NGen Support for SMEs Results in Big Gains for Canadian Advanced Manufacturing

NGen-funded Feasibility Studies and Pilot Projects offer growth opportunities for SMEs

HAMILTON, Ontario, March 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, has co-funded three projects at the Pilot and Feasibility stage, supporting SMEs as they prove out and de-risk advanced manufacturing development and implementation projects.

“Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative has always been about breaking down silos and supporting collaboration across a range of highly innovative industries and among SMEs to generate bold ideas and ambitious solutions,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Smaller, earlier-stage projects, such as those supported by NGen, are a critical component in creating an advanced manufacturing ecosystem to develop and scale high-potential technologies in Canada.”

“NGen is not just about supporting the big projects, it’s also about connecting SMEs with the partners they need and providing them with financial support that enables them to take the risk on advanced technology development and implementation projects,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “This ultimately leads to larger projects, improving the capacity of Canada’s manufacturers and technology companies to innovate and create the solutions that will help Canadian manufacturers be more competitive.”

The following projects were approved for NGen co-investment, and were selected by a panel of independent experts:

  • AIXEL Inc., Kitchener, ON, Riverside Natural Foods Ltd., Toronto, ON, Axiom Plastics Inc., Aurora, ON, and Terra Cotta Foods Ltd., Georgetown, ON, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) powered plug and play camera solution that automates visual quality inspection for manufacturers. This project will use vision systems and AI as part of an automated manufacturing process to ensure higher product quality than could be achieved using human inspection methods. The technology can be used in a wide range of industries spanning automotive, plastics, and food and beverage manufacturing.

    “Manufacturers deserve an AI-powered inspection system that can be implemented by their QA team in hours. It should be that easy. They will no longer be dependent on third party integrators or specialists. We’re here to simplify their AI adoption and help them ship superior products.” Marylin Ma, CEO of AIXEL Inc.
  • CG Belle Industries Inc., Oshawa, ON, and Spectral Devices Inc., London, ON, are developing an advanced manufacturing process to remove various coatings from metal surfaces using laser technology, eliminating the need for the toxic chemicals or hazardous materials typically used in this application. Although the initial target of the project is the automotive industry, the knowledge and expertise developed in this project will create a localized cluster for laser ablation technology applicable to multiple industries.

    "Environmentally benign manufacturing is one of the world's greatest challenges. Our proven, unique, green process can reduce operations cost, and improve productivity across a range of industries. With the support of NGen and all our partners, CG Belle is creating a localized, cluster of expertise, knowledge and IP, around laser ablation processes. Our goal; to provide robust, cost-effective solutions to our local and national manufacturers. Optimizing manufacturing processes, whether for automotive, aerospace, defence or other sectors, is an important aspect of economic growth and job creation. CG Belle is proud to be able to take this next step and we thank all our supporters in making it possible.” Isabelle Roberts, President, CG Belle.
  • Kepstrum Inc., Vaughan, ON, and Stackpole International Engineered Products Ltd., Mississauga, ON, are partnering to undertake a feasibility study to identify analytical algorithms that will create a system capable of identifying compound production problems that cannot be detected by current quality control processes. This will help address the increasing levels of recalls that the Canadian automotive manufacturing industry is experiencing as a result of unidentified product failures during production.

    Kepstrum CEO, Payman Kianpour, emphasizes that for the first time, this approach will utilize the mathematical concept of “Uncertainty Quantification & Error Propagation” to design a unique end-of-line test system to the Map the Production DNA, increasing control of product quality resulted from tighter manufacturing tolerances.

These projects are part of the increasing portfolio of NGen-funded advanced manufacturing initiatives under Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative. NGen’s commitment of $370,000 to these Pilot Projects and Feasibility Studies will help SMEs scale-up project plans for implementation, prepare technologies for deployment in production, and de-risk technology adoption and scale-up by facilitating access to the expertise, training, tools, and testbeds that are available within the Supercluster.

About NGen - Next Generation Manufacturing Canada

NGen is the industry-led not-for-profit organization that leads Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster. Its mandate is to help build world-leading advanced manufacturing capabilities in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. NGen works to strengthen collaboration among its membership of more than 3,200 manufacturers, technology companies, innovation centres, and researchers, and provides funding and business support to industry-led initiatives that aim to develop, apply, or scale-up transformative manufacturing solutions in Canada for commercialization in global markets.

Media contact:
Robbie MacLeod,
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada