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Advanced Manufacturing

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laser cutting through metal

Accounting for approximately one quarter of the economic value created in Waterloo Region in 2012, the manufacturing sector has been and continues to be a driving force of the local economy. In this industry, an evolution is taking place and continues to gain momentum as it shifts away from a "traditional", low-tech manufacturing industry to a highly advanced, clean and automated "Advanced Manufacturing" industry. This revolutionized industry is supported by the access to a highly skilled, educated, workforce of technicians, trades workers and engineers.

The thriving technology industry in Waterloo Region is one of the key supporters in the development of advanced manufacturing process and materials.

Waterloo Region has a diversified advanced manufacturing industry which creates approximately 6 billion dollars annually from such diverse sectors as automation, robotics, areospace, food processing, plastics and fabricated metals.

Culture of Collaboration

Waterloo Region is home to numerous business & technology initiatives which further the development of technologies created within this rich entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Conestoga College - Conestoga College is Ontario's fastest-growing college and recognized leader in polytechnic education. It is home to the School of Engineering and Information Technology and the Institute of Food Processing Technology. Through the partnership with industry collaborators including COM DEV, Grand River Foods, BlackBerry, ATS, Toyota and AGFA, Conestoga College's trades and apprenticeship programs injects a highly knowledgeable and experienced workforce into the manufacturing industry.

Centre for Advanced Materials Joining (CAMJ) - The University of Waterloo based centre is focused on developing new and innovative technologies for materials joining, including microjoining, nanojoining, welding for automotive applications and brazing for aerospace applications. CAMJ has cutting-edge laboratory facilities and research areas to collaborate with leading companies in the manufacturing industry such as Babcock & Wilcox, Ford, and GM for research and development.

Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) - Based in University of Waterloo's Faculty of Engineering - Canada's largest and best engineering school, WatCAR conducts leading-edge as a focal point for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Automotive Parts Manufacturers (Tiers I, II and III), as well as Material Suppliers to develop lighter, cheaper and greener vehicles of tomorrow.

Institute for Polymer Research (IPR) - Carrying out applied and fundamental research in areas of plastics, coatings, adhesives and elastomers industries, IPR creates technological initiatives to develop better polymers for diverse manufacturing applications. Member firms of IPR benefits from free consulting by experts, reduced rates on research service and priority on contract research.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) - WIN is at the forefront of science and technology to transform research into real-world application, one molecule at a time. It drives the design, fabrication and commercialization of advanced materials and structures and enables new, greener and more cost-effective solutions for manufacturers. The Institute's co-operative education program, with over 500 students, is by far the largest in North America.

Manufacturing Innovation Network (MIN) - MIN is a free online network for the manufacturers of Waterloo Region and their local counterparts. It is aimed at connecting key stakeholder groups within the manufacturing sector to strengthen the local supply chain, and create a more responsive and globally competitive manufacturing community.

Skilled Workforce

  • Highest rate of post-secondary education among the OECD countries
  • University of Waterloo offers 14 different, 5 year co-op engineering programs with core disciplines like chemical, electrical, software engineering, systems design, nanotechnology and mechatronics
  • Conestoga College's School of Trades and Apprenticeship outputs annually approximately 1000 on-the-job trained and experienced labor force
  • 65,000 post-secondary students including 24,000 co-operative education students at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College 

Business Advantages

  • Corporate tax rate lower than G8 and G20 average as well as U.S.
  • Combined with federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, Ontario's R&D tax program reduces every $100 in R&D spending to about $56, or $38 for SMEs
  • $200 million for Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Fund is provided by federal government in activities that create new and innovative products or production methods
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence's Technology Transfer Partnerships program strengthens the linkage between research institutions and business sector
  • Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit in Ontario provides up to $10,000 per year for companies who hire and train in certain skilled trades

Fast Facts

  • University of Waterloo has Canada's largest engineering school offering the largest co-operative program of its kind in the world, graduating "workplace ready" individuals
  • Conestoga College's School of Trades and Apprenticeship is the centre of apprenticeship and skills training in Waterloo Region. It offers an array of hands-on trades programs in machining, welding, CNC, electrical technology, motive power, metal fabrication and heavy equipment operation
  • Hyphen, a state-of-the-art rapid prototyping testing centre which includes: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), PolyJet, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereo Lithography (SLA), and metal-working processes including 3 axis, 4 axis and 5 axis CNC machining
  • Waterloo Region manufacturers benefit from its proximity to the US market, 158 million people within one day's drive, and are supported by state-of-the-art transportation and logistics infrastructure