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UNB wants new centre to revolutionize marine manufacturing

The new Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton is the first of its kind in Canada to combine research, commercialization and workforce development and training. The centre will focus 3D metal printing for the marine and defence industries.

This initiative is the result of a partnership forged between the University of New Brunswick, Custom Fabricators and Machinists (CFM) and community colleges in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The multi-million dollar centre is currently funded by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi, director of the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UNB, will lead the research and development component of the centre, with CFM partnering on commercialization. The New Brunswick Community College, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Community College, will lead workforce development and training.

“We’re seeing more and more people show interest in coming to New Brunswick to be part of what we’re doing,” Mohammadi says. “This is the first centre of its kind in Canada and we are doing it right here in New Brunswick. Our technology is greener and more efficient than conventional methods and will create high value jobs here in Atlantic Canada. I’m so grateful to our many commercialization, industry and training partners who have supported our work so far and I look forward to welcoming new participants in the future.”

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ $2.7-million contribution is a part of its industrial and regional benefits obligation to the federal government pursuant to its contract for the CP-140 Aurora Structural Life Extension Project.

Irving Shipbuilding’s $750,000 investment is a part of its value proposition commitments under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Canada’s 30-year plan to renew the fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. Irving Shipbuilding’s investment led to additional public and private sector funding and in-kind support.

The nearly $5-million centre is expected to triple its funding in the coming year with other partners coming on board.

The centre will be the first in Canada to use 3D metal printing as a method for manufacturing certified, custom parts for the marine sector. Its mission is to ensure the adoption of this leading-edge technology in the marine sector in Canada by developing new methods, procedures and effective training programs.

“As the commercialization partner, CFM is pleased to be hosting the 3D printing equipment at our facility, and we look forward to working with the community colleges to provide a hands-on classroom to train the next generation of skilled machinists and fabricators,” says David Saucy, vice president, Construction and Equipment Division, J.D. Irving Limited. “We also look forward to working closely with Dr. Mohammadi and his team as we integrate this new technology into our existing global customer base as well as developing new markets in the growing marine manufacturing sector.”

This unique initiative will enable New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada to develop a core expertise in this emerging technology and help create the foundation for the next generation of manufacturing. By working closely together, the founding partners will ensure this program has the best chance of succeeding long-term in a globally competitive marketplace.