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Research Partnerships & Innovation

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The Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Technology Conference: Driving Innovation in Manitoba

January 21, 2022

In 2019, RRC Polytech’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) hosted the inaugural Vehicle Technology Conference. This past December 7 and 8, 2021, VTEC collaborated with industry partner, Vehicle Technology Centre Inc. (VTC), to host the Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Technology Conference at the Victoria Inn & Convention Centre, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The conference showcased heavy vehicle and tech expertise in the province and aimed to connect key industry players and academic institutions. The overarching goal of the conference is to support Manitoba’s position as a hub for emerging vehicle technology and innovation, through creating new connections and cross collaborations.

“Manitoba is home to a unique concentration of heavy vehicle and equipment manufacturers. We are home to North America’s largest city and highway bus manufacturer, Canada’s only four-wheel drive tractor manufacturer, the country’s largest manufacturers of fire trucks, agricultural equipment, and motorhomes. The province also has a host of businesses manufacturing truck trailers, airport runway cleaning equipment, electric municipal vehicles as well as a supply and academic community that supports our growth,” said Ron Vanderwees, President of VTC, a non-for-profit organization that helps accelerate growth and technology adoption of the local heavy vehicle and equipment cluster.

“Many of us are on a similar technology path and the Conference is a platform to informally share knowledge or formally collaborate to help our cluster stay ahead of the curve and be leaders amongst world-wide competition.”

“RRC Polytech aims to drive growth in Manitoba’s heavy vehicle and equipment cluster by working alongside industry partners to solve real-world challenges. Through applied research projects, we continue to build our capabilities with zero-emission vehicle technology and provide invaluable work-integrated experience for our students, the next generation of innovators,” said Jojo Delos Reyes, Research Program Manager, VTEC.

Day one of the Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Technology Conference. Pictured on stage: Ron Vanderwees of VTC.

Guests joined the hybrid event in person and virtually through Zoom for forward-thinking sessions from local subject matter experts and presenters joining from across North America. The conference gave a look into “what’s next” in the industry and focused on top-of-mind areas, including hydrogen fuel cell technology, smart, connected and autonomous vehicles, augmented reality to support production, and much more.

Paul Soubry, President and CEO of NFI Group gave the keynote presentation, “Maintaining Product Segment Leadership in Markets with Rapidly Evolving Technology,” followed by a fireside chat with RRC Polytech President and CEO, Fred Meier.

On the second day of the conference, John Gunter, President and CEO, and Tye Noble, Lead Engineer, of Frontiers North Adventures, shared their experiences from the Electric Vehicle (EV) Tundra Buggy prototype, a collaborative electrification project with VTC, VTEC and support from the Government of Manitoba’s Conservation and Climate Fund.

Select presentations from the conference are available to view on vtci.ca under the “Webinars & Technical Papers” section.

The Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Technology Conference was made possible thanks to the support of our sponsors:

Save the date: The Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Technology Conference will be returning live from Winnipeg, Manitoba in Fall/Winter 2023. Dates to be announced in early 2023.

For enquiries about the 2023 conference or how your organization can participate, please contact VTEC or VTCI for more information.

Keeping it tight: BETAC is ready to meet the growing need for building air tightness testing

January 6, 2022

Red River College Polytechnic’s (RRC Polytech) Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) is clearing a whole lot of air these days. Using high-powered fans and specialized equipment, researchers are pressurizing and depressurizing buildings of all sizes to find out where they leak, and help builders, engineers and property owners meet rising standards of energy efficiency.

The value of whole building air tightness tests like these have long been recognized for residential properties. New codes, policies and regulations may soon pump up demand for testing on commercial buildings, too – and so far, BETAC is the only organization with the skills, expertise and equipment to offer them in Manitoba.

“We’re looking forward to playing a greater role helping our community make buildings that are more durable and sustainable to operate, especially as we adapt to a future that places higher premiums on energy efficiency,” says Rob Spewak, BETAC’s business development manager.

