committed to enhancing quality of life by providing solutions to personal accessibility challenges. Our first product, Guided Hands, is an assistive device designed to help those experiencing limited hand functions by enabling individuals to write, paint, draw, and use a tablet/computer.

Challenge

Guided Hands was designed to help people with various medical conditions such as dystonia, ALS, Huntington’s disease, arthritis, and even individuals recovering from spinal cord injuries or strokes.

For these individuals, the writing, painting, drawing, or using a tablet/computer are essential activities that underly their independence.

Researcher working on a machine

Solution

ImaginAble Solution’s Research and Development began at the MMRI. Multiple prototypes were designed and manufactured and then tested with patients at local hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation clinics.

Feedback was presented to engineers at MMRI and used to redesign and manufacture the next prototype. Guided Hands came to fruition within the MMRI labs.ImaginAble Solutions accessible device

Impact

By partnering with the MMRI, ImaginAble Solutions has minimized Research and Development costs and manufacturing costs and received excellent design and manufacturing advice for Guided Hands.

Within less than five months of establishing ImaginAble Solutions, with the help from MMRI we have invented Guided Hands and are launching our first round of sales.
~ Lianna Genovese, CEO & Founder

ImaginAble Solutions accessible device

You can also read more on McMaster’s Daily News site: https://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/articles/engineering-students-project-rises-in-global-competition/


Main Hall

Highlights: AMC Industry Day - November 27, 2019 at University of Waterloo

Thank you!

From all of us at AMC, we sincerely thank everyone who joined us for the AMC Industry Day. We had a great turnout and were happy to see many great discussions and networking opportunities throughout the day.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. The survey is now closed. Your responses will contribute to even greater success at future events.

Missed out on the survey? We welcome additional feedback by phone (519-888-4567 ext. 37687) or by email.

Unable to attend? We’re sorry to have missed you! For those who weren’t able to join us, we encourage you to review the summary and contact information below. Please keep an eye on our website, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for future events.

Main Hall
Discussions in the Main Hall

Highlights

AMC thanks Executive Director Dr. Michael Worswick for getting the day off to a great start with informative opening remarks. Thank you as well to Armen Bakirtzian of Intellijoint Surgical for an informative Keynote address that addressed challenges of entrepreneurship and exciting applications of advanced manufacturing technologies in the medtech sector.

And of course our event would not have been possible without the partcipation of our excellent industry and academic presenters. We greatly appreciate each of you taking the time to present your thoughts on advanced manufacturing and innovation in Ontario, particularly where there are exciting opportunities at the intersection of academic research and industrial applications.

AMC is here to facilitate connections between world-class researchers and industry partners, and you can think of us as an extension of your own research team. To learn more about the research groups at our participating institutions, please visit our Capabilities page.

We are pleased to provide copies of the agenda and opening remarks: 

AMC Industry Day Agenda – Nov 27 2019

AMC Industry Day Welcome & Information – Nov 27 2019

Due to file size and/or confidentiality restrictions, copies of the individual presentations by our academic and industry guests cannot be provided here. If you have any questions or would like additional information, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to meet your needs (or put you in touch with the applicable person).

Work with Us

Ontario’s AMC is a provincially sponsored initiative that facilitates industry access to world-class facilities and research expertise.

Industry-focused research at McMaster, Waterloo and Western is undertaken by over 350 Highly Qualified People (HQP), including full-time, dedicated, professional research staff. This breadth of expertise enables full collaboration with industry, scalability for projects of all sizes, with the confidentiality and rapid turnaround required by our partners.

Visit our Home, About, Capabilities and Impact pages to learn more.

Contact us to get your project started with AMC today!

Keep in Touch

Follow us on Twitter @Ontario_AMC and our LinkedIn page to learn about upcoming events, industry Success Stories and more.


