TIMMINS, ON: “Northern College is pleased to see that the Ontario government has recognized the integral role that Ontario’s public colleges play in applied research. The budget announcement of $20 Million will enable colleges to collaborate directly with business and industry to stimulate new research and innovation activities that would otherwise not occur”, said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. Less than 3% of industry have their own internal research and development departments, so government investment into applied research at the college level will help further facilitate and stimulate innovative solutions to real world problems.
Over the past several years Northern College has worked with local and provincial companies to make product and process improvements. As an example, Northern College worked with a Toronto area company to design a clinical study of post-surgical wound healing in canines and felines that provided direct evidence for veterinarians of the efficacy of laser therapy within a context that is directly applicable to them. Research performed with the Vet BioFlex System allowed the company to substantiate its promotional claims with direct evidence, thereby strengthening its position in the market. While laser therapy is used by some veterinarians, the market penetration of this technology is very limited and therefore has a large associated revenue potential. The overall goal of this project was to conduct unbiased clinical research that would result in published articles and content for marketing material for the promotion of the Vet BioFlex System to the veterinary market.
In a second example, Northern College worked with a New Liskeard based manufacturer. One component of their manufacturing process is the saw glue line, a unique machine cell configuration, designed specifically for this local company. As currently implemented, the saw-glue-line relay logic produces a large amount of defective product which is not easily reworked, driving up production costs. Improvement of the machine cell by designing and implementing a PLC based digital logic control system will produce more uniform product and allow the configuration to manufacture new wall and roof sheathing products. The base technology used to enable the upgrade itself is not unique in manufacturing, but given the specialty nature of the saw glue line configuration, the design and implementation of the custom system required expertise not available within commercial companies in the region.
“Through applied research collaborations, Ontario colleges are emerging as innovation catalysts and accelerators, helping Ontario businesses overcome barriers to research and innovation”, said Gibbons.
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