Advanced manufacturing gets boost, says Sheridan’s Farzad Rayegani

Sheridan College has been developing new promising manufacturing technologies with its business partners – including 3-D printing research it hopes to expand with money from Ottawa.

“3-D printing is the technology of the future and this investment will help us train the engineers of the future,” Sheridan’s associate dean of mechanical and electrical engineering and technology, Dr. Farzad Rayegani told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

In last week’s budget, Ottawa provided tax breaks and grants for advanced research and technology, including 3-D printing – a growing form of high-tech design and machining.

“This investment will also help us continue to buy and update the technology as it changes.”

Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, is machining three-dimensional solid objects from digital models through an additive process where layers of material are laid down in different shapes.

Earlier this year, Sheridan acquired a Fortrus 900 mc 3-D Production system, the first one of its class installed at a post-secondary institution in Canada.

The engineering technology is used in making everything from jewelry to shoes as well as in industrial design, architecture, construction, automotive and aerospace manufacturing, IT, dental and medical sectors and many other fields.

Sheridan said the 3-D machine acquisition also increases access to local small and medium-sized businesses that wouldn’t normally be able to afford such a machine.

The federal budget included a $1.4-billion investment over the next four years in tax incentives that would enable companies to purchase machinery and equipment, including 3-D printers.

Sheridan’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies at its Bramton campus also has, in addition to 3-D printing, state-of-the-art labs for flexible automation, additive and direct digital manufacturing. The venture is worth an estimated $8 million.

Rayegani said the investment would make a big difference to small and medium-sized companies in Peel by helping them to invest in technology they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own.

While the price of 3-D printer machines has dropped in the last few years, the federal budget’s infrastructure investment will allow Sheridan to purchase equipment and developing training programs.

Sheridan also said it stands to benefit from other parts of the federal budget, including increases to the College and Community Initatives Program, money to help lure more international students, and a special credit for first-time donors to encourage philanthropy from more Canadians.

Internationally known for its illustration and arts programs, Sheridan College currently has three campuses in Oakville, Brampton, as well as a business school near Square One in Mississauga, which it is currently expanding.

The college now has 18,000 students. It has plans for a rapid expansion of programs, increased capacity for international students and new buildings, including a second phase of the Hazel McCallion Campus.

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