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Innovation a must for Canadian auto industry


September 3, 2010
By Mary Del


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As executive chairman and co-founder of Martinrea International Inc., a Canadian auto parts supplier recognized for its leadership in advanced technical systems and program management, Rob Wildeboer knows firsthand just how important innovation can be. Thanks to ongoing technological investment, his company remains a tier-one supplier to the automotive sector despite the recent economic downturn, and now he’s ready to share his insights with others as he delivers the opening address at Canadian Manufacturing Week (CMW)/WeldExpo 2010.
 
Speaking on Tuesday, October 5 at 9:00 a.m. at the Toronto Congress Centre, Wildeboer will examine the future of the Canadian automotive sector and its supply base, and the unprecedented challenges ahead due to changing demand in key product areas. Extracting from his personal and company experience, he will identify future growth opportunities for manufacturers and share strategies for success.
 
"Especially after the recent downturn, Canadian manufacturers know that innovation is not some conceptual goal or voluntary calling to strive towards," said Nick Samain, event manager with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), organizer of CMW/WeldExpo 2010, along with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canadian Welding Association, Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Fluid Power Association and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. "It is an essential element to everyday business survival and the foundation of growth."
 
From October 5-7, CMW/WeldExpo 2010 will transform the Toronto Congress Centre North Hall into a one-of-a-kind meeting place for decision makers from across Canada’s manufacturing community. Additional highlights of the three-day event include:
· A CMW Interactive Town Hall session, Canada’s Wind Energy Supply Chain: Status of the Market and Manufacturers’ Success Stories in Transitioning to Wind Energy, jointly presented by SME and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) on Wednesday, October 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The session will recap the findings of a recent report by CanWEA and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters that looked at growth opportunities in the wind industry supply chain, and will share the experiences of manufacturers who successfully transitioned their business from other sectors to wind manufacturing. It will be followed by a dynamic Q&A period with the audience.
· Three days of expert-led seminars on topics that include everything from how to optimize a factory floor layout, realize cost savings by uniting "Lean and green" thinking or assure reliability in underground welding, to the latest advances in industrial CT scanning, laser processing, robotic welding, hydrogen fuel cells and more.
· Weld Expo, Canada’s only welding industry event, co-sponsored by the Canadian Welding Association (CWA/CWB). Attendees will discover new and innovative ways to strengthen sheet metal operations, and learn how to implement lean processes, industry advances and green technology to improve quality, increase efficiency and lessen environmental impact. Weld Expo also features Canada’s best welder competition.
· Innovations 2010, special recognition of products new to market within the last year; and Green Solutions 2010, a special showcase of energy efficient and environmental products.
 
To learn more about CMW/WeldExpo 2010, visit www.sme.org/cmw.