The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation (SONAMI) is a partnership between Niagara College, Mohawk College, Sheridan College, and McMaster University and it has just received considerable backing of $7.3 million. The project is expected to support 186 high-quality jobs and result in 85 new products being commercialized and is an attempt to improve education for additive manufacturing.
MP Vance Badawey, who unveiled the project, said “We’re witnessing a new industrial age”.
The project is meant to encourage collaboration between academia and the industry, with the colleges and universities involved already having strong 3D printing backgrounds. Niagara college is known for its research and other strengths around 3D technologies and plastic additive manufacturing while Mohawk College is home to the sole metal additive manufacturing lab in Ontario. Sheridan College has a focus on robotics and flexible manufacturing while McMaster University puts emphasis on advanced tooling and materials.
Niagara College president Dan Patterson explained how the SONAMI project will help business partnerships in three ways:
- Firstly, it will enable the colleges’ to act as an applied research arm of a company.
- Secondly, students will gain crucial experience in an upcoming industry, and one that is creating an increasing amount of jobs.
- Finally the project will innovate the manufacturing industry in order to compete globally.
This is an economy that will be defined by the creativity and innovation of individuals and organizations
The announcement also involved a small talk by student Mike Granton, who is in his final year of mechanical engineering technology. He explained the importance and benefit of his experience with the latest software and tools in order to develop prototypes for clients and highlighted the importance of this latest funding through the success of his own experience.
It’s these tools paired with the knowledge gained in the classroom that allowed me to effectively turn ideas into physical products ready to be tested in real world conditions.
Education into additive manufacturing is being encouraged increasingly with Nottingham University, in the UK, recently announcing plans to build a dedicated additive manufacturing facility as a result of investment.
Featured image shows MP Vance Badawey, student Mike Granston, Paul Clipsham, Marc Nantel and college president Dan Patterson. Photo by Mike Zettel for Niagarathisweek.