Forming and Crash Lab wall of parts

Bowman Tooling embraces business growth and evolution from Waterloo collaboration

Project Summary

The advanced analytical capabilities of the Forming and Crash Lab at the University of Waterloo, coupled with the engineering expertise and production efficiency of Bowman Precision Tooling, is accelerating next-generation Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) automotive parts with safety and performance in mind.

“This project was the final push in our evolution from a tool and die company to an automotive tooling tech centre for AHSS. This project helped us realize that, embrace it and market ourselves as such.”
Jamie Bowman, President, Bowman Precision Tooling

Partner

Bowman logo

Bowman, founded in 1948, is a privately held SME with approximately 75 employees in its 58,000 sq. ft. Brantford facility. Bowman has built a reputation as a world-class supplier of metal stamping technology. Following the 2008 economic downturn, Bowman leveraged its engineering and technical skills to become a globally competitive engineering expert in the automotive tooling industry. Through its relationship with the Forming and Crash Lab at Waterloo, Bowman is setting itself apart as specialists in design and engineering solutions for the production of large, complex parts using advanced materials.

Read more about Bowman’s engineering solutions: http://www.jpbowmantool.com/#engineering

Challenge

Vehicle lightweighting is a key component of improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 3rd Generation Advanced High Strength Steels (3rd Gen AHSS) combine strength and ductility properties capable of producing lighter vehicle components that can meet or exceed crash performance and also enable more aggressive and contemporary vehicle styling cues. As these grades become readily available, it is important to explore upfront how best to leverage their enhanced formability to produce cost efficient lightweight steel solutions.

Researchers from Waterloo’s Forming and Crash Lab (part of WatCAR Manufacturing) approached Bowman about a multi-stage project to design, model and test full-scale automotive parts from next-generation automotive steels, in particular the B-pillar—a structural component of vehicles where strength is critical to safety.

B-pillar location on a typical car frame

Solution

Combining Bowman’s production-scale efficiency with Waterloo’s advanced modeling and analysis capabilities, the first phases of the project were a success, including material characterization, forming and impact simulations, virtual tool design, tooling fabrication, and B-pillar forming trials.

“The availability of full-time, dedicated research staff at Waterloo was instrumental in this project.”
Jamie Bowman, President, Bowman Precision Tooling

As an in-kind contribution, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) supplied the project with the 3rd Gen AHSS grades, funding support, and steel industry expertise. A major automotive manufacturer collaborated jointly on this project and provided significant insight on part design. Waterloo also helped Bowman acquire large-scale equipment through Ontario government grants. Videos of the 5-axis CNC machine and 1500 metric tonne press are available on Bowman’s site.

Full scale B-pillar tooling (left) and formed part (right)

Impact

As a result of early project success and networking opportunities, Bowman is now performing the latest virtual tool simulation methods and advanced material characterizations to create next-generation steel parts with automotive safety and performance in mind. Global customers seek Bowman’s innovative engineering expertise, practical manufacturing insights, and complete CAD/CAM solutions.

Bowman’s innovation capacity and engineering expertise leverages the superior properties of AHSS, leading to not only business growth, but also direct advantages to Bowman’s customers, including lighter vehicles, better crash performance and automotive part consolidation.

As a direct result of collaborating with Waterloo (in addition to AISI and automotive partners), Bowman has reported over $2M in contracts with major automotive suppliers and manufacturers and continues to increase employment at its Brantford facility

Future

The next phase of the project is crashworthiness testing of the 3rd Gen AHSS B-pillar at the Forming and Crash Lab’s Structural Crashworthiness Sled Facility.

Waterloo Forming and Crash Sled facility
Waterloo’s Forming and Crash Sled facility

Bowman is commercializing its new capabilities and expertise gained from this project to automotive clients around the world. The success of this collaboration with Waterloo represents the final stage in Bowman’s evolution from a tool and die company to a leading science-based tooling tech centre that provides innovative engineering solutions for the automotive sector.

