Canadian manufacturing generates $600 billion in revenue annually, with aerospace, automotive, energy and machinery being the most profitable sectors. Machining is especially important, as it adds critical value to the manufacturing of parts used across this industry. The manufacturing industry needs to adopt integrated digital innovations in rapid development, prototyping and testing. It also needs to deploy strategies across its product-development chain to optimize and enhance its global competitiveness.
Created in 2010, the NSERC Canadian Network for Research and Innovation in Machining Technology (CANRIMT) has achieved its Phase 1 (2010–15) objective: to develop the foundations of comprehensive virtual machining technology (VMT) for both macro- and micro-machining operations. The release of VMT to industry partners has enabled Canadian manufacturing companies, especially in the aerospace sector, to innovate, improve productivity and cut product development costs up to 60%.
The long-term goal of CANRIMT is to revolutionize the Canadian and global manufacturing industry by contributing critical, comprehensive, digital factory-simulation modules, wherever machines or machine parts are designed, assembled and manufactured. To date, CANRIMT has delivered VMT to Canadian and international industry partners, patented two unique hardware inventions licensed to industry and trained 145 students. Phase 1 has been successful in creating a strong foundation of understanding, development expertise, industry collaboration and infrastructure that will ensure Phase 2 objectives can be achieved.
CANRIMT2 comprises 17 academic researchers from seven Canadian universities (University of British Columbia, McMaster University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, University of Windsor, University of Calgary, University of Waterloo and University of Victoria), in partnership with national and international industry partners (Pratt & Whitney Canada, Honda Canada, Ontario Drive & Gear, CADlink, MEMEX, Origin International, Longterm Technology Services, Alcoa, Sandvik Coromant [Sweden], Boeing [US], Tenaris Tamsa [Mexico], DANOBAT [Spain], Industrial Technology Research Institute [Taiwan] and SIMIC [South Korea]). Researchers have extensive expertise in machining-technology chains, as well as research, training, publication and industrial experience in machining, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), sensors and actuators, control, kinematics, tribology, dynamics, vibrations, metrology, real-time software systems and instrumentation.
The collaboration among these national laboratories, diverse industry partners and members of CANRIMT2 will enable sharing of complementary data and expertise.
CANRIMT2 will train 34 doctoral students, 31 Master’s students, 14 postdoctoral fellows, 19 undergraduate students and 5 specialized research engineers. The graduate students will complete internships at the sites of industry partners and at well-equipped research centres around the world.
CANRIMT2 will receive $5.5 million in funding from NSERC, $780,000 from universities and $2.1 million from industry partners, toward direct costs of research over five years.
CANRIMT2 will build on the successes of Phase 1 and further establish Canada as a leader in the emerging field of machining-system simulation by creating digital modules that are key to realizing the machining factory of the future.
CANRIMT2 will develop a digital production system that integrates materials, process and product modelling, as well as intelligent sensors for self-adjusting manufacturing machines. This system will improve machine life cycles and increase sustainability by reducing scrap rates and energy consumption. In detail, research and innovation will focus on developing new coating materials and tooling systems that can adapt to machining applications; creating digital models of multi-functional machines that can be adapted to machining gears, dies, molds, medical and aerospace parts; and innovating new sensors and signal-processing methods that enable the computer-controlled machines to adjust automatically during machining.
To achieve these objectives, the research conducted by CANRIMT is organized into five themes.
More than 80 engineers, equipped with comprehensive manufacturing knowledge, will graduate from network laboratories during the five years of the project. These engineers are expected to be the next leaders in Canada’s manufacturing industry, universities and research centres.
The research projects will yield new manufacturing methods and technologies that can be used directly by industry partners. The projects include:
Scientific Director and Principal Investigator