Breathing new life into old buildings

The need for a more energy-efficient building stock is especially acute in Winnipeg, which boasts a relatively high proportion of heritage buildings. In September, for instance, BETAC completed an air tightness test at Gordon Bell High School, whose building features walls and mechanical systems are more than 50 years old. The results will provide insights into the most cost-effective measures for reducing energy usage when Gordon Bell undergoes an upcoming renovation.

Chris Buzunis, the Province of Manitoba’s Senior Energy Engineer and project manager for the Gordon Bell retrofit, says BETAC’s pre- and post-renovation air tightness testing has proven valuable on many projects like this.

“It helps identify problem areas to address at the start of a project and has also been a fantastic quality control tool when construction is complete. We have identified many deficiencies that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.”

BETAC will perform a post-renovation test on the school to validate the airtightness improvements and identify any problem areas before the building goes back into service. The goal of the renovation is to reduce energy costs by 50 per cent.

“Gordon Bell isn’t that different from many other schools in our city,” says Spewak, “so what we can measure and learn from here will help us devise guides to help other schools retrofit their building envelopes.”

It isn’t just schools BETAC hopes to help, he adds.

“Our goal in the next few years is to reach out to more private sector partners to show them what is achievable with a tighter building envelope. For one thing, the knowledge we provide leads to better decision-making. It’s a simple equation of investing now to save later.”

Putting your building to the test

Buildings that leak air cost more to heat and maintain. Up to 40 per cent of the cost of heating can come from air leakage, “so it absolutely impacts the bottom line.”

But in cold-climate regions, a leaky building envelope can result in up to six months of structural freezing and thawing, rusting metal, rotting wood, and expanding cracks, compromising the building’s durability as well. Even in warmer climates, leakage allows moisture-laden air to infiltrate or exfiltrate a building envelope. Air tightness can also affect noise levels and the comfort of a building’s occupants.

“Sealing the leaks may save you money and extend your building’s lifespan,” says Spewak. “But first you have to find the leaks, which often turn up in unexpected places you can’t find just by looking.”

BETAC offers a variety of non-destructive tests that target specific building sizes and challenges. The process usually starts with a walkthrough to assess door locations, HVAC intake and exhaust grills, power supply, and whether the building can be isolated.

Pictured: Blower door fan setup at Gordon Bell High School.

During the test itself, powerful fans pressurize and depressurize the building, while equipment measures how much air is moved into or out of the building and tracks the corresponding pressure difference across the building enclosure. 

The results of the envelop test speak to the general durability of the building, and the continuity and performance of the air barrier. A second set of tests, conducted with all intentional openings left open, measures the energy performance of the building more directly. At this stage, testers may deploy smoke pencils and infrared thermography cameras to identify specific air leakage pathways.

All together, these tests can take anywhere from several hours to three days, depending on the size and complexity of the building. The results deliver quantifiable data that can help owners of existing buildings locate problem areas and determine the costs and benefits of a retrofit. For new buildings, a final air tightness test can complement air leakage testing performed throughout construction.

A track record of success

BETAC has been researching air tightness and methods of testing it since a 2012 pilot project, which means the partners who turn to BETAC for air tightness testing engage some of the province’s leading expertise in the field.

Between 2012 and 2014, with the support of Manitoba Hydro and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, a total of 26 commercial buildings in Manitoba were tested for airtightness.

BETAC has also completed air testing research projects for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and, more recently, for Fort Whyte Alive, to measure the air tightness of an interpretive centre before and after a retrofit.

This same air tightness testing service used at Gordon Bell High School was also recently completed on the BMO Bank of Montreal building in downtown Winnipeg. BETAC plans on performing this testing for Manitou a bi Bii Daziigae (formerly known as the Innovation Centre project) soon.

Spewak says demand for tests like these will only increase as more cities and governments incorporate air tightness and energy efficiency into their building codes and green mandates. In addition to air leak testing, BETAC has committed to ongoing public outreach efforts to share the findings of its research. The results of BETAC’s work will inform the Province of Manitoba’s Green Building Policy and low carbon initiatives.

The Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) supports the building industry by helping clients address the challenges of designing and constructing durable, energy-efficient building envelopes, components and assembly in an environment with extreme conditions. Its core purpose is to support the needs of those involved in the design, construction, renovation, commissioning and maintenance of a building’s envelope.

Jojo Delos Reyes elected to the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association board

September 17, 2021

Congratulations to Jose (Jojo) Delos Reyes, Program Manager, Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI) at Red River College on being elected to the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association 2021-22 board.

Jojo Delos Reyes, Program Manager, Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC

Delos Reyes has been part of the RPI group at the College for over a decade, and oversees applied research projects, specially focusing on the shift to electrification and alternative fuel sources.

Most recently, Delos Reyes oversaw the Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre’s (VTEC) involvement in the Electric Vehicle (EV) Tundra Buggy project, with Frontiers North Adventures, a leading tourism provider in Manitoba.

Delos Reyes also sits on the board for the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI), a non-profit organization that supports technological advancement within Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing industry.

Going electric in the sub-Arctic: The EV Tundra Buggy project

September 16, 2021

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Tundra Buggy was more than three years in the making for Frontiers North Adventures (Frontiers North), a certified B Corporation® and leader in sustainable travel.

The EV Tundra Buggy is a proof-of-concept project that engaged several partners, including Red River College’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC), and was made possible in part by support from the Vehicle Technology Centre (VTCI) and funding from the Province of Manitoba’s new Climate and Conservation Grant.

Frontiers North’s goal of converting a Tundra Buggy® in their touring fleet from diesel-powered to battery electric was two-fold: to lessen their environmental footprint and reduce sound pollution across Manitoba’s sub-Arctic.

“Our company’s purpose is all about stewardship, and positively contributing to our communities and the environment,” said John Gunter, President and CEO, Frontiers North.

“By starting the conversion of our fleet with this first EV Tundra Buggy, Frontiers North is taking meaningful steps towards reducing our GHG emissions and creating new clean tech jobs.”

RRC’s involvement in the EV Tundra Buggy prototype commenced in early 2021. The opportunity to assist Frontiers North and project partners with testing and validating the Tundra Buggy conversion to battery-electric, meant leveraging the expertise of VTEC researchers, engineers, and technicians. It also provided the opportunity for RRC students in the Electrical Engineering Technology program to put their applied learning into practice, taking batteries provided by New Flyer Industries, and repurposing them for use in the EV Tundra Buggy.

A major component of the conversion to electric is providing training, specifically on safety procedures. Building upon past electric vehicle projects, VTEC provided training materials on safe handling and operation of the repurposed batteries.

VTEC’s role in EV Tundra Buggy project highlights the College’s commitment to supporting local industry integrate new technologies through its dynamic research facilities.

“The EV Tundra Buggy is a quintessential made-in-Manitoba story. The project has links to conservation, tourism, and environmental stewardship, highlighting the ability of industry partnerships to create positive impact in Manitoba, for Manitobans, through reducing environmental impacts and benefitting our local economy,” said Dr. Simon Potter, Director, Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College.

The EV Tundra buggy is estimated to reduce Frontiers North’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide during this autumn polar bear touring season. With the goal of converting their Tundra Buggy fleet to electric by 2030, Frontiers North is paving the way to further promote sustainable tourism, while continuing to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for guests.

The EV Tundra Buggy was recently unveiled by Frontiers North and RRC at the College’s Vehicle Technology & Research Centre. Click here to watch the event recording.

RRC receives grant to support building performance project for long-term care housing

September 14, 2021

Red River College (RRC) has received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grant.

The grant supports a three-year project led by RRC’s Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) to provide building performance evaluations (BPE) and post-occupancy evaluations (POE) for existing and new long-term care homes (LTCHs) in Manitoba.

