Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

Partnerships

Read about the Smart Factory in Polytechnic Canada’s Applied Research Compendium

November 26, 2019

Polytechnics Canada has recently published a compendium on Applied Research: Building a Stronger Canada, and Red River College’s Smart Factory gets a mention for its value in emerging technologies in metal additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics, autonomous factory vehicles, flexible robotic work cells, industrial automation and networking, and high-speed 3D laser metrology.

View the entire compendium here, and see page 3 for more on Red River College and the Smart Factory.

Register for new webinars from Community-Based Research Canada

July 5, 2019

Are you interested in learning more about developing a co-curricular research shop model? Sign up for the latest webinar from Community-Based Research Canada (CBRC) – a national facilitator for community-based research (CBR) and campus-community engagement in Canada. Here is more information from their website:

“A research shop is a co-curricular post-secondary initiative where student volunteers work on research projects in the community. In the context of funding cuts in post-secondary education, lean and precarious resources for non-profit organizations, and multiple drivers towards experiential education, how does a research shop respond most effectively to community research requests? This webinar will present McMaster University’s experience formalizing its research shop, striving to be sustainable and relevant while balancing community needs and student experiences.”

The webinar takes place on Thursday, July 18 at 11am CST. Register here.

Saving money, saving the planet: RRC’s first Mitacs-funded project takes off at ACE Project Space

May 28, 2019

Matt Schaubroeck is in the business of making buildings smarter. The entrepreneur has teamed up with Red River College (RRC) to develop the software behind ioAirFlow, a product that’s been percolating for the past two years and is now being put into fruition at RRC’s ACE Project Space.

“Essentially, ioAirFlow is a data analysis tool,” says Schaubroeck. “We use big data to determine energy efficiency in commercial buildings.”

Matt Schaubroeck and Xinxin Wei work on the software behind ioAirFlow

ioAirFlow takes the concept of residential smart thermostats and applies it to commercial-industrial buildings. The goal is to make big buildings smarter and greener, with a technology that’s as accessible as possible.

The idea occurred to Schaubroeck when he was working on his MBA in a tech commercialization program. After meeting industry leaders and talking about his idea of a smart thermostat for commercial buildings, Schaubroeck realized there was a real need for the product.

“Everyone wants to save money on energy bills,” he says. “We want to save the planet at the same time.”

The big idea was there. Two years of research and development were in the books – including working with RRC’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) last year, heating up a trailer behind the Notre Dame Campus in order to track temperature and humidity.

Schaubroeck worked alongside Steve Lawrence, Coordinator of the ACE Project Space, on the research proposal. Lawrence is also working as the academic supervisor/advisor for the project.

Earlier this month, the time finally came to put the idea into action. That’s where the ACE Project Space and funding from Mitacs came in, making this the first Mitacs-funded project at RRC.

“We’re thrilled to be the first Mitacs-funded project at ACE Project Space. Mitacs presented themselves as a great option to allow us to get into a space like this,” says Schaubroeck. “It’s such a great opportunity. We wouldn’t be here without their help.”

Mitacs is a national not-for-profit research network that has traditionally funded applied research collaborations at Canadian universities. Last year they began funding colleges, and with former RRC research manager Brent Wennekes taking the lead for Mitacs in Manitoba, RRC was one of the first colleges to sign on as a Mitacs partner institution.

“Mitacs is very pleased to be able to support this partnership with ioAirFlow with funding for their talented research intern,” says Wennekes. “RRC has been a national college leader in applied research for many years, and ACE Project Space has established itself as a key player in Winnipeg’s start-up community. Our program is perfect for start-up companies and with ACE, you get not only talent, but office space as well!”

Along with Xinxin Wei, a Business Information Technology (BIT) student from RRC, and the third member of their team, Amanda San Filippo, Schaubroeck is now working on the software, crunching the numbers on the program’s back-end.

“The big problem with energy efficiency is you have to be an expert to use it. The front end of this system is going to make it as easy to understand as possible,” he says. “We’re working with building owners to understand what they care about and how it’s going to make a difference.”

While the whole team had to face the challenge of learning the complicated technical language of the software programming, Xinxin Wei had to face the additional challenges of honing his English language skills and navigating a new country. The international student has just finished his first year of the BIT program and is thrilled to be working on ioAirFlow.

“I don’t have any experience in Canada,” says Wei. “The most important part for me is working with a real Canadian employer. I’ve been learning how to work with others, and the whole experience is very great.”

The team hopes to have the program off the ground by this fall. For more information on ioAirFlow, please visit their website.

BETAC in the news: Journal of Commerce

February 13, 2019

Red River College’s Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) was in the news this week, with a mention in the Journal of Commerce by ConstructConnect. The article highlights BETAC’s partnership with SMT Research Ltd. to monitor the health of the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre as it was being built.

“SMT partnered with Red River College’s (RRC) Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) to monitor the structural health of the Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC) as it was being built on the RRC Notre Dame campus in Winnipeg.

Structural health monitoring helps to ensure that new buildings are energy-efficient, durable and perform as expected.

BETAC and SMT installed a wide network of sensors throughout the building as it was under construction.

A total of seven different building envelope types were instrumented throughout the exterior building envelope, as well as the roof and green roof assemblies.

The effectiveness of the STTC’s building envelope, which helps protect its occupants from the extremes of Winnipeg’s climate, will continue to be monitored in real time.”

Read the full article here.

The Dust Stops Here: Dust Control Demonstration with Cypher Environmental

October 24, 2018

A new dust control product has been put to the test on an unpaved gravel compound at Red River College’s (RRC) Notre Dame Campus. Dust Stop Municipal Blend (DSMB) was created in 2016 by Winnipeg-based company Cypher Environmental as an eco-friendly solution to reduce fugitive dust on unpaved roads. The product is the result of a partnership with RRC, as students, faculty, and Cypher staff – many of whom are RRC grads – developed the product using the College’s expertise and facilities.

DSMB was applied to a large storage yard on campus, where heavy equipment is often moved in and out of a nearby building. It was important to limit the amount of dust exposure and tracking inside the building, to reduce contamination and damage to the valuable equipment inside. Despite a hot, dry summer and a cold, wet autumn, the yard has remained stable and dust-free since the application.

The product formula was produced in a joint Applied Research Project, with the help of NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) and IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program), and involved significant in-kind contribution from Cypher. The result was a great success, not only on-campus but worldwide: DSMB was commercialized in 2017 and is now sold and applied in more than 20 countries around the world.

About the product:

Dust Stop Municipal Blend is an environmentally-friendly, non-corrosive road treatment product that can be used to control excess dust and remove moisture from roadways. Comprised of sugars and starches, DSMB is an eco-friendly alternative to road salts such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride. Since the product is non-toxic, it poses no risks to roadside vegetation and the lack of toxic salts means it will not cause rust on cars. DSMB maintains the integrity of the material it’s added to, and is a cost-effective, non-corrosive, biodegradable and concentrated enough to be shipped globally. Find more information at cypherenvironmental.com.

Girl Guides Join Event on Increasing Participation of Women in Engineering

March 21, 2018

One of the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing‘s (TACAM) newest team members, Heather Smart, helped inspire the next generation of engineers at an event this past November.
The Committee for Increasing Participation of Women in Engineering (CIPWIE) hosted Manitoba’s inaugural Engineering Badge Day for Girl Guides on November 12, 2017. The half-day event was enthusiastically attended by over 90 girls of the Girl Guide age group (age 9-11) and approximately 20 Guide leaders.
Heather helped with the event and wrote a summary of the event in The Keystone Professional 2018 Spring issue. View the full issue HERE.