The manufacturing landscape has changed drastically in the last 35 years, with many large firms in any given region being replaced by small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). Many of these newer companies lack the capital or resources to investigate new technologies that could improve their business models or be used to develop new products or increase their market shares. The role colleges and institutes play in the manufacturing landscape is an important part in preparing work-ready graduates, up-skilling the existing workforce, and fostering entrepreneurial mindset and innovation-particularly through applied research and advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D design, additive manufacturing, and reality capture. Practical project examples from companies like Airbus Helicopter and THK will give attendees a better understanding of the applied research and innovation ecosystem, and of the value that academic partnerships can bring to SMEs in reducing the risk of technology adoption.
- Understand the role academic institutions can play in reducing the risk of technology adoption with SMEs
- See practical examples of how advanced manufacturing technologies assisted in SME product development
- Better understand the roles that economic development and industrial associations play in a successful technology adoption
- Identify academic partnership opportunities within your own regions to be early adopters in the fostering of innovation
Having spent over 30 years in design engineering for a large manufacturing firm, Jim is now the Manager for the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, part of the Research and Innovation division of Niagara College Canada, located in Welland, Ontario Canada. Partnering with SME's in the Niagara region,the technology access center desires to make companies more competitive in their respective marketplaces using Advanced Manufacturing techniques to cultivate technology adoption. This partnership also provides students and recent grads from the academic programs the real work experience they require to be marketable by practical applications of the technologies applied.