Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing - A Model for Rural Business Development
Alberta : Red Deer College
The resources needed to grow and develop a business, including service and innovation support are not readily accessible to rural businesses or are prohibitively expensive. To address this challenge, Red Deer College, with funding support from Western Economic Diversification Canada, built the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing, which is part of the College’s Applied Research and Innovation Department. The Centre is a facility equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment to support the design and development of new products and prototypes.
Producing prototypes is only a small part of how the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing supports smaller businesses. The Centre can train business owners on new equipment and techniques so that they can expand into new markets. Red Deer College’s creation of the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing, paired with the College’s extensive trades and technology programs, is a solution for sustaining and developing business and manufacturing in the rural environment and may be a model worth repeating across Canada to foster growth in rural communities.
“The resources needed to grow and develop a business, including services and innovation support that are often close at hand for businesses and manufacturers in larger cities, are often far enough away from rural businesses that the costs to engage such services are prohibitive.”
- Mark Burggren, Board Member, Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Association (CARMA)
College helps Better Made Wheelchairs
Alberta : Red Deer College
Red Deer College’s (RDC) Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing has helped a local wheelchair company develop a new brake system. When Bob Radgowski, owner of Red Deer-based Better Made Wheelchairs, wanted to develop a new type of braking system for a wheelchair, he was prepared to create a CAD file by measuring every piece by hand. Fortunately, a chance meeting with Mark Burggren, who worked with the RDC Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing, saved Radgowski a huge amount of time and effort.
Mr. Radgowski is a wheelchair user himself. Being able to get the parts scanned significantly shortened the amount of time it took to have a CAD file ready to send to a product developer. “I would have had to draw all the parts manually. It definitely shortened up the time and it was a fraction of the time I would have had to spend re-creating it on a computer,” Radgowski said. Mark Burggren was eager to try out two new tools, a laser scan arm and a handheld laser scanner, both can turn physical parts into computer models quickly and efficiently.
At the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing, companies can move forward quickly with new products through services such laser scanning, design engineering and prototyping.
Through ongoing collaboration with the college, Mr. Radgowski hopes he can bring more products to market with the assistance of the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing.
- Manufacturing Colleges, Institutes