On February 15, 2018 Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, introduced the new superclusters that will receive a combined investment of up to $950 million, matched dollar for dollar by the private sector. The Superclusters are expected to create more than 50,000 jobs over ten years and grow Canada’s GDP. The five winners in the national competition are: Digital Technology Supercluster, Protein Industries Supercluster, Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI) and Ocean Supercluster.
“To us, the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster is the infrastructure and environment that brings together a connected and collaborative network,” says Sean Donnelly, our President and CEO. “It is really about building capacity in our manufacturers to adopt technology in order to scale them up – connecting our manufacturers to the 3,500 organizations engaged in R&D and technology innovation relevant to manufacturing in Southern Ontario so they can attack common business development challenges and rapidly apply technology.”
This is critical to the manufacturing sector as the investment in machinery and adoption of technology is what drives the growth of small and medium-size manufacturers. The Supercluster will provide an ecosystem to allow businesses to experiment safely, given that innovation is expensive and it is inevitable that some ideas will not be successful. Manufacturers need an environment where small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and have an opportunity to try new technology and processes without major consequences.
The Supercluster will also provide more visible and timely access to sources of innovation. It will help to further develop an Advanced Manufacturing market in Canada – building a global platform from here and as companies adopt technologies and scale up it will contribute to increasing the domestic demand for advanced manufacturing. The cluster could be geographic or it could be conceptual. Either way it employs a systematic approach to innovation, product development, adoption of technology and a scaling up of organizations through a central technology application centre — one entity with all the interconnectedness.
At a formal ceremony on February 22, 2018 to celebrate the winning bid, Jayson Myers spoke on behalf of Next Generation Manufacturing, a network of private and public sector organizations working together to form the Supercluster. “The Supercluster allows us to become world leaders of the adoption and execution of new technology,” Jayson said.
Patrick Deane, President of McMaster University add that “We have been lucky to partner with manufacturing giants like ArcelorMittal Dofasco which has played an important role in moving this initiative forward. It will be a new era for Advanced Manufacturing.”
“We’re excited to see the Supercluster take shape,” says Sean who is also on the Next Generation Manufacturing Board of Directors. “We will utilize the Supercluster to undertake technology projects that will change our business including projects like Automated Coil Management (ACM) that track steel coils and optimize their movement and storage through sensors and algorithms with both automated and manual cranes as well as Flow Optimization that integrates and uses data to optimize the sequence of how coils are processed in a line-up and overall facility flows and planning.”
We also know our supply chain will benefit greatly from the Supercluster, including our customers. The potential is in the scaling up of current SMEs – when these businesses grow, all boats rise, including ours, and that will have a significant positive impact on our economy and our communities including our domestic demand for manufacturing.