Canada, Manitoba invest $11.6M in composites sector
November 12, 2009 by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Manitoba’s composites cluster will solidify its leadership position in the Canadian and international markets, thanks to an investment of more than $11.6 million to the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) from the governments of Canada and Manitoba. The CIC supports the integration of advanced materials and composites manufacturing technology in Manitoba by providing the opportunity for local companies to develop new composite manufacturing processes for long-term competitive growth and productivity gains.
“Our government is committed to building a competitive advantage for Canada based on excellence in science and technology,” said Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “Today’s funding will enable the CIC to expand its capabilities to meet the growing needs of Manitoba companies and to ensure they remain competitive on the world market.”
“Technology is crucial to compete in a global economy. The Composite Innovation Centre keeps Manitoba at the forefront of innovation, research and development,” said the Peter Bjornson, Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade. “Manitoba is proud to play a role by investing in such an important sector.”
The CIC will increase the number of existing technology and engineering specialists; establish the Composites Research and Commercialization Centre facility; create a non-destructive inspection capability; and develop a strategic network with industry known as the Advanced Composite Manufacturing Technology R&D Consortium.
“We are very grateful to the federal and provincial governments for this funding,” said Sean McKay, executive director of the CIC. “It will certainly assist in our ability to continue to support our industry clients in growing their businesses and is a testament to the positive contributions that we have been able to deliver since our inception in 2003.”
Composite materials, sometimes referred to as “advanced materials,” are made by embedding strong and light strands of material, like glass fibres or carbon threads, in a plastic material, such as resin. When cured, the final product is extremely lightweight and very strong. Common uses of composites include aircraft assemblies, body panels on buses, fiberglass boats, reinforcements in civil structures and house construction. Composites replace metal parts to reduce weight and save energy, reduce the number of parts needed, and lower assembly costs.
Winnipeg is home to the largest concentration of composite manufacturers in Canada and numerous companies that produce composite parts for a variety of applications: from ground transportation vehicles to farm equipment; storage containers and caustic fluid handling systems; reinforcements for bridges and buildings; furniture; and environmental technology products.
The investment by the Governments of Canada and Manitoba is made through the Canada-Manitoba Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA). Both Canada and Manitoba are contributing $25 million each, over four years, to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in western Canadian communities.