“The future of Ontario’s manufacturing sector is not just about making or assembling things, but rather in providing innovative engineering and technical solutions.”
Jamie Bowman, President, Bowman Precision Tooling


World Manufacturing Forum banner

MSAM student invited to prestigious World Manufacturing Forum annual meeting

MSAM Master's student invited to panel discussion on "Skills for the Future of Manufacturing" at WMF 2019 Annual Meeting

Brian Jeong, M.Sc. student with Waterloo’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) lab was one of only two students across the globe invited to attend the World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) 2019 Annual Meeting. Read about Brian’s experience below and scroll down for some great images:

The World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) aims to promote innovation and development in the manufacturing sector with the fundamental goal of improving competitiveness in all nations through dialogue and cooperation among the manufacturing sector’s key players. Each year, they host an Annual Meeting: an invitation-only event where global policy experts, industrial leaders, and eminent academic and research innovators address and discuss the challenges and trends in global manufacturing. This year, the meeting was held in Cernobbio, Italy, from September 25 to 27, where 1500 leaders across the globe attended and discussed the theme of “Skills for the Future of Manufacturing”.

Two students were selected globally to represent the younger generation workforce and speak to the issues and challenges of the skills gap in light of new technologies brought upon by the rapid digitalization in manufacturing. Myself and Ricardo Abimelec (Monterrey, Mexico) were among the two selected.

During my panel discussion, we discussed the need to place our focus on people rather than technology – to invest into our younger generation as well as our current workforce. That means providing up-to-date education and resources in academic institutions as well as our workplaces to combat the fast-moving manufacturing industry and increasing complexity in technology. Other topics discussed were creating an excitement around pursuing careers in manufacturing while diversifying and opening up opportunities for youths and the younger generation, creating a trust and collaboration culture in our workplaces to empower and challenge the workforce, and digging deeper into asking the “why” before implementing or developing a technology that could eliminate jobs.

It was an incredible honour and privilege that I was able to participate in this major event and represent the student body globally and nationally. It was encouraging to meet many Canadian representatives leading the charge on seeing our nation’s manufacturing sector flourish. I think if I were to take home one thing with me, it would be that we need to invest in our people – whether it be by educating them, empowering them, creating a healthy work environment, or using technology simply as a tool for humanity, rather than our lives being driven by it.

I am grateful for the support of the World Manufacturing Forum, for Randy Zadra, the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium and the University of Waterloo for opening up the opportunity, for Rossella Luglietti in managing the logistics and the event, and Autodesk Toronto for their kind support.

If you would like an overview of the topics covered, you can download the WMF Global Report here: https://www.worldmanufacturingforum.org/report-2019

Brian Jeong
MASc Candidate, Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering

Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing, University of Waterloo

Selected imagery provided by Brian:


Promation banner image

Promation and MSAM are advancing innovation in additive manufacturing

Project Summary

Researchers from Promation Engineering Ltd. (Promation) and the Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) lab at University of Waterloo collaborated on a user-friendly software plugin that automates additive manufacturing (AM) repair and modification of parts—including curved surfaces and complex features—when no CAD model or sketch is available. A portable robotic hardware system running the software was also developed as a unique, low-cost fabrication and repair system. Promation, a successful Ontario-based SME, is now diversifying into the robotic AM marketplace as a direct result of their partnership with MSAM. The software plugin and hardware system are anticipated to be commercialized in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The relationship with MSAM is critical for Promation’s growth plan and intended diversification into the Robotic Additive Manufacturing market space. Promation looks forward to continuous development of additive manufacturing technology that will strengthen the manufacturing sector in this region.
Mark Zimny, President, Promation Engineering Ltd.

Partner

Promation logo

Promation, founded in 1995, is a privately owned SME based in Oakville, Ontario. As a leading designer and manufacturer of high-quality tooling, automation and robotic systems, Promation delivers custom engineering solutions to global customers in 3 its divisions: Nuclear, Automotive, and Industrial. MSAM and Promation’s collaborative relationship began in 2017, resulting in both hardware and software innovations that have enabled Promation to diversify into the robotic Additive Manufacturing (AM) market.

