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March 3, 2015 2:52 PM

New Centre for Smart Manufacturing launched

The official launch of a new applied research facility that will drive innovation, commercialization, productivity improvement and competitiveness for Ontario’s manufacturing sector was celebrated today at the Cambridge campus of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

The Centre for Smart Manufacturing provides a regional hub for applied research to support the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector. Seven dedicated labs hosted at the college’s Cambridge and Doon campuses will support the development of new products and processes across a wide range of areas, including Advanced Sensors, Electronic Systems, Software, Light Manufacturing Production and Assembly, Prototype Production, 3D Printing, and Materials.

Support for the development of the Centre for Smart Manufacturing was provided through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

“The Centre for Smart Manufacturing will offer innovative solutions to real-world industry challenges, helping local businesses thrive and creating prosperity across our community,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We are grateful for the support provided by the Government of Canada for the development of this important resource and look forward to working with our industry, community and academic partners to create new successes for manufacturing across our region.”

“Our government is proud to support Conestoga College’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing, which will help businesses tap into the vast talent pool located here in our community,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, MP for Cambridge & North Dumfries and Minister of State, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “By strengthening the ability of colleges to help businesses innovate, we stimulate Ontario’s economy, while training the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

“The CFI’s College-Industry Innovation Fund allows colleges to build their capacity to work with the private sector in state-of-the-art research labs,” said Gilles Patry, President and CEO of the CFI. “These collaborations are giving Canada’s manufacturers a unique advantage in this highly competitive global industry.”

The Centre for Smart Manufacturing focuses on applied research for SMEs with limited resources for in-house research and development. Faculty from Conestoga’s School of Engineering and Information Technology provide leadership and expertise as they work with student research teams to develop practical solutions to today’s industry challenges.

Students engaged in research projects have the opportunity to work with industry partners as they apply their skills and knowledge to real-world challenges, gaining experience that will contribute to their future career success.

The Centre for Smart Manufacturing is administered by Conestoga’s Applied Research & Innovation group, and is designed to meet the needs of our region’s largest employment sector.

Manufacturing accounted for more than 19 per cent of total employment - more than 68,000 jobs - in Waterloo-Wellington in 2013. Waterloo Region alone has 1,800 manufacturing enterprises: almost 80 per cent of them are small, with fewer than 20 employees.

For more information about the Centre for Smart Manufacturing at Conestoga, visit www.conestogac.on.ca/research

Conestoga is a leader in polytechnic education, providing a full range of career-focused education, training and applied research programs to prepare students for success in the new knowledge economy and promote economic prosperity throughout our region and across Ontario.

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