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April 20, 2018

Chopping chopper waste

Airbus Helicopters Canada came to Niagara College seeking help to improve the productivity of a workstation in its Fort Erie plant. The company had established that the station (which trimmed, drilled and routed carbon fibre parts) was a bottleneck in the manufacturing process and was also wasting too much material. Airbus hoped a partnership with Niagara College would help improve the function of the station by reducing scrap and increasing its rate of production. The research team, made up of an engineering instructor and a student on his senior co-op placement, used a GoPro camera to film workers at the... Read more
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April 19, 2018

The unbreakable stone age

The ancient Japanese vase had survived much in its 6,000 years — but withstanding researchers’ probing hands was probably asking too much. That led its owner to Mohawk College with a question: could the college produce an exact replica of the neolithic pottery on a 3D printer in its Additive Manufacturing Resource Centre? Mohawk saw an opportunity in the project beyond the straightforward challenge of creating a 3D printed reproduction of a neolithic vase from Japan’s “Jomon” period. It was also a chance to develop and refine the potential of additive manufacturing as a tool for historical preservation. To do... Read more
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April 19, 2018

A Small Solution for a Big Cleaning Problem

Planes today that seat as many as 200 passengers have just two to four lavatories, which means they can get pretty dirty, pretty fast. But fuel-conscious airlines sharply restrict the weight, size and balance of equipment carried on board, and lavatories and galleys on planes are small. Regular cleaning tools just don’t fit. When Vaughan Payne, president of Calgary-based Dakota Supplies, watched flight attendants cleaning airplane lavatories with nothing more than spray bottles and paper towels, he was sure there must be a better, more sanitary way. So, Payne and his partner Deborah Humphries got to work on what would... Read more
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April 19, 2018

Making Canada’s Summer sport safer for kids

After 10 years playing for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, Jeff Pilon knows about contact sports. So, when he witnessed some of the hits being taken by his son and his teammates on the community lacrosse team, he felt he had to do something. Kids playing lacrosse are at risk of neck injury because most have not developed the coordination to cross check safely. Jeff decided to make a neck guard that would protect young players and allow them to participate more safely in this fast-growing contact sport. Armed with a home-made model, Jeff approached Red Deer... Read more
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April 19, 2018

Cutting-edge technology makes prize-winning cutting edges

Joseph Hofer is an award-winning industrial designer based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He was intrigued by the possibilities of 3D printing but wanted to take it outside the realms of the aerospace and medical industries where it is most often used. In his own words, he was seeking to create “something more human as a product, something understandable. Something people could see in their lives.” Hofer started by considering how some common household items are made, leading him and his team to come up with the “pair knife,” a design that combines the two most commonly used kitchen knives: the paring... Read more
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April 19, 2018

An animated conversation — with no words

The global marketplace presents many challenges to Canadian companies. How, for example, do you boil complex molecular science down for the layman — without using any words? The sales and marketing team at CSL Silicones Inc., a Guelph-based manufacturer of silicone coatings, lubricants, compounds and adhesives, used presentations with two-dimensional images to demonstrate how the coating functions — a fairly standard approach. But the company needed to find a way to communicate with a global audience —regardless of language or technical expertise. It wanted explanations that transcended language, designed for visual learners. They brought that challenge to a research team... Read more
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April 19, 2018

The fine art of 3D printing

Alongside the wheels and kilns in the pottery studio at Mohawk College’s Stoney Creek campus is a new way to create art — a 3D printer for ceramics. Two faculty members of Mohawk’s Continuing Education program, Duncan Aird and Reid Flock, collaborated on this revolutionary work. Their ongoing quest for innovation in the classroom and expertise in ceramics was the spark that lead them to create new courses to take advantage of the computer software designed for producing ceramics in a 3D printer. The project leads used Mohawk College’s Additive Management Resource Centre to help them choose the best 3D... Read more
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April 19, 2018

Deep down safety for miners

Ultra-deep mines are those that reach 2.5 kilometres below the earth’s surface. They are not an easy place to work; as the depth increases, so does the temperature. In an ultra-deep mine, ambient heat from rocks and humidity meets heat from machinery and human activity to create a hazardous mix. Miners in ultra-deep mines follow a reduced work-rest cycle to prevent heat stress. Modified hours are only part of what it takes to keep miners safe and Jannatec Technologies, which has been developing safety products for the mining industry for over 25 years, undertook to design a new kind of... Read more
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April 19, 2018

Needle in a Circuit Board Haystack

Red River College is home to the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing. Through the Centre, aerospace and manufacturing organizations can get access to equipment, assets and expertise to tackle problems in designing and manufacturing the advanced parts essential for their work. In this project, the Centre worked with Parker Hannifin, which manufactures motion-and-control automation systems used in industry and aerospace. The company uses surface-mount technology to assemble circuit boards, but many of its boards were defective, with missing or misaligned parts being found during final quality inspection and testing. Parker Hannifin turned to the Technology Access Centre for help. In... Read more
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March 15, 2016

Franco Chiesa, Industrial Research Chair in Aluminum Transformation

Aluminum transformation is an important area of research for a number of Québec industries looking for improvements in molding or casting aluminum alloys. Dr. Franco Chiesa has set up partnerships with multinational RioTintoAlcan (RTA) and with eight Québec small and medium-sized enterprises from various regions including the Saguenay, Cap-StIgnace, St-Cyprien, Drummondville, and greater Montreal. RTA sub-contracts its casting-alloys research and development to tap into Dr. Chiesa’s expertise and into the research centre’s materials and resources, such as a low-pressure mold press. Most small and medium-sized enterprises have neither the scientific resources nor the specialty equipment to conduct such research. In... Read more
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