Read more about Promation’s additive manufacturing solutions: https://www.promation.com/industrial/3d-printing/

Promation headquarters in Burlington

Challenge

Repair or modification of high-value parts is almost always a more cost-effective solution than replacement, regardless of the industry in question. This project between MSAM and Promation addressed three key challenges:

  1. There is often no CAD model, or even sketches, for older or obsolete parts, which makes repair and upgrades much more difficult.
  2. Some AM systems existed to repair these high-value components, but required planar printing and time-consuming manual coding for portions with curved surfaces or complex features.
  3. A market was identified for commercialization of a portable robotic system that could achieve the desired results without costly and time-consuming transportation to a suitable facility.

Solution

Together, MSAM and Promation researchers developed a physics-based AM software plugin (PROERA) that automates toolpath for laser cladding and additive manufacturing. The software works on free-form and scanned surfaces, and includes automatic collision checking and post-machining of AM parts.

PROERA integrates seamlessly into Autodesk PowerMill for users with direct energy deposition (DED) systems and offers user-friendly data input and full simulation of the additive process. Repair or modification of parts can be done from CAD models or from laser-scanned parts where no model is available.

In addition, a portable robotic hardware system (PROClad 100) has been designed to run the PROERA software plugin and will be commercialized as a unique, low-cost fabrication and repair system.

Impact

Promation has invested over 3 years and $1.5M to diversify into the robotic AM market space and add a new business division—a direct result of the partnership with MSAM that led to effective, results-driven research and development.

“The relationship with MSAM has paid off in terms of the gained research, technical expertise, human resources, market, and the business knowledge.”
Mark Zimny, President, Promation Engineering Ltd.

The PROERA software plugin and the PROClad 100 hardware will be available to global clients with anticipated commercialization dates in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Promation estimates the addition of several highly skilled employees and significant revenue increases as a result of this project.


MMRI expertise brings innovation and growth to Burlington's vRSC

This project was originally covered by an article published by McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering:

https://www.eng.mcmaster.ca/news/mcmaster-researchers-boost-business-ontario-manufacturers

Partnership

Nearly every industry is experiencing technological disruption. In manufacturing, developing new tooling and processes to meet shifting demands allows our partners to stay ahead of the disruption curve, and we’re proud to help them do it. Since 1999, the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) has been a strategic partner to industry, applying our world-class expertise and cutting-edge facilities to solving manufacturers’ challenges — honing processes to maximize productivity and quality while reducing cost and facilitating product innovation.

Voestalpine logoVoestalpine is multi-national enterprise, supplying raw steel and processed components to a wide range of industries including automotive, railway systems, profilform and mold & die. Voestalpine is the world’s leading supplier of tubular components and assemblies for automotive occupant restraint.

Challenge

Voestalpine Rotec Summo Corp (vRSC), located in Burlington Ontario, has the opportunity to win new business in inflator tubes.

It’s a tremendous success, and especially unheard of because we’re drilling on a round surface in very tough material. This would be impossible to do without McMaster. Without having their expertise involved, we wouldn’t be competitive.
Andy Skrepnek, vRSC’s Director of Innovation

Solution

The MMRI is worked closely with vRSC, supplying world-class expertise and access to advanced equipment to develop the world’s most competitive process for producing airbag inflator bottles.

Impact

Before the MMRI’s contribution, vRSC’s $50 carbide drills would break unexpectedly, after only a few hundred holes, greatly interfering with production as the automated cell would stop each time a tool broke. By the project’s end, that number rose to 10,000 holes drilled per tool with no unexpected breakage. This innovation has brought in millions of dollars in new business and has meant adding five more automated productions lines to vRSC’s Burlington facility. This drill technology is now being adopted around the world.


