College welcomes MP on tour of Rankin Technology Centre

College president Dan Patterson shakes hands with St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra on a visit to the Welland Campus Dec. 20.

Rick Dykstra has an opportunity to try out state-of-the-art equipment in the Rankin Technology Centre.

Niagara College welcomed St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra to the Welland Campus Dec. 20.

The visit was an opportunity for Dykstra to catch a glimpse of the work Niagara College does to help boost Niagara’s business community, particularly when it comes to advanced manufacturing.

Dean: Environment, Media & Technology Ben Cecil led Dysktra on a walking tour of the Rankin Technology Centre where he had a chance to visit the Welding Lab, Renewable Energies Lab, Mechanical Engineering Lab, and Machining Lab and try out some of the College’s state-of-the-art equipment such as the Faro Arm and the object laser scanner.

Dykstra was introduced to Niagara Research’s leadership role in revitalizing the regional economy, enhancing the productivity and increasing the competitiveness of local small- and medium-size enterprises, and supporting the creation of new jobs through collaborative applied research activities.

He was also given an overview of several research projects underway at the College, including Niagara Research’s work with Norgen Biotech, Calhoun Sportswear, Abatement Technologies, Koppers Fishing & Tackle, Ryan Industrial Technologies, PaperNuts, and Steep Building Systems Inc.

Here’s some of what he learned:

Norgen Biotech

The only fully integrated Canadian biotechnology company that provides first-class sample generation kits for DNA, RNA and protein purification – vital to medical diagnostics.


Their challenge: Meeting rising demands while maintaining product quality. The company wanted to manufacture sample kits in an automated fashion with speed, consistency and at a reduced cost. 


Our solution: Niagara Research boosted the rate of kit production and product quality by automating the process. This enabled the company to serve higher quality products to a larger customer base. NC helped Norgen increase production from 10 kits to 240 kits per day. Its cost per unit decreased, therefore increasing profit margins per unit sold. In addition, more personnel were hired to deal with the increased demand.


Calhoun Sportswear

A full-service global sourcing company for, Coors, Corona, and the Canadian Football League.


Their challenge: The company received an influx of orders for NHL sportswear and couldn’t effectively cope with the rise in demand.


Our solution: Niagara Research introduced ‘lean manufacturing’ (which involves eliminating waste  such as time and materials from the process) to Calhoun’s NHL workstation. As a result, the company can produce and prepare items for shipping in almost 50% less time. The company was able to meet a significant rise in demand by using existing staff.  Increased efficiency kept costs down, enabling the company to maintain its competitive edge and attract even more business.


Abatement Technologies

A worldwide leader in the design and manufacturing of air abatement products, including a line of equipment used to isolate hospital patients with infectious airborne pathogens.

Their challenge: To improve on the company’s design of negative pressure room isolation equipment used on hospital patients to purify air and kill pathogens. The existing equipment was too noisy and disturbing to patients.

Our solution: Niagara Research modified the company’s equipment (HC800F HEPA Air Scrubber) and successfully reduced noise without compromising performance. Now that the equipment is quieter than its competitors, Abatement Technologies has gained an edge in the market.

Koppers Fishing and Tackle

Designer, manufacturer, and supplier of the world’s most anatomically accurate line of fishing lures.

Their challenge: To reduce reliance on the foreign manufacturing of a particular lure mould and gain insight into its manufacturing process currently performed in China.

Our solution: Niagara Research reverse engineered the lure mould, allowing the product, formerly manufactured in China, to now be manufactured locally. As a result, Koppers has gained greater control over its intellectual property and product quality.

Ryan Industrial Technologies

Machine fabricator that specializes in equipment for construction.


Their challenge: To develop an asphalt pothole patching machine to be sold to construction contractors and municipal public works.


Our solution: A mechanical team at Niagara Research designed all components of the working prototype including the hydraulic circuit and electronic control, and worked with the company to construct the prototype. The new pothole patching machine streamlines the pothole patching process and makes it more efficient, without the need of a three- or four- person road crew to patch each pothole. It has also improved performance through a superior asphalt mix lasts three to five years, instead of the currently used mix that lasts less than a year.




Manufactures loose-fill packaging material from 100% recycled cellulose materials. Material is a clean, safe, non-polluting alternative (to typically used polystyrene packaging materials) and offers damage protection when shipping a product.


Their challenge: To design a new PaperNuts production machine. The  former machine was too slow and frequently broke down.

Our solution: Niagara Research has designed a new and improved machine resulting in a better product, and faster rate of production. It has also lowered the company’s labour and repair costs.

Steep Building Systems Inc.

Provider of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building envelope systems available in the industry today. Its system has been used in 27 countries and more than 80,000 projects.


The challenge: To construct and employ a structure for the effective R-value testing of building materials. The structure will accommodate a removable wall panel to allow panels to be inserted, tested and removed. This will allow NC and Steep to test the R values of its existing wall panels against its competitors.


Our solution: Niagara Research is currently working with Steep to gain insight into the energy efficiency of its product and how it ranks among its competitors. As a result, the company will be able to make informed decisions on future building designs. It will also provide its client base with real-world results to inform their building designs.


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