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NGen invests $11M in automotive production and robotics systems


Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) has co-funded $11 million for three projects implementing new technologies in the Canadian automotive sector.

The industry-led organization behind Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster administered the funding for the projects, which were selected by a panel of independent experts.

Project #1: HPA production

Polar Sapphire Limited, Mississauga, Ont.
Nature Alu Incorporated, La Baie, Que.
Dynamic Concept, Saguenay, Que.

These companies have established a Canadian High Purity Alumina (HPA) consortium to demonstrate the commercial production of superior-grade alumina suitable for electronics applications, particularly lithium-ion battery separators (LIBs) used in electric vehicles.

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This will be Canada’s first high-grade HPA production facility, establishing the country as a supplier for this high-demand material both domestically and in international markets.

Project #2: Automated inspection for robotic welding

Autometrics Manufacturing Technologies Incorporated, Vancouver, B.C.
Macron Metalfab Incorporated, Delta, B.C.

Autometrics and Macron Metalfab are piloting an automated inspection system for robotic welding operations. The real-time quality management system, called Inspection 4.0, uses proprietary approaches powered by machine-learning software to provide automated monitoring and detection.

This pilot project collects data for machine learning and validations and addresses challenges around the deployment of the technology at an industrial scale and over different welding equipment and operations.

“Industrial technologies commercialization involves a high cost of implementation in production lines and validations,” says Mike Mohseni, founder, Autometrics, in a statement.

“For machine learning-powered solutions requiring industrial process data, an additional layer of technical risk further obstructs commercialization. The network and resources provided by NGen greatly de-risk technology deployment for manufacturers and foster a collaborative testbed for further developments of data-centric solutions.”

Project #3: Autonomous adaptable robot system

Magna International Incorporated, Aurora, Ont.
Maple Advanced Robotics Incorporated, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Magna and Maple Advanced Robotics have developed an Autonomous Adaptable Robot System (AARS).

The novel robot integration solution is for manufacturers who require flexible solutions but may not have the scale of work or resources needed to justify larger investments in automation systems.

Using the latest in 3D vision technology, software and robotics, the solution will allow operators to easily modify the robot path and workspace.