The built environment is a contributing factor for health outcomes, for example, poor air quality can be detrimental for people living with respiratory conditions. Additionally, poor air circulation can be connected to the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on long-term care residents, highlights underlying issues and the need to re-think the design, construction, and operation of LTCHs.

With approximately 10,000 residents currently living in LTCHs in the province – and the number of long-term care beds required in Manitoba projected to drastically increase by 2035 – the building performance project is an important initiative that will help inform critical improvements, impacting lives of long-term care residents.

“Students from RRC’s Nursing, Architectural Engineering Technology and Construction Management programs are working in tandem with industry partners, which gives them a unique opportunity to develop their skillsets as they relate to industry and other program areas,” says Arnold Boldt, Executive Director, Academic, Red River College.

“The project not only provides students with applied knowledge for their future careers, but students are also getting the opportunity to help improve the lives of older adults in the community.”

The project has a strong interdisciplinary approach, engaging local industry partners – Efficiency MB, fT3 Architecture, MMP Architects Inc., and the University of Manitoba – alongside BETAC and RRC students. The interdisciplinary team is undertaking BPE, POE as well as using qualitative measures, including resident surveys, to determine perceived quality of life in the built environment.

The project brings to light the challenges of a global aging population, and how it relates directly to residents in LTCHs in Manitoba.

“The College and Community Innovation program provides innovative solutions for local and regional challenges through the expertise of Canadian colleges. On behalf of the Tri-agency, I would like to congratulate all college recipients and their industry and community partners who provide social, economic and environmental benefits to communities of all sizes across the country,” says Alejandro Adem, President, Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada.

BETAC staff, industry partners, and RRC students are currently working on the first phase of the building performance project. In addition to BPE, the project also uses POE, an area where there’s currently a lack of data for LTCHs, helping generate benchmarks.

The project’s reach will extend beyond provincial borders, through building awareness and sharing findings at national conferences and online webinars.

Powered by Plants: The Prairie Plant Protein Project

September 8, 2021

Products featuring plant-based proteins continue to pop up on grocery shelves everywhere – from cashew-based, non-dairy cheese to a plethora of plant-based beverages to jackfruit jerky and much more. The market for plant-based food products is growing and the Prairie Research Kitchen is at the pulse of new innovations.

The Prairies are home to an abundance of pulses – creating a rich opportunity for research centred on new ingredient applications and product developments. Over the past two years, the Prairie Research Kitchen, in collaboration with local and national partners, has continued to pave the way for pulses as the star ingredient in plant-based food products.

The Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK) collaborated with the University of Manitoba’s Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, as well as the ARD-Food Development Centre (ARD-FDC) – in partnership with funding from the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG), Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) and Ag Action Manitoba – to research new, innovative applications for Prairie plant proteins, including a variety of pulses, soybeans, and hemp.

The primary goal of the research project, entitled: Development of value-added food platform technologies using plant-based protein sources including bean, soy and hemp (The Prairie Plant Protein Project), was to discover novel plant-protein sources that function as protein extenders or replacers.

Project objectives also included fostering partnerships to integrate applied and culinary research into Manitoba’s research network; demonstrating new plant-based protein options for Canadian consumers, sourced from Manitoba and throughout the country; and helping increase and diversify the range of foods Canadians eat, highlighting the versatility of plant-protein sources.

The first phase of the Prairie Plant Protein Project involved assessing the macro-nutrients, specifically the proteins present, at the University of Manitoba’s Food and Human Nutritional Sciences lab. Outcomes indicated that fava beans had a good profile for making tofu, which helped shape the focus on the protein blends developed throughout the course of the project.

Next, researchers at ARD-FDC extracted the proteins from the Prairie pulses, coagulating them to form curds. The curds were then formed into tofu-like blocks. The intent for the new-style, or “nouveau tofu” was to incorporate into various food product applications to replace animal ingredients, or to complement and/or increase nutritional value.

The novel plant protein sources were tested to determine their unique nutritional profiles, with the end goal of combining amino acids from pulses, soybeans, and hemp to create complete protein sources.

