3D printing of metal-based parts, also known as metal additive manufacturing technologies, is a rapidly growing industry with significant potential for new uses in the Canadian and international automotive and aerospace industries, among others. As this emerging technology is used by more sectors of the Canadian economy, industrial-scale demonstrations are needed to help assess its full potential. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing Materials 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis.
That's why, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Polycontrols, a Quebec-based company specializing in surface engineering solutions and equipment integration, have joined forces to build a new, collaborative research facility to help manufacturers and researchers study, adopt, and deploy cold spray additive manufacturing (CSAM) technology.
Expected to open in February 2020, the Poly/CSAM facility will be located at the NRC's Boucherville site in Quebec. Specifically, Poly/CSAM will focus on scaling-up the CSAM process by helping industry adapt laboratory-developed technology to meet factory and mass production requirements. The six year venture will also offer training for manufacturers to ensure the technology is implemented safely and securely.
- With the support of Investissement Québec, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and Bank of Montreal, Polycontrols is able to launch the first phase of this strategic growth initiative with an initial investment estimated at $4 million over the next six years.
- The National Research Council of Canada, which will house the Poly/CSAM facility, will also support technology development, and provide strategic advice and technical services with a professional team of over 40 experts.
- Poly/CSAM will offer a combination of unique technologies such as surface preparation; coating and 3D buildup by cold spray; local, laser-based thermal treatment; in-situ robotic machining and surface finishing; state-of-the-art sensor technologies; extensive data logging and analytics; and machine learning.
- Metal additive manufacturing, with its high flexibility in design and physical properties, continues to impact the manufacturing sector by using new approaches to conceive, reduce material waste, and bring products to market faster.
"The National Research Council of Canada acknowledges the value and importance this collaboration can offer the industry and the Canadian advanced manufacturing ecosystem. We see great potential in bringing together different stakeholders to enable innovation and to build a network of industrial partners for a stronger Canadian supply and value chain. Our renowned technological expertise and capabilities in additive manufacturing research and development will support Poly/CSAM and contribute to developing demonstration platforms targeted at end user-industries and cluster networks," said François Cordeau, Vice President of Transportation and Manufacturing, National Research Council of Canada.
"Polycontrols is eager to leverage its proven track record in thermal and cold spray implementation (aerospace and surface transportation industries) to showcase its capabilities as a large-scale manufacturing integrator offering custom equipment platforms with the objective of bringing disruptive technologies such as hybrid robotic manufacturing, data analytics and machine learning (supported by Artificial Intelligence) to the shop floor. We see Poly/CSAM as a way to strengthen Canada's industrial leadership in cold spray additive manufacturing and becoming more agile and competitive on the national and international scene," said Luc Pouliot, Vice-President Operations, Polycontrols.
Source and top image: National Research Council of Canada