Red Deer Polytechnic will be able to expand its medical manufacturing capacity thanks to federal funding.
In an announcement Tuesday, RDP has increased its additive manufacturing capacity in the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing - Technology Access Centre (CIM-TAC) with an additional federal investment of $1.07 million through PrairiesCan.
According to a release, the funding will allow RDP to collaborate with industry on health care device development and additive manufacturing. RDP’s CIM-TAC is a hub for collaborative problem-solving in society and industry, including the creation of health care device prototypes for humans and animals.
“We thank the federal government for this new funding and for recognizing RDP’s role in spurring technology adoption, increasing productivity and ultimately helping to create the innovations that will improve the lives of Albertans and Canadians,” says Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic.
“With this recent investment, RDP will expand our impact in the manufacturing sector while providing our students with new applied learning and research opportunities.”
PrairiesCan funding is being provided through its Regional Innovation Ecosystems program, which provides targeted investment to not-for-profit organizations that support businesses to innovate, grow and compete globally.
“Alberta’s post-secondary institutions such as Red Deer Polytechnic are uniquely positioned to lead collaboration between industry and innovators to transform new ideas into reality,” says the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “Our government’s investment in this Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing will be a catalyst for bringing Alberta-made health innovations to global markets, generating lasting economic and social benefits for Albertans while supporting quality jobs in Canada’s growing life-sciences sector.”
Specific equipment purchased with the support of this federal investment includes a Stratasys Fortus 450mc Industrial FDM 3D Printer, Stratasys J850TM Digital AnatomyTM 3D Printer, Materialise Mimics Innovation Suite (MIS) software and a Formlabs Fuse 1+ 30W Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D Printer. RDP employees have used this equipment to create prototypes for enclosures for wearable devices, along with hyper realistic bones that can be used to visualize anatomy to create patient specific medical device prototypes.
For example, staff have used the MIS software with the J850TM 3D Printer to recreate a dog’s leg that features simulated bone and softer material, resembling flesh. Using this advanced equipment there is the capacity to produce canine surgical implants.
“Thanks to this new funding, more industry partners, students and faculty will have access to state-of-the-art equipment within this one-of-a-kind learning and research environment,” says Dr. Tonya Wolfe, Associate Vice President, Applied Research at Red Deer Polytechnic.
“The CIM-TAC now houses $7.6 million in advanced manufacturing equipment and has partnered with hundreds of Alberta companies to solve real-world challenges.”
In 2022, the CIM-TAC completed 64 projects for 57 companies and had more than 1,300 engagements with business and industry partners.