Testing was completed to validate the increase in nutritional profiles of combining plant-protein sources, for example, soy-hemp tofu.

After developing several varieties of nouveau tofu, including a new take on traditional soy tofu, Prairie Research Kitchen’s chefs transformed the Prairie plant protein sources into food applications.

The culmination of research and culinary art comes together in a cookbook, Pulse of the Prairies: A Culinary Celebration of Manitoba’s Plant Proteins. Throughout the cookbook’s pages, you’ll see recipes such as Smoky Red Pepper Non-Dairy Cheese made from fava hemp tofu and Tofu Taquitos (see recipe below) made from dehydrated and reconstituted fava hemp soy tofu. In addition to nouveau tofu, the cookbook also features recipes made from navy bean plant-based milk and okara, the starchy by-product of coagulating the plant proteins into curds.

The Pulse of the Prairies cookbook highlights the exceptional nature of resources, crops, and food ingredients combined with the skills and expertise of our province’s research community, demonstrating exciting opportunities for Manitoba plant proteins. Overall, the project helped build platforms for knowledge and technology to showcase how plant-based protein can be used in food systems in Manitoba, nation-wide, and beyond. Manitoba pulses are functional ingredients that can be used to meet growing consumer trends – our Manitoba research network and the Prairie Research Kitchen can help businesses apply and integrate plant-based proteins.

– Heather Hill, Research Manager, Prairie Research Kitchen

Tofu Taquito Recipe

Tofu Taquitos
Yield: 6 taquitos

IngredientMassVolume
DEHYDRATED FAVA HEMP SOY TOFU  
Fava Hemp Soy Tofu, firm454 g1 pound
   
TOFU TAQUITOS  
Fava Hemp Soy Tofu, dehydrated crumbles35 g1/2 cup
Water, hot (95°C)60 g1/4 cup
Canola oil5 g1 tsp
Onion, minced12 g1 tbsp
Garlic, minced5 g1 tsp
Cumin2.5 g1/2 tsp
Paprika1.25 g1/4 tsp
Coriander1.25 g1/4 tsp
Chipotle pepper, minced25 g1 whole
Adobo sauce10 g2 tsp
Salt3.5 g1/2 tsp
Mozzarella, grated60 g1/2 cup
Corn tortillas 6

Method

Dehydrated Tofu:

  1. Freeze tofu until solid.
  2. Thaw tofu and drain off all excess water.
  3. Crumble tofu into pea-sized crumbles. Using a dehydrator, dehydrate crumbles at 63 C/145 F for 10-12 hours until crumbles are completely dry.
  4. Store in an airtight container.

Tofu Taquito:

  1. In a small bowl, add hot (simmering) water to dehydrated tofu crumbles, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine all seasonings and spices.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add oil. Once oil is hot, add onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic, seasoning mix, chopped chipotle and adobo sauce. Sauté for 1 more minute and then add hydrated tofu.
  4. Sauté tofu mixture for 1-2 minutes until hot and just starting to get brown, crispy edges. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Remove from heat and pour mixture into a bowl to cool for 5-10 minutes. It should be cool enough that the cheese does not melt when you mix it in.
  6. Add grated mozzarella to slightly cooled tofu mixture and stir until well combined. You may want to add 1-2 tsp of water to moisten mixture. You should be able to form it with your hand, so it doesn’t fall out of the shell during the filling/rolling step.
  7. Heat oven to 400 F. Using a non-stick skillet, over high heat, add 1-2 tsp of oil. Once oil is hot, gently lay in 1 corn tortilla for about 5 seconds, and then flip, swirling to coat the tortilla with the hot oil. This helps to soften the tortilla for easier rolling as well as crisping up during the baking process. You may need to add more oil as it coats the shells.
  8. Carefully remove the tortilla and add 1/6 of the filling (or desired amount) to the bottom third of the tortilla. Tightly roll up the taquito and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan, seal side down. You may need to use a toothpick to seal if the taquito rolls open on its own.
  9. Repeat until all the filling is used up.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are crispy and cheese is melty. Serve with sour cream and fresh salsa.