Stock photo of dental chair and equipment

McMaster and Biomedical Implant Technology Inc. collaborate on a novel dental implant

Partner

Nearly every industry is experiencing technological disruption. In manufacturing, developing new tooling and processes to meet shifting demands allows our partners to stay ahead of the disruption curve, and we’re proud to help them do it. Since 1999, the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) has been a strategic partner to industry, applying our world-class expertise and cutting-edge facilities to solving manufacturers’ challenges — honing processes to maximize productivity and quality while reducing cost and facilitating product innovation.

Biomedical Implant Technologies Inc. logo

Biomedical Implant Technology Inc. is an SME based in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, with 8 employees.

I would like to congratulate you and your team at McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute for the engineering design of the testing apparatus specific for our application in Implant Dentistry. The chewing machine and software are simple and robust. The design of the position measuring device is simple, accurate and reproducible. The data obtained was reliable and the conclusions drawn would be meaningful. Thanks again for meeting and exceed our requirements.
Dr. Norman Kwan, CEO of Biomedical Implant Technology Inc.

Challenge

Biomedical Implant Technology Inc. developed a novel dental implant called the BioHex Dental Implant. The BioHex implant may one day replace the industry standard, but required thorough comparison testing to determine its viability and usable life compared to the current industry standard.

Solution

The MMRI team, in collaboration with Biomedical Implant Technology Inc., designed and developed a desktop machine capable of mimicking the chewing forces teeth are exposed to in a controlled fashion. The machine can be run continuously, replicating millions of chews while, at the same time, implants can be effectively monitored using the load sensors implemented in the machine.

Dental implant rocking device designed by MMRI to mimic chewing.

Impact

Testing is still ongoing as of 2019. Biomedical Implant Technology Inc. hopes is that these new implants will be commercialized and available to dentists worldwide in the near future.


MSAM researchers win SME’s 2019 Digital Manufacturing Challenge

MSAM researchers win SME’s 2019 Digital Manufacturing Challenge

Gitanjali Shanbhag and Lisa Brock, graduate students with Waterloo’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) laboratory, won the 3D Digital Manufacturing Challenge 2019 at the RAPID + TCT event for their redesign of a heat sink for cooling central processing units (CPUs) in electronic devices.

The award is sponsored by the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Winners Gitanjali Shanbhag and Lisa Brock have written an article for SME that details their award-winning and innovative design. A brief excerpt is provided:

Our project/submission was focused on the redesign of a heat sink for cooling central processing units (CPUs) to fit in with the competition theme of additive manufacturing for energy transfer and heat exchange. We designed a heat sink that featured an organic, branched fin design revolving around a circular base that was envisioned to be situated on top of the CPU. It was designed to be part of an assembly with a fan mounted above the heat sink to facilitate forced convection, making it an active heat sink system.

The small, lightweight design ensured efficient thermal dissipation and a small environmental footprint. The idea was to manufacture this heat sink with binder jetting DDM technology since it promotes low material waste by the virtue of reusing any unused powder. The material of choice for this heat sink was copper because of its stellar thermal properties.

Socially, the new heat sink design could improve global connectivity by providing efficient thermal management for servers and cores, ultimately reducing their energy footprint. This would have a large impact on high-performance computing industries and may help provide the computational resources needed for innovation. The proposed organic fin design for heat sinks could also be scaled up for other heat sink applications, apart from CPUs. The competition was judged on how well we justified choices of DDM processes and materials to be used, the social and environmental impact analysis, and cost-benefit analysis for using DDM.

The full article is available here: https://advancedmanufacturing.org/digital-manufacturing-challenge-powering-the-world-by-an-innovative-design-for-cpu-heat-sinks/


Huys automotive banner image

Huys reduces cost and waste through R&D partnership with Waterloo's CAMJ

Project Summary

The average steel car body uses thousands of resistance welds during construction. Researchers with the Centre for Advanced Materials Joining (CAMJ) at University of Waterloo collaborated with Huys Industries to develop an innovative modular weld head assembly. The patent-pending design creates welds of equivalent strength and lifespan compared to traditional weld heads, with an 80% reduction in material and labour costs, a simplified maintenance process, and significant waste reduction. Huys invests heavily in its R&D programs, and plans to continue its decades-long partnership with CAMJ at Waterloo.

