Red River College will be home to a new Smart Factory and will expand its Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT), as part of a $10-million investment over the next five years by Western Economic Diversification Canada.
The Smart Factory will be located at RRC’s new Skilled Trades Technology Centre – currently under construction and slated to open in 2018 – and will be an applied research space, experiential learning facility, and technology demonstration site. It will combine emerging technology, including robotics, automation, additive manufacturing, high-speed robotic inspection and industrial networking.
The Smart Factory will also enhance learning at RRC by allowing students to experience and work in factory settings, while providing Manitoba companies with access to state-of-the-art equipment, instructors, researchers and students, in order to test and prepare their technologies for incorporation into their own operations.
The CATT enhancements mark the centre's third expansion, and will include cold spray technology, non-contact inspection and high-speed laser scanning systems, robotic welding seam tracking, a compressor blade profiling system and upgrades of existing digital X-ray, lasers systems and induction heating.
“These new facilities will ensure our students and industry partners in aerospace and manufacturing remain at the forefront of research and training,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
“This expansion is going to have far-reaching impacts across the province and will be able to serve both the aerospace and non-aerospace industries through direct access to the College’s equipment, facilities and expertise.”
First established in 2009 as a strategic partnership between RRC, StandardAero and federal and provincial governments, the CATT — the College's first industrial campus — is co-located at StandardAero’s Plant 5 facility. In addition to the federal funds announced today, both StandardAero and RRC committed to in-kind contributions of $4.5 million and $1.2 million respectively.
“We continue to be proud to partner with Red River College on initiatives that build upon the strengths of our industry,” says Kim Olson, Senior Vice-President, Engineering and Quality at StandardAero. “Having access to this kind of space and technology helps us to consistently be trailblazers in innovation.”
Manitoba is a leader in aerospace and manufacturing, and boasts the largest aerospace sector in Western Canada. The projects announced today will ensure RRC also remains a leader providing highly skilled students and industry professionals to key areas of the economy, including advanced materials processing, robotics and automation, industrial networking and data analytics.
These projects also complement the College’s existing Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), which provides ongoing research, innovation and customized training support to the aerospace and manufacturing sectors in Manitoba.
Inset photo (from left): Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic, RRC; Ian Wishart, provincial Minister of Education and Training; Navdeep Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; Cliff Cullen, provincial Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, RRC; Tom Albig, General Manager, Component Services, StandardAero.
Smart Factory artists rendering courtesy of Number Ten Architectural Group.