University of Waterloo receives $27 million grant to pursue Additive Manufacturing

Inside the University of Waterloo’s Additive Manufacturing Lab. (Photo: MSAM).
Inside the University of Waterloo’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab. (Photo: MSAM lab).

The University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario) has received $27 million CAD ($20 million USD) in funding to set up a “world-class” additive manufacturing laboratory. According to the university, when fully equipped, its Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) lab will be “one of the 10 largest university-based AM facilities in the world.” The Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab (MSAM) is now the largest-ever government investment into additive manufacturing at a University. The MSAM will continue its focus “on the development of next-generation Additive Manufacturing (AM) to process metals through the use of new sensors, quality assurance software and machine intelligence. “One major patented innovation is the fabrication of smart components by 3D printing of sensors, and then embedding them into metal parts. Currently, the MSAM lab houses a number of additive manufacturing machines including metal 3D printers from EOS and Renishaw. The facility also includes machines from Stratasys, 3D Systems and Optomec. Additionally, the lab has developed a number of novel 3D printers as well as professional scanning equipment, including CT scanners. The MSAM has a number of industrial partners including two of the largest players in the additive manufacturing industry in GE Aviation and Siemens.

Metal 3D printed parts from the MSAM. (Photo: Reza Moridi).
Metal 3D printed parts from the MSAM lab. (Photo: Reza Moridi).

According to Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Engineering at Waterloo, the MSAM will increase adoption of the technology. From machine design to the additive manufacturing process, to final parts quality, Canadian manufacturers now have a research hub to help them adopt end-to-end process innovation on their shop floors. The concept is similar to that of the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), as it attempts to expand additive manufacturing by developing the process through extensive research. The lab will also collaborate with other institutions in Germany, the United States, England and Singapore.

The continued investment into the University of Waterloo’s MSAM adds to Ontario’s recent additive manufacturing exploration. Nearby Western University in London, Ontario is developing a $5 million medical 3D printing centre following a collaboration with British manufacturing company Renishaw. In Kitchener, Ontario, Renishaw just developed its first Additive Manufacturing Solutions Centre in North America. It’s hoped these AM initiatives will create more jobs in Ontario for skilled workers. In another bid to increase manufacturing jobs in the area, an academic partnership has been created known as the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation (SONAMI). Following a $7.3 million investment, the network expects to create 186 jobs. The network includes Niagara College, Mohawk College, Sheridan College and McMaster University.



Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.