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Canada Makes is proud to announce the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) as its newest academic partner. NAIT joins our expanding list of leading academic institutions focusing on advanced manufacturing. Located in Edmonton, Alberta, NAIT is a leading Canadian polytechnic focused on meeting the current and emerging needs for education and research in Alberta.
“NAIT has unique capabilities unavailable anywhere else in Alberta and this offers new ways of doing things, and introduces new skills required to build a strong and competitive economy,” said Frank Defalco Manager Canada Makes. “Canada Makes looks forward to working with NAIT to grow Alberta’s innovation economy.”
“Through its Innovation Services NAIT offers business and product service as well as access to equipment for prototyping and testing. This enables companies to develop innovative products, new ways of working or thinking, and higher productivity,” said Paul Dews, Manager of Innovation Support Services with NAIT.
NAIT and Canada Makes have worked together to help small businesses with the Canada Makes Metal Additive Demonstration Program. You can read about a recent project completed with funding from the program. http://canadamakes.ca/coffee-lovers-create-portable-pour-kettle-nait-3d-printer/
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.
About Canada Makes
Canada Makes, a Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) initiative. CME is Canada’s largest trade and industry association, and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada. Canada Makes is a network of private, public, academic, and non-profit entities dedicated to promoting the adoption and development of advanced and additive manufacturing (AM) in Canada. It is an enabler and accelerator of AM-adoption in Canada.
Pursuit of the perfect cup leads to a prototype and a new business venture
The pour-over may be one of the simplest yet most appreciated brewing methods among coffee connoisseurs. In boutique cafés, baristas add water to cones of gourmet grounds placed over cups, extracting maximum flavour and richness. Discerning customers happily wait from 2-and-a-half to 4 minutes for their caffeine kick.
Edmonton entrepreneurs Matthew Semaka and Steven Osterlund wanted to enjoy that same experience – and coffee – outside the café. “We talked about being able to go to the river valley and make a cup of nice coffee with a small kit,” says Osterlund. “It has just kind of grown from there.”
With the help of NAIT’s 3D metal printer – the only one west of Winnipeg – the pair has developed a one-of-a-kind, insulated kettle specifically designed for the perfect, portable pour-over. It’s a back-to-basics approach to coffee-making that might provide a new entry point into a market worth $6.2 billion in Canada alone.
“Coffee is a huge, huge industry – manual brew is just exploding,” says Osterlund.
The art of the pour-over
Originating in Japan, the pour-over is almost meditative in practice: pouring a slow, steady stream of water heated to a particular temperature over a precise amount of perfectly ground beans. It’s also effective in ways other manual brew methods aren’t, as fresh water is continuously added to the coffee, essentially releasing the flavour out of the bean and into the cup.
“Heat consistency and stability is important while conducting a manual coffee extraction,” says Semaka.
Semaka and Osterlund knew that there were good kettles – featuring the distinctive, slender gooseneck spout required for the technique – already on the market. But many had plastic components that would melt when heated over a fire or outdoor stove and were too bulky to be portable. The only solution they could see was to make their own.
After a chance meeting with Paul Dews, NAIT’s manager of innovation support services, they discovered they could do just that through the polytechnic’s TechGym. There, they had access to equipment for prototyping and small-scale manufacturing, including the printer, which makes objects by depositing layer upon layer of metal.
Osterlund wasn’t surprised that NAIT had a 3D metal printer. He was, however, “more surprised that us, just being members of the public, were able to come in and utilize it.”
The team drafted a couple of computer-generated designs and by January 2017 had their first printed stainless-steel prototype. It took 3 days to print, and weighed just over 1 kilogram. But it was the start they needed. In March, Semaka and Osterlund incorporated as Ketl Lab.
Pursuit of the perfect cup
Two versions later, the kettle has changed substantially. It’s now about one-fifth the initial weight and more compact. The handle has been made unnecessary thanks to innovative insulation (the same used by NASA) that keeps the exterior cool while heating water faster and holding a consistent temperature.
The potential applications have evolved as well. Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the country’s largest trade and industry association, believes the technology could also be used in hospitals or on construction sites.
Much of the work so far has been made possible by grants from Canada Makes, a CME network dedicated to promoting additive manufacturing in Canada. NAIT was instrumental in introducing Ketl Lab to this program, says Semaka.
Now, what began as a hobby and was nurtured in a lab at NAIT, may soon be a marketable reality. The fourth – and potentially last – kettle prototype is in the works, with tweaks that may include a Bluetooth monitoring system. While it’s possible a product may be ready for sale within a year, the team won’t rush it.
The company’s focus, Osterlund says, is on “getting it right than getting it released.”
Time may be on their side. “What we are doing is not on the market today – it doesn’t exist,” says Semaka. Their potential customers, too, are likely the patient kind. Like a perfect pour-over coffee, good things are worth the wait.