Weld head comparison

“Our 20-year relationship with CAMJ at Waterloo has thrived due to their excellent science and engineering reputation, state-of-the-art facilities and practical research experience.”

– Nigel Scotchmer, President, Huys Industries Limited

Partner

Huys Logo

Huys Industries, founded in 1981, is a privately held SME that is a world leader in resistance welding and related joining and coating techniques. Huys has approximately 40 employees between its facilities in Toronto, ON, Chatham, ON and Michigan, USA. The company invests significantly in R&D projects and has had a strong, collaborative relationship with the University of Waterloo for nearly two decades. In fact, approximately 10% of the Huys workforce is comprised of Waterloo graduates.

Challenge

The average steel car body uses up to 6,000 welds, more than 80% of which are resistance welds (including spot and projection welds). Projection welding traditionally uses a piece known as the weld head, which has a solid tungsten-copper bottom electrode. The existing weld heads can only be machined twice before wearing out and must be fully replaced. This project investigated a method to reduce the high cost of replacing these weld heads.

Solution

Researchers with the Centre for Advanced Materials Joining (CAMJ), part of WatCAR Manufacturing at University of Waterloo worked closely with Huys to develop and test a Quick Release Modular Head assembly. This design requires replacement of only the washer portion rather than the entire weld head. The process can be easily performed by clicking the washer out and clicking a new one into place, with the added benefit of consistent height of the weld head, whereas the re-machined surface on a regular head required height adjustments.

CAMJ researchers evaluated the performance and life span of the quick release design in comparison to the regular weld head. The final modular design iteration was found to create welds of equivalent strength and lifespan with much lower replacement costs–an 80% reduction in costs compared to traditional weld heads. For Huys’ automotive manufacturing customers, this translates to not only cost savings, but also a simplified, efficient maintenance process and significant waste reduction.

Additional information on the modular weld head specifications can be found on Huys website.

Comparison of regular, quick release and modular weld heads.

Impact

Huys began commercialization of the Quick-Release Modular Head in 2019 and plans to continue its roll out in the coming years. In addition, over $250,000 in equipment has been invested in Huys’ Chatham facility related to this project.

The patent-pending Quick Release Modular assembly lowers customer cost by providing a simplified maintenance process, interchangeable parts, and reduced waste. Huys can customize the product to meet the needs of their automotive manufacturing customers.

Future

Huys invests heavily in its R&D programs and plans to continue its decades-long partnership with CAMJ at Waterloo. In an interview with Business Elite Canada, Huys President Nigel Scotchmer indicated Huys plans to expand its global footprint while embracing its Canadian roots. “We want to stay in Canada. We want to manufacture in Canada. I want to keep jobs in Canada because that’s where I live, that’s where my family is from. We are Canadian,” Scotchmer said.


Ontario premier visits Waterloo campus

Ontario premier visits Waterloo campus

This story was first published by University of Waterloo.

Ontario premier visits Waterloo campus

During his visit to Waterloo region last Friday, Premier Doug Ford came to campus to see Professor Michael Worswick’s Waterloo Forming and Crash Lab and experience first hand one of the largest academic laboratories for such research. Worswick is co-Principal Investigator for the $35M Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (OAMC), a joint initiative between Waterloo, McMaster and Western.

Funded by the province of Ontario, the OAMC works with industry partners across a diverse range of markets to accelerate innovation and facilitate industry access to professional research staff, world-class equipment and large-scale infrastructure, enabling industry-focused R&D on rapid project timelines.

Minister Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities was also in attendance.

*The original Waterloo story references $46.5M, which is in error.