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NGen co-funds $11M for manufacturing consortium to develop flexible automation


A consortium co-funded by Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) is committing $11 million to build smarter production and flexible automation systems that can be applied across advanced manufacturing verticals.

The consortium, led by aerospace tech company MDA along with Quebec-based partners Promark Electronics and AV&R, will enable the integration of artificial intelligence, industry 4.0, data sharing, and collaborative robotics into highly flexible, adaptable manufacturing environments.

Each project partner will develop transferable technologies that can assist other Canadian manufacturers achieve long-term success, says NGen, the industry-led organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, in a statement.

Aimed at space manufacturing challenges, MDA will develop Industry 4.0 solutions in automated assembly and testing for high-volume satellite constellations.

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Promark Electronics will develop new solutions in flexible robotic systems for small parts electronics assembly, and use artificial intelligence for production planning and business insights.

AV&R will develop new solutions to apply AI in manufacturing for robot and cobot task management and optimization, data management and analysis inside automated systems, 3D metrology capabilities and reconfigurable robotic systems.

The resulting responsiveness opens opportunities for Canadian manufacturers to out-compete global producers who rely on traditionally slower, inflexible, labour-intensive production methods.

“Projects of this size are more difficult to finance through normal business expenses,” says Jarred Knecht, president, Promark Electronics.

“Absent the NGen context, the partners would likely continue working in isolation developing incremental improvements year-on-year to keep up with market changes, instead we are taking a giant leap forward.”