Canada’s UNB opens $5M research facility for metal 3D printing in marine and defense
Canada has launched its very first metal 3D printing research center geared towards the marine and defense industries. Dubbed the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, the new facility is being established at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and was realized through a partnership between the latter, Custom Fabricators and Machinists (CFM), and community colleges in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The multi-million-dollar metal 3D printing center will be used for a number of different purposes within the marine and defense fields, including AM research, commercialization (headed by CFM), and workforce development and training (led by the community colleges).
Directed by Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi (who will also lead the R&D segment of the facility), the center will reportedly become the first in Canada to 3D print certified, custom metal parts for the marine industry. Ultimately, Canada hopes the center will allow it (and specifically its maritime provinces) to keep up with new manufacturing technologies and trends, and to continue to compete on the global market.
So far, the center has raised nearly 5 million CAD, with the bulk of its funding coming from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (2.7M CAD), and Irving Shipbuilding, which invested 750,000 CAD as part of its commitment to Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS)—a 30-year-plan to renew the nation’s Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard fleet.
According to the University of New Brunswick, the metal 3D printing center is also expected to triple its funding by bringing in additional partners over the next year.
“The work that will be done at the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence will develop exciting new technologies and bring them to market,” said Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. “The investments by Irving Shipbuilding and by Lockheed Martin show how we can leverage military procurements to generate support for the new ideas and highly skilled workforce that will sustain our marine sector for years to come.”
Dr. Mohammadi, director of the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, told local news that the facility’s metal 3D printers will construct parts of roughly 60 x 60 x 60 cm in size primarily for marine vessels. He says 3D printing will allow the center to reduce production time for new and custom parts (from 60 weeks to just hours).
“We’re seeing more and more people show interest in coming to New Brunswick to be part of what we’re doing,” Dr. Mohammadi said in a statement. “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.”
The new Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence was officially launched yesterday (May 25) through an announcement at the Richard J. Currie Center at UNB Fredericton.