Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Learning 4.0: Supporting SMEs and inspiring the future workforce with industrial 3D printers

November 1, 2022
By Maxime Lacouture

The large-format Stratasys F900 at the Barrett CTI (Photo: Javelin Technologies)

All across Canada, on-campus applied research and innovation centres are supporting inventive start-ups, small to medium-sized businesses and faculty and students by providing access to leading technology and expertise.

The centres are a vital part of an ecosystem that inspires Canadian innovation, smarter product design and quick commercialization of creative ideas. In addition, skill development for post-secondary instructors and students helps tackle a shortage of technically skilled talent. Student projects and job placements equip graduates to confidently use the technology they will encounter in manufacturing workplaces.

These are some of the reasons why Javelin – A TriMech Company has a long history of supporting educational institutions and their technology centres. A prime example is Javelin’s work with the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) at Humber College in Toronto. The Barrett CTI is home to Humber’s Advanced Manufacturing Skills Consortium, a group of nine industry partners. Javelin sells and supports a full range of 3D printing technology and is the lead partner for additive manufacturing.

An FDM additive manufacturing system

Advanced 3D printing equipment at the Barrett CTI includes two Stratasys Fortus 450mc printers and an exciting new addition – the large-format Stratasys F900. 


Delivered this spring, the F900 is an additive manufacturing system and one of the most powerful FDM printers available. It opens up opportunities for larger single builds, eliminating the need to spend time printing separate parts and assembling them. 

No longer limited by project size, the Barrett CTI team can now attract a wider variety of business clients, even in demanding sectors such as automotive, aerospace and national defence. The Stratasys F900 build envelope measures 36 x 24 x 36 inches and has 18 cubic feet of build volume. It offers 16 different high-performance materials to serve any manufacturing application – the engineering-grade thermoplastics make strong, reliable, and repeatable functional prototypes, jigs and fixtures, factory tooling and production parts.

Interestingly, several IoT projects are in the pipeline at the Barrett CTI, waiting for access to the F900. When thinking about IoT product development, large-format 3D printing may not immediately come to mind as a pressing need, yet additive manufacturing is essential in designing, testing and producing large, aesthetically pleasing housing for sensitive electronics.

In this time of digital transformation, desire for connectivity and smart devices, it was the promise of contributing to IoT projects that made the Barrett CTI’s bid for a government grant successful, leading to the purchase of the F900. 

Advanced 3D printing equipment at the Barrett CTI includes two Stratasys Fortus 450mc printers and an exciting new addition – the large-format Stratasys F900. 

Regional impact

In many communities, the local on-campus applied research and innovation centre leads the way, providing access to technology not (yet) available on-site at local manufacturers. Before investing in their own hardware or software, industry clients can learn about the technology, test their application and see the results they can achieve.

Javelin’s advanced manufacturing professional services team works in a similar way. We combine technical advice with on-demand services, including 3D printing, post processing, reverse engineering and 3D scanning. Sometimes, clients want to prove out the additive manufacturing process for their unique application before they purchase a printer. In other cases, we handle overflow work for manufacturers who need more part production than they can manage using their own 3D printer(s).

Training our future workforce

For Humber College faculty members and students, the expanded capabilities of the F900 will be built into future curriculum. Students are already wide-eyed at the size of the two in-house Fortus 450mc printers. Many students arrive on campus having seen only desktop printers for hobbyists. After creating complex designs and problem-solving with high-performance industrial machines, they are ready to impress (even teach!) their future colleagues.

We leverage our experience across industries to share what we learn from our commercial clients with our education sector clients. As a committed partner to educational institutions and their technology centres, we prepare students for advanced manufacturing careers. Employers appreciate not only the graduates’ solid understanding of hardware and software but also how they maximize the use of these tools to solve complex problems.

As additive manufacturing technology continues to advance, high-impact solutions are delivering incredible results. It’s an exciting time to be at the centre of the transformation.

Maxime Lacouture has more than 15 years of experience in the manufacturing sector and is a national sales manager at Javelin – A TriMech Company. Javelin provides a full range of 3D technology solutions, including software, hardware, training, and services. 

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