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New high-tech composites training centre takes off at RRC

October 22, 2020

Red River College is set to launch the careers of the next generation of skilled aerospace workers, thanks to a cutting-edge lab at the Notre Dame Campus. Using new technology from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the Advanced Forming Training Centre enhances the skills of Canada’s highly trained aerospace workforce. The Centre will also serve as a composite forming training hub for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Advanced Forming Training Centre places RRC at the forefront of Canada’s aircraft component production industry. Composite materials make aircraft stronger, lighter and more fuel-efficient — ultimately, a cost-effective method that creates a significant reduction in process defects — and those trained at RRC will lead the charge in this new technology.

“RRC has long been at the forefront of innovation in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors, and working with partners like the National Research Council only strengthens what we do and ensures the widest audience possible will benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities and expertise,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

With a slew of modern equipment and facilities already under its belt, the new training centre is another feather in the cap for RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), which last year opened the Smart Factory, an applied research space, experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site that showcases emerging technologies.

“We’re honoured to now be home to advanced composite forming systems developed by the NRC,” says Meier. “The collaborative transfer of skills and knowledge from the NRC team and TACAM provides a foundation to commercialize this unique emerging technology. We look forward to this ongoing partnership that will benefit Canada’s manufacturing industry for years to come.”

The NRC’s high-precision forming process propels Canada to a world leader in this emerging sector, and the organization will work with RRC to identify the best fit for the technology within the Canadian and global aerospace industries, and to transfer the advanced forming technology to the private sector. Read More →

Soup’s on! RRC partners with Winnipeg Harvest on healthy soup mixes for community, students

October 5, 2020

Thanks to a partnership between Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen and Winnipeg Harvest, nutritious Hamper Healthy™ soups will soon be distributed to vulnerable Manitobans. Students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program created the dehydrated mixes this summer, and officially handed off the donations — 3,000 packages worth — to Winnipeg Harvest this morning.

The partnership provided valuable work placement hours for RRC students and engaged them in a project that will deliver healthy, high-protein foods to people in need.

“When most local restaurants temporarily closed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program were unable to receive the work placement hours needed to graduate,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“Our solution was to use more of our space to scale up the recipes and provide nutritious storable food for people negatively impacted by the pandemic. This partnership with Winnipeg Harvest and the generous support from our donors demonstrates the value of working together to support our community and find creative ways to support our students.”

The students safely worked alongside RRC research chefs to transform raw vegetables into three soup mixes: Mulligatawny, Chicken Noodle Vegetable, and Smokey Baked Beans. Dehydrating the soups was also a great way to process surplus vegetables from suppliers who were not able to use them during the pandemic. Read More →

Award-winning flavours and fava on the menu at Prairie Research Kitchen

June 15, 2020

Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen has won the Canadian Association of Research Administrators’ (CARA) Research Partnership Award, for its ongoing work with Manitoba food start-up Prairie Fava.

The award ceremony was originally scheduled to take place at CARA’s annual conference in Vancouver last month, though the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prairie Fava has been a great partner of ours since the beginning. Working with them has showcased our ability to bring a chef’s experience and perspective to applied research,” says Mavis McRae, Director of the Prairie Research Kitchen, which is RRC’s newest federally funded Technology Access Centre.

“We’re so grateful for their support, and thankful to have grown alongside each other over the years. It’s an honour to be recognized for this mutually beneficial relationship.”

Hailey and Cale Jefferies co-founded Prairie Fava in 2015 as a way to tie their family seed business, Jefferies Seeds, into a new venture that showcased the duo’s passion for healthy food with their existing knowledge and experience in agriculture. Prairie Fava was recently awarded the Start-Up of the Year Award at the 2019 Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

“I can’t emphasize enough how valuable the research and development work done by the Prairie Research Kitchen team is for a small company like ours,” says Hailey Jefferies (shown above), the company’s President. “They provide great expertise while being cost effective. We have appreciated being able to leverage the creative talents of RRC students to do both market research and great food photography. We have not been able to find this kind of diverse food research elsewhere.” Read More →

College to continue alternative delivery of programs and services; on-campus classes remain suspended until fall

April 3, 2020

Red River College will continue providing alternative delivery models for programs and services for the upcoming spring and summer terms, which means there will be no on-campus classes or public events until September.

