Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation

Manufacturers can now access to the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a research and development network aimed at accelerating the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies.

SONAMI is a partnership between Niagara College, Mohawk College, Sheridan College and McMaster University. The network of research institutions, each with areas of manufacturing specialization, can assist manufacturers who are adopting and integrate disruptive technologies. Companies may approach the network with a concept, then have researchers develop and test innovative solutions that meet the manufacturer’s requirements.

The newly created collaborative network was developed with $7.3 million in Canadian government funding through the Investing in Commercialization Partnerships (ICP) initiative. Because of this investment, it’s expected that 170 new prototypes, 85 new products, and 186 high-quality jobs will be created.

Related Blog: Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP)

Capabilities of the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation

SONAMI provides southern Ontario manufacturers access to expertise and advanced manufacturing facilities. Through this approach, manufacturers will be able to develop and commercialize new advanced manufacturing technologies.

The advanced manufacturing network consists of four post-secondary research institutions:

  1. Niagara College: A leader in advanced manufacturing technologies, Niagara College can support engineering, 3D technologies, and plastic additive manufacturing at its Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.
  2. Mohawk College: Supports metal additive manufacturing projects. Manufacturers may design and print custom parts to solve technical challenges.
  3. Sheridan College: Are specialists in robotics and flexible manufacturing. Their Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies can support a range of mechanical engineering projects.
  4. McMaster University: The McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) supports innovations in advanced materials tooling adoption.

Types of Advanced Manufacturing Projects Accepted

SONAMI collaborations support three types of advanced manufacturing technologies:

  1. Additive Manufacturing: 3D printed technologies harness significant potential for manufacturers. Discover its advantages and limitations, and how to apply it in your facilities.
  2. Tooling Adoption for Advanced Materials: Increase the integration of advanced materials into the production the process to produce more innovative products.
  3. Flexible Manufacturing: Adaptation of production processes to increase the use of robots, sensors, computer-controlled machines, and other automated systems.

Access Advanced Manufacturing Facilities in Southern Ontario

To access the advanced manufacturing network, interested businesses can contact a college or university research representative. There is a project vetting process that takes place thereafter, where the research institution will decide if they have the capacity to support the project or if it would be better executed by another member of the network.

With the new Canadian government funding investment, manufacturers will enjoy a significantly faster review period for project proposals and more projects will ultimately be funded. Niagara college alone believes it will double the amount of projects it will be able to service this year, from approximately 80 to 160.

Research Grants for Canadian Advanced Manufacturers

Manufacturers in southern Ontario are urged to participate in innovation programs such as these. There are even Canadian government grants for research and development that can offset a portion of project costs. Some of them include:

IRAP Mid-Size Project Research Grants

The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is designed to expand the research budgets of businesses overcoming innovation challenges. IRAP Mid-Size Project research grants provide funding to offset a portion of labour expenses so that companies can accelerate the development of new production technologies.

Canadian manufacturers may receive up to 65-80% of internal labour costs to a maximum $500,000. Participants must be incorporated for at least 2 years and have 1-500 employees on payroll.

NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grants

NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants support collaborative research partnerships between businesses and a team of academic researchers. This program seeks to overcome significant engineering or natural sciences challenge.

NSERC CRD grants can reduce a business’ research project expenses by up to 50% to a maximum $200,000 per year. Participants may access the program for up to 5 years for a total research funding value of $1 million.

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Written by

Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.