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SONAMI receives $7.3 million to promote advanced manufacturing and 3D printing

The Canadian manufacturing industry is about to get a boost thanks to a $7.3 million advanced manufacturing initiative. The project, called the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation (SONAMI for short) is the result of a partnership between Niagara College, Mohawk College, Sheridan College, and McMaster University.

Vance Badawey, Mike Granston, Paul Clipsham, Marc Nantel, Dan Patterson

The $7.3 million in funding for the new project was announced before Christmas at Niagara College, and is sourced from FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Commercialization Partnerships Initiative. Vance Badawey, who announced the funding for the SONAMI initiative, says the advanced manufacturing project will create roughly 186 “high-quality jobs” while helping to turn out over 150 proof-of-concept prototypes as well as 85 new products for commercialization.

On a larger scale, SONAMI is an effort to help boost Canada’s manufacturing sector and help adapt it to more technological and automated manufacturing trends. As Badawey states, “We’re witnessing a new industrial age.” To keep up with this new age, innovative changes and advancements will inevitably need to take place. In the Southern Ontario region at least, SONAMI could be a solution.

SONAMI is being established to help foster collaborations between academic research and manufacturing industries. Notably, each of the academic institutions involved in SONAMI has a particular focus on an emerging manufacturing field. For instance, Niagara College has excelled in research surrounding 3D technologies and plastic additive manufacturing; Mohawk College, which has the only AM lab in Ontario, specializes in metal part additive manufacturing; Sheridan College has a focus robotics and flexible manufacturing; and McMaster University has expertise in tooling and advanced materials.

Niagara College Advanced Manufacturing Lab

In terms of its links with industry, SONAMI will reportedly encourage partnerships between the educational institutions and industries in three ways. First, SONAMI will help turn the colleges and universities into viable research options for manufacturing companies. Second, it will help to prepare students for the work force once they finish school, specifically for high-quality jobs in the manufacturing sector. Lastly, the initiative will help to advance Canada’s manufacturing industry as a whole and make it a stronger global competitor.

Following Badawey’s announcement about SONAMI, Mike Granton, a student of mechanical engineering technology, spoke about how promoting advanced manufacturing has affected him. The facilities at his college, which include state-of-the-art tools and software, have allowed Granton to manufacture prototypes for real-world clients, including a commercial cleaning industry device, a storage system for the hospitality industry, an electronics enclosure device for the deep mining sector, and some innovative tools for the medical sector.

“It’s these tools paired with the knowledge gained in the classroom that allowed me to effectively turn ideas into physical products read to be tested in real world conditions,” said Granton about his access to 3D printing technology, reverse engineering tools, and more.

Time will tell what effect the SONAMI initiative has on the Canadian advanced manufacturing industry, though it does seem very promising.

SOURCE – 3D Printing Technology

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