Additive manufacturing has been noted as a top transformative technology over the past few years, but the technology has not yet been widely adopted in Alberta at present. There are
many reasons for this delay, which include:
- Lower capital availability;
- Perception that manufacturing is not a viable or ‘high tech’ industry;
- Fear of job losses due to adoption of automation;
- Industry inertia and lower risk tolerance Canadian companies
The AAMN was established as an industry-led network in order to bring together local industry with Alberta post-secondary institutions, research organizations, and to provide services for Alberta companies wanting to pursue additive manufacturing technologies.
Looking into the future:
The AAMN is the hub that supports Alberta companies to design, procure and sell products with enhanced performance. The network is a mechanism to share best practices and experiences to advance additive manufacturing provincially, with a global impact. The network would help companies explore AM as a design tool for their business and train their staff to grow competency in the AM field. Once a product is ready to be manufactured, the primary objective established within the network is that there will be a local manufacturing base ready to meet the needs for this type of advanced manufacturing. The network identifies the needs required by Alberta companies in the field of additive manufacturing and if they were being met within Alberta or externally. The network also supports development of strong business cases such that industry in Alberta could deploy additive manufacturing technologies.
What does manufacturing using Industry 4.0 look like? How does Alberta be competitive on the global stage? How do we collaborate and partner to create and develop the technologies needed for Alberta to succeed in the future? The AAMN will be the facilitator for Alberta companies to come together and solve these problems. Digital representation of potential advanced manufacturing facility courtesy of InnoTech Alberta.
Based on industry needs, the network provides a platform to identify important and shared issues for manufacturers, fabricators, equipment suppliers, end users, learners and academics.
The network performs many roles, including:
- Advising government bodies of challenges faced by Alberta’s manufacturing sector;
- Advising government of the potential role AM could play in significant new projects or STEM related programs
- Mapping access to key technology in Province and provide strategic direction for areas of growth;
- Identifying opportunities to leverage and collaborate in funding proposals;
- Providing collaborations between industry and universities and colleges such that research areas of interest by industry can be directly supported;
- Connecting interested companies to network members such that the company can be supported to determine the potential of a company to adopt AM technologies;
- Staying current with additive manufacturing activities provincially and nationally;
- Ensuring the network is represented at trade shows and relevant conferences;
- Organizing training sessions to increase awareness of 3D printing opportunities, offer continuous learning workshops to train potential users and management;
- Ensuring AM users have access to services throughout the Province, including industrial grade equipment and high level expertise.
- Helping showcase the AM sector in Alberta on a local, regional and global stage.