Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Ontario invests $10M in auto parts companies for tech adoption

March 30, 2021
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Photo: xieyuliang/Getty Images

The Ontario government is investing $10 million in auto parts companies through the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP).

The funding awarded so far is adding to $25.8 million in industry investments.

“The strength, innovation and quality of our automotive supply chain has been essential in attracting almost $6 billion in new vehicle assembly investments to Ontario,” says Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in a statement. “O-AMP provides targeted support to help auto parts manufacturers make critical investments in technology and training to enable them to keep ahead in a globally competitive industry.”

O-AMP was launched in September 2019 as part of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the government’s plan for the auto industry.

The program is helping small- and medium-sized automotive parts suppliers by investing in technology adoption and/or training in lean manufacturing.

More than 100 projects are either underway or in the pipeline and will create about 570 jobs.

One such O-AMP project is funding of $87,210 to match a $105,957 investment by Concord, Ont. manufacturer Global Plas. The investment is for new injection molding technology and an automation system that increases production efficiency while reducing material wastage costs, enabling the company to expand its business. Global Plas has also added 36 new jobs.

Another example is Kinto Canada Ltd., in Windsor, Ont. The company makes connectors and fixtures used in the automotive industry (including electric vehicles), electric locomotives, renewable energy and power transmission. Kinto Canada invested in technology to automate and digitize some of the company’s machining and grinding processes.

The upgrades helped to reduce lead times for customers, increase productivity and reduce materials wastage. O-AMP funding of $100,000 was matched by an investment by Kinto Canada of $141,607, helping to retain eight jobs.

Listowel Technology, in Listowel, Ont., produces plastic molded parts for the Honda Civic and CRV. Listowel Technology invested in advanced production technology using lean manufacturing processes to secure additional work building the centre panel for the 2022 Honda Civic program.

O-AMP funding of $100,000 was matched by an investment by Listowel Technology of $441,334. The project has assisted the company to add 28 new jobs.

“The Canadian and Ontario auto industries have a generation-defining opportunity to lead in the design, engineering and manufacture of modern vehicle technologies — zero emissions, light-weight, connected and autonomous,” says Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.

“The targeted investments of the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program will assist our ambitious and innovative auto parts companies stay at the leading-edge of technology and innovation.”

Ontario’s 2021 Budget announced further support for the auto sector by investing $56.4 million over the next four years to create the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN). OVIN will build on successful elements of the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), accelerating the development of next-generation electric, connected and autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies, as well as supporting Ontario’s role as the manufacturing hub of Canada.

Ontario is the only place in North America with five major automakers building vehicles — Stellantis, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota — as well as truck manufacturer Hino.

The province’s vehicle assembly facilities are supported by a supply chain comprising over 700 parts firms and over 500 tool, die and mold makers.

More than 300 Ontario companies and organizations are active in the development of connected and autonomous vehicle (C/AV) technologies.

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