Above: Artistic rendering of the New Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara building.
As it presented its budget in the Ontario legislature today the provincial government reaffirmed its commitment to support the building of a permanent home for the Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara College.
The Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara College (IIC@N) is a state-of-the-art facility where NC faculty-and-student research teams will assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers with research and development and solving operational challenges.
“This is great Media Releases for Niagara College and for local manufacturers” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “This is a significant investment in Niagara that enhances our ability to help local manufacturers innovate compete and ultimately create new jobs.”
The 18000-square-foot addition adjacent to the Welland Campus’s Rankin Technology Centre will provide additional space for specialized equipment labs and meeting areas. In recent months the College has chosen an architect started designing the interior space and has initiated its technical services program.
“We should see the shovel in the ground this fall with an expected occupancy of late 2015 or early 2016” said Marc Nantel associate vice-president of Research and Innovation at Niagara College. “Our faculty and student research teams are already doing innovative work with Niagara manufacturers. This new specialized facility means we’ll be able to expand this work and assist more local companies.”
For example the Niagara Research team has recently used lean manufacturing principles to recommend a 3.5 times reduction in production time for Vineland-based GGS Structures Inc. The team has also utilized 3D software to reduce the risk and curb the costs associated with planning an extensive factory addition for Port Colborne’s Kwik Mix. For St. Catharines-based PaperNuts the team created a prototype dispensing machine with improved production and mass distribution allowing the company to better serve the needs of its customers.
With a permanent home the Industry Innovation Centre will be able to serve many more Niagara manufacturers each year while expanding the services offered.
The proposed addition includes:
• Lab space – for faculty/students to innovate and conduct industry research and development projects;
• Innovation space – for companies to co-locate and work on their new products services processes;
• Business space – for faculty/students to offer business services related to technology projects; and
• Office space – for Niagara Research students and industry staff to work on projects.
Since 2011 through Niagara Research the College’s students and faculty have provided assistance to more than 40 manufacturers. Results have included increased productivity and new products launched which in turn has led to the creation of new markets and new full-time jobs for the manufacturing companies.
Today’s announcement adds to the $990000 in funding that was provided in 2013 by the federal government’s FedDev Ontario Prosperity Initiative $50000 per year for 5 years from the Niagara Region and the Technology Access Centre funding of $350000 per year for five years revealed earlier this spring by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Niagara Research conducts research projects with industry partners in the areas of advanced manufacturing agriculture and environment digital media and information technologies food and beverage innovation and business and commercialization solutions.
Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics.
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