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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:

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.


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:

Promation headquarters in Burlington


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.


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.


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:


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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:

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Vital signs can now be monitored using radar

This story was first published by University of Waterloo.

“We take the whole complex process and make it completely wireless. And instead of a clinic, it could be done in the comfort of your own bed and run daily for continuous monitoring.”

– Dr. George Shaker, an engineering professor at Waterloo and Research Scientist at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

A radar system developed at the University of Waterloo can wirelessly monitor the vital signs of patients, eliminating the need to hook them up to any machines.

Housed in a device smaller than a cellphone, the new technology records heart and breathing rates using sensitive radar waves that are analyzed by sophisticated algorithms embedded in an onboard digital signal processing unit.


Photo of radar box next to a smart phone
Photo of radar box next to a smartphone

Researchers developed the system to monitor sleep apnea patients by detecting subtle chest movements instead of connecting them to equipment in labs via numerous cumbersome wires.

“We take the whole complex process and make it completely wireless,” said George Shaker, an engineering professor at Waterloo. “And instead of a clinic, it could be done in the comfort of your own bed and run daily for continuous monitoring.”

In the study, the radar unit was mounted to the ceiling over the bed of more than 50 volunteers as they slept normally in a model long-term care apartment.

The system, which collects and analyzes data from radar waves that are reflected back to the unit from the bodies of patients, achieved results over 90 per cent as accurate as standard hard-wired equipment.

“This is the first time radar has been used for heart sensing with this degree of accuracy and in such an uncontrolled environment,” said Mostafa Alizadeh, a research associate who led the study. “Our subjects slept unobstructed, in any position, for up to eight hours.”

Researchers are also exploring use of the technology to monitor activity levels and falls by residents of long-term care homes, and in hospitals for routine monitoring of heart and breathing rates of all kinds of patients.

Advantages of the system for apnea monitoring include complete privacy since no cameras are used, much improved comfort and potential use in homes rather than special sleep clinics.

“With traditional systems involving wires and appointments booked weeks in advance, you can’t sleep as you normally do in your own bed at home, making the common sleep study an unpleasant experience,” said Shaker, a cross-appointed professor of electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

In addition to sleep apnea, which involves breathing that repeatedly stops and starts, the system can monitor conditions such as periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome and seizures.

Alizadeh and Shaker collaborated with Waterloo professors Plinio Pelegrini Morita and Safeddin Safavi-Naeini, and Joao Carlos Martins de Almeida, a professor at the University of Campinas in Brazil.

A paper on their work, Remote monitoring of human vital signs using mm-wave FMCW radar, appears in the journal IEEE Access.


Learn more about the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging at

CAIRS anechoic chamber

C-COM granted 2nd patent for phased array antenna

This story was first published by C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

“This patent provides further recognition for the quality of innovation being carried out by the University of Waterloo’s research team.”

– Leslie Klein, President and CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

Ka-band phased array prototype

OTTAWA, May 6, 2019C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. (TSXV: CMI), the world’s leading provider of commercial grade auto-acquire mobile satellite antenna systems, announced today that it has been granted US patent No.10,211,527 for its invention of a phased array antenna calibration method and apparatus.

This is the second patent C-COM has been granted in the last year and comes as a result of its ongoing research and development into a novel electronically steerable Ka-band phased array antenna. A unique process for calibration of a phased array antenna is used to adjust internal phase shifters and amplifiers, making it possible to recalibrate the antenna on-the-fly, potentially mitigating service interruptions.


The project is being developed in partnership with the University of Waterloo under the guidance of Dr. Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini, director of the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS) and with the assistance from the Ontario Centers for Excellence (OCE) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).“This new calibration technique will be integrated into our current active and fully modular phased-array technology,” said Dr. Safieddin Safavi-Naeini, a professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. “In addition, our research team is using this new technology as an integral part of its first fully passive phased array antenna made of 4X4 intelligent modules. It opens the way to low-cost high performance electronically steerable mobile antennas for both commercial and personal device applications, which are now under development in our Centre,” Safavi-Naeini continued.

“This innovative method will allow for a rapid antenna calibration in the field, thus eliminating the costly return of the product to the manufacturer,” said Bilal Awada, Chief Technology Officer at C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

“This patent provides further recognition for the quality of innovation being carried out by the University of Waterloo’s research team,” said Leslie Klein, President and CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. “This advanced design, which will be incorporated into the next generation phased array antennas, should significantly increase their reliability and serviceability,” Klein added.

About C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. logo

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. is a pioneer and world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of mobile satellite-based antenna systems for the delivery of Broadband Internet to any location via Satellite. C-COM has developed a proprietary, one-button, auto-acquisition controller technology for rapid antenna pointing to a geostationary satellite with just the press of a button, enabling high-speed Internet connectivity where terrestrial markets are overloaded or simply don’t exist. The company has sold approximately 8,000 systems to customers in over 100 countries providing service to a wide range of vertical markets such as Oil & Gas Exploration, Military Communications, Disaster Management, SNG, Emergency Communications, Cellular Backhaul, Telemedicine, Mobile Banking, and others. The Company’s iNetVu® brand is synonymous with high quality, reliability and cost-effectiveness.

In partnership with a renowned research team at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS), C-COM has been developing a next generation Ka-band flat panel antenna based on advanced phased array technology for enabling high-throughput mobility applications over satellite: land, airborne and maritime. More information is available at:

iNetVu® is a registered trademark of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

Highlights: AMC Showcase - April 23, 2019 at University of Waterloo

Thank you!

From all of us at AMC, we sincerely thank everyone who made it out to our inaugural Showcase on April 23, 2019 at University of Waterloo. We’re excited to report that the event was a huge success, with over 150 attendees and several great industrial project opportunities already reported.

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 presentation materials and contact information below.

Dean of Engineering Pearl Sullivan welcomes the Showcase attendees.


AMC thanks Executive Director Dr. Michael Worswick, Dean of Engineering Dr. Pearl Sullvian and Managing Director of AMC at Waterloo Harold Godwin for getting the day off to a great start with informative opening remarks.

An extra thank you to David Fransen of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) and Craig McClelland of the Federal Economic Development Agency (FedDev) for highlighting other funding and partnership opportunities for Ontario manufacturers.

We are pleased to provide copies of the agenda, opening remarks and breakout session presentations:

Agenda for AMC Showcase April 23, 2019

Opening Remarks: AMC Overview, NGen, FedDev

Breakout Session: Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Laboratory

Breakout Session: Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS)

Breakout Session: WatCAR Manufacturing

Breakout Session: RoboHub (by request only due to large file size)

To learn more about each research group, please visit their respective home pages:

We also invite you to view the laboratory tour videos for the four research groups.

Work with Us

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

Since AMC began in 2017, over 250 industry partners have partnered with Waterloo researchers on more than 100 projects.

The industry-focused research at Waterloo is undertaken by over 300 Highly Qualified People (HQP) in our four main areas. This breadth of expertise enables full collaboration with industry, scalability for projects of all sizes, with the confidentiality and rapid turnaround required by industry.

Get your project started with AMC today! AMC Engagement Information

Contact us today to learn more.

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