Note: Adjust the amount of cheese as desired. For added flavour, bulk, and nutrition, add minced green peppers and mushrooms to your sauté mix before filling!

This is a great option that will be loved by both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

To request a copy of The Pulse of the Prairies: A Culinary Celebration of Manitoba’s Plant Proteins cookbook please contact the Prairie Research Kitchen.

Get Smart(er): College-Industry Innovation Fund grant to enhance RRC’s Smart Factory

July 27, 2021

Researchers and students will gain new opportunities for learning and to innovate at Red River College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), and in turn, support Manitoba industry to access, test and integrate emerging technologies.

RRC is one of 15 colleges and cégeps announced this week by the Federal Government receiving a College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) grant through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure projects. The grant supports the enhancement of TACAM’s Smart Factory, an applied research space, experiential learning facility, and technology demonstration site.

The Smart Factory enhancement enables the College to grow its capabilities to support Manitoba industry in aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors, by expanding metals additive manufacturing capabilities, application-based robotics, composite manufacturing capabilities, and industrial network infrastructure. For example, application-based systems for post-production grinding and finishing as well as mobile factory robots and autonomous ground vehicles to facilitate material handling, can help industry boost their productivity by reducing laborious manual tasks.

Through applied research projects at Smart Factory, enterprises of all sizes can work with RRC researchers and students to find solutions to business-specific as well as larger industry challenges.

“Investments in applied research are critical in helping the College continue to support industry with opportunities to evaluate and integrate emerging technologies, improving their productivity and competitive edge,” says Simon Potter, Director of Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College. “They are also paramount to enriching our learning environment, exposing students to leading-edge technology and providing industry experience, in preparation for the workforce.”

Students in the Aerospace Manufacturing Technology program will have access to new technologies at the Smart Factory and Stevenson Aviation Campus to participate in capstone projects, classroom training, and direct engagement in industry research projects

Over time, knowledge generated collaboratively by industry, researchers and students will inform training and academic curricula, ensuring the next generation of RRC grads are not only  job-ready for their future careers, but ahead of the curve.

“Bringing industry partners together with researchers and students in spaces equipped with technology’s latest tools is a recipe for innovation and economic growth. This investment will enable bright ideas to be tested, applied and developed into new businesses in labs that have collaboration and partnerships at their core. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is proud to contribute to Canada’s future by supporting our extraordinary colleges, institutes and cégeps,” says Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Investments in RRC’s Smart Factory open up opportunities to support the province’s advanced manufacturing (AM) agenda through the Advanced Manufacturing Coalition as well as RRC’s aerospace roadmap, helping maintain Manitoba’s position as one of Canada’s AM hubs.

The College, alongside local and national partners, will fill identified gaps to enhance the capacity of RRC to respond to industry’s need for innovation support and workforce development.

CFI grants support applied research projects at Canadian colleges and cégeps, by providing funding for facilities, equipment and infrastructure. These investments allow colleges to expand their capabilities and advance innovation in their region and Canada-wide. The CFI funding awarded will foster and further strengthen industry partnerships, providing Canadian businesses access to technology, knowledge and expertise to stay future-focused.

The almost $900,000 CFI grant to enhance the Smart Factory marks a major contribution to the larger $2.5M project of expanding TACAM research facilities at RRC’s Notre Dame and Stevenson Aviation Campuses.

Testing Artspan Inc.’s one-step building envelope solution

July 5, 2021

Artspan Inc. (Artspan) is a company based out of Winkler, MB, that designs, manufactures, and distributes structurally insulated panels (SIP). Artspan provides a one-step building envelope solution for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

The company had previously conducted airtightness testing on completed houses, thermal testing on its insulation foam, and a variety of fire and structural testing. The Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) at Red River College performed further testing through an Engage Grant project, with financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The Engage Grant project with Artspan took place between 2018 and 2020, with the objective of conducting a performance assessment of the company’s panelized system and window installation details. Testing was broken down into three parts: air leakage and water penetration, air tightness and energy modelling, and thermal performance assessment.

