Feds injecting $8.2M in UW's 3D printing lab to boost businesses' manufacturing power

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The federal government is investing $8.2 million in the University of Waterloo's 3D printing lab to support businesses across southern Ontario in adopting advanced manufacturing technologies.

Bardish Chagger, MP for Waterloo, made the FedDev Ontario funding announcement Wednesday.

The cash will allow the university's Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) Lab to create the Additive Manufacturing Alliance.

According to a release, the alliance is a collaboration between post-secondary institutions and major industry partners to help businesses in the region and beyond overcome barriers in adopting 3D printing technology.

"The new Additive Manufacturing Alliance will help businesses accelerate growth by adopting advanced manufacturing technologies into their operations and creating good jobs in our community, while also providing training and upskilling opportunities to prepare workers for the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow," Chagger said in a release.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has uses across many sectors, including aerospace, healthcare and automotive. It can allow for quicker, often more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to prototype products.

The alliance aims to help companies move technologies from prototype to production-ready by providing access to the MSAM lab's specialized metal 3D printing equipment and expertise.

The project will support more than 90 businesses to commercialize around 30 advanced manufacturing technologies. It will also create and maintain more than 275 jobs and provide training opportunities for 1,500 students, research associations and staff.

"This funding is instrumental in capitalizing on an unprecedented interest in additive manufacturing tech adoption in Canada," University of Waterloo mechatronics engineering assistant professor Mihaela Vlasea said in a release. "It will be used to scale up research and development activities and move them into more mature stages of the product development cycle."