Press Release

Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster Funds Deployment of Flexible Automation Solutions

By SpaceRef Editor
February 18, 2021
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Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, has co-funded a private sector consortium led by MDA that will enable the integration of artificial intelligence, industry 4.0, data sharing, and collaborative robotics into highly flexible, adaptable manufacturing environments.

MDA along with partners Promark Electronics (Montreal, QC) and AV&R (Saint-Bruno, QC) seek to transform the Canadian manufacturing landscape by applying advanced manufacturing technologies into production environments where constant changes and the ability to maintain flexibility are essential competitive advantages.

The Supercluster project demonstrates a leading collaboration between Canadian companies of varying size and capability and will improve the capacity of Canada’s manufacturers and technology companies to manage technology development, adoption and scale-up for manufacturing in Canada.

Each project partner will develop highly transferable technologies that can assist other Canadian manufacturers achieve long term success. Aimed at New Space manufacturing challenges, MDA will develop industry 4.0 solutions in automated assembly and testing for high-volume satellite constellations. Promark Electronics will develop new solutions in flexible robotic systems for small parts electronics assembly, and use artificial intelligence for production planning and business insights. AV&R will develop new solutions to apply AI in manufacturing for robot & cobot task management and optimization, data management and analysis inside automated systems, 3D metrology capabilities and reconfigurable robotic systems.

The resulting responsiveness opens opportunities for Canadian manufacturers to out-compete global producers who rely on traditionally slower, inflexible, labour-intensive production methods. This improved competitiveness can increase penetration into existing markets and expand the partners’ reach to compete in novel, non-traditional markets.

These projects are part of the increasing portfolio of NGen-funded advanced manufacturing initiatives under the Canadian Government’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative. Rather than small, incremental improvements to stretch existing manufacturing systems, NGen support and funding allows project teams to reach beyond and rebuild operations that ensure long-term competitiveness.


“Canada’s manufacturing sector is becoming increasingly flexible and technologically advanced, thanks to initiatives such as the Innovation Superclusters,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This NGen project is a great example of how collaboration between research and development experts can give Canadian companies a competitive advantage in global markets. We’re happy to support this once again proudly Canadian company, as it expands its operations in Canada.”

“This project demonstrates the role that NGen can play in facilitating initiatives whose outcomes present a strategic advantage for Canadian Manufacturing,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “Through collaborative partnerships, companies are sharing knowledge and risk, leading to truly transformative outcomes.”

“The Supercluster creates an opportunity for partners to collaborate and learn from shared experience,” said Mike Greenley, CEO, MDA. “NGen support makes possible the ambitious vision of this project that will allow partners to leapfrog ahead of incremental customer requirements to truly lead market demand.”

“NGen support allows for the execution of a larger amount of development than normal operational R&D funds. This type of applied innovation is exactly what we look for to deliver value and exciting innovation to our customers, our employees and our country.” said Jarred Knecht, President, Promark Electronics. “This is critical because projects of this size are more difficult to finance through normal business expenses. Absent the NGen context, the partners would likely continue working in isolation developing incremental improvements year-on-year to keep up with market changes, instead we are taking a giant leap forward”

“For AV&R, this collaboration is a unique opportunity to work with other Canadian companies to develop tomorrow’s manufacturing technologies”, said Jean-François Dupont, AV&R’s CEO. “Industry 4.0, robotics and artificial intelligence are concepts and technologies we integrate in our solutions. With the collaboration of the NGen partners, we will design technologies that will help manufacturers stay competitive.”

About NGen – Next Generation Manufacturing Canada

NGen is the industry-led not-for-profit organization that leads Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster. Its mandate is to help build world-leading advanced manufacturing capabilities in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. NGen works to strengthen collaboration among its membership of more than 3,100 manufacturers, technology companies, innovation centres, and researchers, and provides funding and business support to industry-led initiatives that aim to develop, apply, or scale-up transformative manufacturing solutions in Canada for commercialization in global markets.

About MDA

Serving the world from its Canadian home and global offices, MDA is an international space mission partner and a robotics, satellite systems and geointelligence pioneer with a 50-year story of firsts on and above the Earth. With over 2,000 employees across Canada, the US and the UK, MDA is leading the charge towards viable Moon colonies, enhanced Earth observation, communication in a hyper-connected world, and more. With a track record of making space ambitions come true, MDA enables highly skilled people to continually push boundaries, tackle big challenges, and imagine solutions that inspire and endure to change the world for the better, on the ground and in the stars.

About Promark Electronics

Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Promark Electronics is a state of the art electronics manufacturer, serving OEMs in industries with complex production processes and applications, including E-mobility, Industrial Technology, Medical, Mining, Aerospace, Space and Defense industries.

About AV&R

A leader in industrial automation for 26 years, AV&R is a Canadian robotic engineering company with more than 70 employees. It offers robotics and vision solutions for manufacturers around the world. AV&R designs high-tech robotic systems that have been developed specifically for critical and complex parts such as gas turbine parts or orthopaedic implants. AV&R offers robotic finishing systems (profiling, polishing, deburring) and automated visual inspection systems to manufacturers of aircraft engines, energy turbines or medical implants.

Media contact:

Robbie MacLeod
Director, Strategic Communications
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada

Leslie Swartman

SpaceRef staff editor.