Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Feds announce investment in auto innovation


March 22, 2012
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Six projects that focus on auto innovation at Canadian universities have been approved for funding under the federal government’s Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) initiative. The projects advance R&D in Canada’s automotive industry by supporting new technologies that will provide lighter material alternatives for cars and significantly enhance battery efficiency for vehicles.

“Through the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative, our government enhances the research capacity of universities to achieve made-in-Canada innovation,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “The investments in automotive R&D will lead to greener, better-performing vehicles, as well as create jobs and strengthen our economy.”

These university-industry partnerships will receive almost $34 million in total project support. This includes just under $19 million in funding through the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative and nearly $15 million from industry and other partners. These partnerships will be supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and National Research Council Canada (NRC).

The newly funded APC projects include: the development of a hybrid electrohydraulic-hydromechanical drawing process for the production of lightweight automotive parts (University of Windsor); the development of novel titanium-based powder production, consolidation and shaping, as well as processes for low-cost titanium automotive parts manufacturing (Dalhousie University); the development of long-lived, high-energy-density and low-cost lithium-ion batteries for automotive, grid energy and medical (Dalhousie University); magnesium-intensive multi-material automotive structures (University of Waterloo); low platinum PEM fuel cells (Simon Fraser University); and in-situ studies of electromechanical processes in automotive materials (McMaster University).

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“Canada’s scientists and engineers are well positioned to provide the automotive industry with the expertise needed to maintain a strong and sustainable automotive industry,” said NSERC president Suzanne Fortier. “These most recently announced projects will contribute to the evolution of new materials and technologies that will benefit both the automotive sector and consumers.”

“Through our investment in state-of-the-art facilities, we are supporting research-driven economic growth and helping to create jobs in Canadian communities,” said Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the CFI. “Working with federal partners, the Canada Foundation for Innovation is helping one of Canada’s key industries thrive in a global marketplace.”

“The National Research Council is committed to working with Canada’s auto industry to make it internationally competitive,” said John McDougall, president of NRC. “This initiative underlines NRC’s support for developing a sustainable and viable auto sector in Canada.”

Announced by the Government of Canada in April 2009, Automotive Partnership Canada is a five-year, $145-million initiative that supports collaborative R&D and pushes the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation. As this is an industry-driven initiative, automotive companies provide both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the research projects’ success.

For more information on the initiative and the approved projects, click here.