Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

TACAM

Performance Optimization of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines in the Prairies: Kelso Energy LTD.

June 10, 2019

The Opportunity 

Kelso Energy LTD. manufactures vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) that meet the electricity demands of cellphone towers, isolated communities, research centres, agricultural farms, cottages, ranches, and many other unique applications. Operational efficiency of the VAWT requires performance optimization, which is difficult to achieve by field-testing and trial & error approaches. Kelso also experiences significant fabrication problems including inconsistent product quality, longer fabrication times, and laborious design modifications due to lack of a standardized design blueprint. 

CFD data and flow field

The Approach 

Performance optimization of VAWTs is a fluid flow problem, which is usually difficult to replicate using small-scale prototypes in laboratory environments. Kelso collaborated with TACAM on (1) the 3D CAD modeling to create a blueprint, and (2) analyzing various materials-design-fluid flow parameters for performance optimization of the VAWT, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). 

The Outcomes 

TACAM delivered a complete blueprint of the 5 kW VAWT to Kelso Energy in Fall 2017 and delivered final optimized design developed using results from CFD in January 2018. Kelso Energy is currently fabricating the VAWT based on the designs submitted as part of this project. 

The Benefits 

  • Availability of standardized blueprint for product performance analysis and improvement 
  • Significant cost savings of product performance improvement

    Installation of Kelso’s Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Testimonial 

Kelso Energy was very pleased with the professionalism of the Technology Access Centre team. The CFD work and the completed blueprints helped in moving our company forward in performance and promotion of the turbines. Kelso realized a significant increase in the overall power output of the VAWT. This work provided Kelso with a uniform and easy-to-understand set of blueprints used for production and bidding process for components. We realized increased sales and ROI.”

Collaborators

 

Building Stronger Bonds in New Sensors: iders

June 10, 2019

The Opportunity 

Developing robust sensors for harsh environments requires innovation and the opportunity to access emerging technology. Iders Incorporated is developing a new device for measuring structural distortions in rail lines. Fabrication of the device requires the use of advanced welding or joining processes to support dissimilar metal bonds.

Building robust sensors for rail safety

The Approach 

A custom procedure based upon micro-laser welding was developed for fabricating the device. RRC contributed expertise in laser processing of materials and provided direct access to the right laser technology at the CATT Centre. 

The Outcomes 

A number of unique micro laser joints which meet the required performance characteristics were produced in the sensor assembly. Subsequently, several assemblies were fabricated at the CATT Centre as part of Iders pre-production prototyping and field testing programs 

The Benefits 

  • Flexible and responsive access to emerging technology and technical expertise for the project 
  • Reduced cost for process development – absolutely no initial capital cost to Iders 
  • Fabrication of new sensor prototypes without disrupting regular production 

Testimonial

Micro-laser welding to support new sensor development

“RRC’s expertise and capabilities through the CATT Centre allowed us to overcome a significant materials and fabrication problem associated with an advanced sensor we are trying to bring to market. Our technical problem was solved, quickly and efficiently.” 

— David Fletcher, VP and COO, iders 

Collaborator:

Robotic End-of-Arm Tooling for Specific Load Application on Medical Sensor Mats: Vista Medical

May 16, 2019

The Opportunity

Vista Medical manufactures pressure sensors in the form of fabrics and mats for the medical and sports industries. In the case of hospital beds, Vista’s pressure fabrics can help to identify uncomfortable parts of a patient’s body through pressure maps. The pressure maps can then be used to redistribute pressures on the bed for attaining the required comfort level. Vista uses a pressure table connected to a computer software for calibration and pressure verification, where load application is done manually. Vista collaborated with TACAM to develop a robotic solution.

TACAM staff assembling the robotic tooling system

The Approach

A tool system to be used for specific load application on Vista’s sensor mat was designed, fabricated and integrated with the UR10 collaborative robot. This work included 3D CAD design of the end-of-arm tool, tool fabrication and integration, implementation of a load measurement device and testing of the tool at Vista Medical.

The Outcomes

A prototype robotic tool was developed to address the problem of lack of accurate predetermined loads on Vista’s verification system.

The Benefits

  • Improvement in accuracy of calibration and verification process for Medical sensor mats
  • Efficient and reliable product design and testing

Testimonial

 “RRC Team understood the mechanism of the pressure sensor array and was prompt in developing the proof of concept to demonstrate what could be accomplished by using Universal COBOT, an important step in moving forward with automating verification system. “

—Ashok Dhawan P.Eng, Engineering Manager

The project team

Collaborators:

 

 

With support from:

 

Building Repair Welding Capability for MRO Services – CARIC DPHM 711

May 14, 2019

The Opportunity

Selected figures from the DPHM 711 project

At TRL levels 4-6, the CARIC DPHM 711 was a multi-party, 2.5 year-long, $1.4M project. The objective was to determine the suitability of select advanced welding technologies for the repair of Al and Mg alloys for applications in the repair of fan frames, fan cases, and gearbox housing.

Comprehensive research including process development and optimization, metallurgical analysis, and standardized testing efforts was conducted to address the welding challenges leading to quality problems in selected aerospace Al and Mg alloys.

The Approach

CMT and Laser equipment set up and training of key technical staff, initial experimentation to establish process parameter, design of experiment (DOE) and statistical analysis, process optimization, metallurgical, mechanical and corrosion evaluation, and simulated weld repair demonstrations were performed on scrap gearbox housing and engine case.

The Outcomes

Following a comprehensive study, DOE, process optimization, iterative experimentation, quality evaluations, microstructure analysis, mechanical tests, and corrosion studies, simulated weld repair demonstrations were performed on scrap gearbox housing and engine case. 

The Benefits

  • Generation of new innovative processes
  • Improvement in competitiveness and unique MRO services
  • Expanding the frontiers of knowledge in advanced welding

Testimonial

Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) welding in operation

“The DPHM 711 project was StandardAero’s first foray into a CARIC research project. We had a very successful partnership with Red River College and the other project collaborators. The project results will be used for both research reference and strategic repair development planning – allowing us to position ourselves as a market leader in MRO activities.”

— Andrew Harvey C.E.T., Manager, Repair Development Engineering, StandardAero Component Services – Canada

Collaborators

Manitoba and the factory of the future

March 6, 2018

Red River College’s Kevin Dickson in one of the college facilities. Photo: Winnipeg Free Press.

Red River College was featured in the latest issue of Prairie Manufacturer Magazine. The article highlighted how Manitoba is leading the charge in the evolution of advanced manufacturing, and that the College is playing a central role. Read More →

Red River College Awarded Training Contract with 2 Canadian Air Division

February 15, 2018

Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Red River College meet prior to the College delivering specialized training in welding to select RCAF Aircraft Structures Technicians.

Selected candidates of the Royal Canadian Air Force started receiving specialized training in welding starting this February 5 thanks to a new contract awarded to Red River College.
“This is an exciting collaboration for us because we will be working directly with the Royal Canadian Air Force, which is consistent with our mandate to support workforce development for industry” said Oyedele Ola, Manager of the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM) at Red River College. Read More →

TACAM Welcomes Heather Smart

December 15, 2017

The Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) is pleased to welcome Heather Smart to the team. Heather joined our team in the role of Applied Research Professional. 
Heather is a Professional Engineer with over 10 years of experience working as a Production Engineer at StandardAero, where she gained expertise in many forms of engine component repair and inspection methods.
Most recently, Heather earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in the area of Aerospace Materials (Superalloys).
Email: hsmart@rrc.ca