Air Leakage and Water Penetration Testing

Air-Water-Structural (AWS) Test Chamber

Air-Water-Structural (AWS) Test Chamber

As mentioned, Artspan had previously conducted tests on its structurally insulated panels; However, testing of the panel joints (wall-to-floor, panel-to-panel, and floor-to-ceiling) and the window-wall interfaces had been limited. Resistance to air and water infiltration at these points is critical in cold and mixed climate zones, with regards to the building envelopes’ durability and its energy efficiency.

Experimental testing took place in the RRC Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI), using the Air-Water-Structural (AWS) Test Chamber, to conduct air leakage and water penetration testing on three test walls.

Air Tightness Testing and Energy Modelling

The project also included a whole building air leakage test and energy modelling of the Artspan office building, located in Winkler, MB.

The overall objectives of the tests were two-fold:
a) To measure the airtightness of the office building built with Artspan SIP panels both during and post-construction.
b) To expand the general knowledge base on the airtightness characteristics of commercial-style buildings in Manitoba.

Air leakage in a building can never be eliminated. However, it can be managed and controlled within limits to minimize several potential issues, including:

  • Excessive energy costs, for both heating and cooling.
  • Poor occupant comfort – cold drafts, poor air quality, and inadequate temperature control.
  • Negative impacts upon the HVAC system which can degrade its efficiency.
  • Damage to the building and its component materials from moisture-related mechanisms of deterioration.

BETAC’s research personnel conducted the Standard Test Method for Measuring the Air Leakage Rate of a Large or Multizone Building, with two airtightness tests using the Envelope Protocol. The first test was conducted during construction – building was near completion with installed windows, drywall, and HVAC. The second airtightness test was conducted once the building had been completed, transported to its location, and was occupied.

Test results of the Artspan Inc. office building air tightness and energy modelling were plotted alongside values for various new and existing commercial buildings in Manitoba.

Thermal Performance Assessment

The final portion of the Artspan project was conducting a thermal performance assessment of the insulation used in their SIP. The purpose of this testing was to compare results from newly produced samples (one month) to aged samples (six years).

Four samples were provided for thermal testing – two aged for one month, and two aged for six years. The Netzsch Heat Flow Meter was used to test the panel foam by determining the thermal resistance of each insulation sample.

After the Engage Grant project was complete, BETAC research staff had an Interactive Visit with Artspan to conduct additional thermal testing on different versions of their panel foam.

Reinventing the irrigation system wheel

June 25, 2021

Typically, agricultural irrigation systems use wheels with a steel rim and an air-filled rubber tire. As with most rubber tires, they are prone to losing air pressure, wearing out, and cracking over time. Rubber tire wheels are also difficult and time consuming to replace on large irrigation systems, causing significant downtime while the equipment is under repair.

Cascade Manufacturing (Cascade), located in MacGregor, Manitoba, designs and fabricates agricultural irrigation products, and saw an opportunity to improve the traditional irrigation system wheel. After creating a prototype for a low-maintenance, all-steel bolted wheel, Cascade worked with the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) at Red River College to perform a design review to identify and address high mechanical stress areas and potential points of failure.

In order to perform the review, Cascade provided 3D CAD files of their newly designed bolted wheel to TACAM for analysis. The TACAM research team used in-house expertise in 3D modelling and finite element analysis (FEA) to evaluate the stresses throughout the wheel in accordance with design allowable limits.

Cascade used the recommendations provided to redesign the bolted wheel and engaged TACAM to re-evaluate the new design for verification purposes. TACAM provided recommendations for design improvement and cost reduction based on findings. The original bolted wheel failed under 10,000 load cycles, versus the newly designed bolted wheel is expected to last more than 200,000 cycles. The improved bolted wheel design is currently being manufactured and promoted for local and export sales.

