Central Alberta manufacturing firms will receive federal support to strengthen competitiveness and generate new commercial opportunities, says a local organization.
On Friday, Central Alberta: Access Prosperity announced it is receiving a federal investment of $870,292 through PrairiesCan for the Manufacturing and Export Enhancement (MEE) Cluster.
This funding, made available through PrairiesCan’s Regional Innovation Ecosystem program, will allow for the delivery of initiatives to foster manufacturing innovation, enhance collaboration and support manufacturers along their digital transformation journey across the Prairies region.
“The funding announced by the federal government will allow industry to build resilience and better compete globally by accelerating the digital transformation of manufacturing in Western Canada,” said Peter Krzesinski, MEE Cluster executive director.
“Access Prosperity’s MEE Cluster will create synergies by bringing the manufacturing ecosystem closer together, support adoption of Smart Manufacturing, and build essential skills within the workforce to help manufacturers thrive in the digital age.”
Access Prosperity is a not-for-profit economic development organization located in Red Deer. It officially launched the MEE Cluster in March 2022. The cluster was established out of the need to support small and medium-sized businesses in manufacturing technology adoption, and to bring industry, postsecondary institutes, and various like-minded organizations closer together in the name of manufacturing innovation and growth across western Canada.
One of the first initiatives being rolled out thanks in part to the federal funding is the Industrial Additive Manufacturing Hack-A-Thon, hosted by the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing – Technology Access Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic.
The Hack-A-Thon provides an opportunity for manufacturers across the Prairies to gain critical skills in advanced digital design and modelling, as well as gain experience with additive manufacturing. With guidance from members of the Alberta Additive Manufacturing Network, engineers will participate in teams of three to four to address design challenges brought forward by industry.
Another initiative made possible through the newly announced funding is a new trade show to be held in April 2023. The SmartMTX trade show, which will include speciality sub-conferences, will provide a platform to explore ideas and opportunities that fuel manufacturing growth and innovation.
SmartMTX will also enable manufacturers to learn about the latest advancements in Smart Manufacturing technologies and connect them with solution providers.
Daniel Vandal, minister for PrairiesCan, said small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses across central Alberta play a vital role in creating high quality jobs and exporting Canadian-made products to markets around the globe.
“Our government’s investment in the Manufacturing and Export Enhancement Cluster will help provide these businesses with more opportunities to adopt new technologies, integrate leading-edge manufacturing processes, and access the resources they need to remain competitive and continue to grow for years to come,” said Vandal.
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