Bolted wheel on irrigation equipment

The newly designed bolted wheel in action!

Key project benefits:

• Cost-effective design evaluation and product improvement

• Attained confidence in the load-bearing capacity of a new product being introduced to the market

• Enhanced competitiveness and innovation, and potential for an increased local and international customer base

 

 

 

 

If not for our experience with TACAM, we likely wouldn’t have determined that the grade of steel used on our wheels was prone to low cycle fatigue. With TACAM’s expertise on how to minimize stress concentration points, we were able to produce a bolted wheel with thinner grade material than we thought possible. The FEA study they conducted determined that the stresses are within tolerance, which gave us confidence to manufacture and test the product in field conditions. Overall, we are very satisfied with the results from the bolted wheel project with TACAM. -Matt Waldner, Cascade Manufacturing

The bolted wheel projected received support from:

Let the good times roll: Hudson Bagels brings big city bagels to Winnipeg

June 22, 2021

The concept behind the West Broadway bagel shop, Hudson Bagels, is something owners Jessica Wylychenko and Chris Silva had been joking about for several years. In their travels to larger cities, they always found themselves searching for the best bagel spot.

“Bagels weren’t something that we ate regularly. It was more so hunting down the best bagel Montreal or New York had to offer and experiencing the vibe of the shop,” says Jessica Wylychenko, owner of Hudson Bagels.

One Sunday while they were enjoying a coffee along Sherbrook Street, Chris and Jessica noticed a for lease sign on 79 Sherbrook. A couple days later, they toured the space and shortly thereafter signed a lease for August 1, 2020.

The duo already knew exactly how they wanted the space to feel but they faced one major obstacle: a product. With three months of renovations and a November 2020 opening date, they needed to scale-up their 16-bagel recipe to yield hundreds of bagels, and they needed to do it quickly.

In true Winnipeg fashion, through a series of conversations and introductions, Chris and Jessica stumbled upon the Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK).

“Similarly to how we came about finding the space for our shop, it felt very serendipitous discovering this mythical research kitchen on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute,” says Jessica.

The PRK’s research team put their culinary and baking knowledge to work by scaling-up the company’s recipe as well as developing a signature sourdough bagel. A few weeks into the project, Chris and Jessica paid a visit to the Research Kitchen to check in on the project and, of course, sample some bagels.

“After this meeting, we stopped doing our own trials in our home kitchen. We felt confident entering into a research service agreement and leaving things in the very capable hands of the PRK team and their student assistant.”

The PRK team included a Red River College professional baking student through the entire research project, providing valuable, hands-on experience that they can take back to the food industry. Students represent the growing need in the food service industry for cooks and bakers with enhanced skill sets to help businesses grow. PRK is helping to provide the training necessary for students to become tomorrows’ food professionals.

With PRK at work on finalizing the classic and sourdough bagel recipes, Chris and Jessica had more time to focus on the many other moving pieces of opening up a new business.

Once the recipes were finalized, PRK research chefs created an in-depth process manual, affectionately known as the “Bagel Bible,” by the Hudson Bagels team. In addition to creating a process manual, the PRK team paid a pre-opening visit to the shop to help advise on the equipment and kitchen layout that would work best for their space.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen team helped us put all the pieces of the puzzle together – they were very helpful and flexible. Without their help we would’ve been spinning our wheels to get our head baker ready in the space.”

Opening up a new business comes with its challenges, let alone opening up a business during a pandemic.

“Opening during the second wave of the pandemic was a bit wild, but it was completely worth it from seeing the joy on customers’ faces and the incredible response we’ve received from the community.” 

In addition to spreading joy one bagel at a time, Hudson Bagels has created new jobs in Winnipeg’s culinary scene. They currently employ four full-time bakers, three full-time and three part-time prep staff, one full-time as well as four part-time front-of-house team members.