Work integrated learning (practicums, clinical, work experience) will continue to be suspended except for those instances that can be completed using online or alternative approaches. Co-op/industry placements will continue at the discretion of the workplace employer.

Today’s announcement extends the timeframe that students, faculty and staff are expected to work off-campus in order to meet increasingly stringent public health directives aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

“We know this is a challenging time for students, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “With public health advice changing regularly, we felt that it was important to make a decision that allows for planning certainty throughout the rest of spring and summer.”

Watson lauded the hard work, commitment and creativity of faculty and staff in making the transition to alternative delivery over the past few weeks.

“We have seen our faculty and staff re-imagine their work via technology in a way — and at a pace — that we never thought possible. I also know that we have students who are struggling to adapt to this new reality. We are thankful for all of those who are working together to find a way through this unprecedented situation.

“We would love to be able to re-open our doors and go back to the hustle and bustle of our vibrant campuses. But that simply isn’t an option. We also know that when we begin to rebuild our economy, Manitoba will need Red River College — students will need training to get jobs and launch their careers, and industry will depend upon our grads to fill their workforce needs. Read More →

RRC research chair among latest Order of Canada appointees

January 13, 2020

Portrait of Jan SandersonA Red River College research chair has been named a member of the Order of Canada, in recognition of her lifelong commitment to the health and well-being of young children.

Jan Sanderson, a research chair with the College’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services, was among 120 new companions, officers and members of the order announced by the Governor General in December.

Sanderson was recognized “for her leadership within Manitoba’s pubic service by promoting improved quality of life and health for children.” She was one of only three Manitobans to receive the designation, along with physician and researcher Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg and TV and film producer Louis-Frederic Paquin.

Sanderson says she grateful to those who nominated her for the honour, but noted the irony of being singled out for work in the field of early child development, where “every success depends on partnerships and collaboration.”

“I have been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with amazing, committed people across multiple sectors — government, non-profit, academia, health and education — to support children and their families,” she says.

“And now the opportunity with the research team at RRC seems like the icing on the cake. The work that is done by this quiet but mighty team is impacting on children’s well-being locally, nationally and around the world.” Read More →

TACAM harnesses aerospace manufacturing technology in fight against cancer

November 20, 2019

Close-up of carbon fibre panelIt may not look like much, but the panel pictured at left — built by staff at Red River College’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM) — is a powerful weapon in CancerCare Manitoba’s fight to save lives.

Dave Austin, a program facilitator for TACAM, says the panels are fabricated by hand using the same materials, equipment and processes that students in RRC’s Aerospace Manufacturing program use to create aircraft paneling.

“The process is simply a matter of getting the materials (graphite and aluminum) cut into the size they need, and pressing them together to create a solid piece.”

The compressed sheet is heated in an oven for 90 minutes and then cooled, removing the air to ensure the plies bond. The result is a quarter-inch, 30-ply aerospace-grade sheet of carbon fibre.

From each panel, CancerCare fabricates indexing bars designed to help cancer patients maintain the same body position across multiple radiation treatments.

Chad Harris, a member of the Department of Medical Devices at CCMB, says the carbon fibre has unique properties that make it especially useful for radiation treatment.

“When you’re firing a beam of radiation at a tumour, it’s critical to maintain an exact distance between the beam and the tumour each time you do it.” Read More →

College feeds local economy with unveiling of new culinary research kitchen

November 7, 2019

Manitoba’s vital agriculture and food industry is getting another boost with today’s grand opening of Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen.

The new research facility brings food science, culinary arts and industry together on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen supports the growth of our ever-important agriculture and food industry, and helps build on Manitoba’s protein advantage, which is one of our strategic priorities,” says Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler (shown above, at right, with interim RRC President Darin Brecht).

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to have provided $1 million from Research Manitoba towards the construction of the research kitchen, as culinary research is an area of tremendous opportunity. It’s exciting to see the College’s research chefs put their skills and expertise to work creating food products that are not only good for our health, but are also good for Manitoba’s economy.”

Culinary instructor plating food, Prairie Research Kitchen

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of manufacturing sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are SMEs, and this is where the Prairie Research Kitchen comes in — working directly with small and medium-sized operations to help bring new ideas and products to life. Read More →

College opens doors to new state-of-the-art Smart Factory

June 28, 2019

Today, with the help of collaborative robots Baxter, Sawyer and UR10, Red River College officially opened the doors to its brand new Smart Factory, a state-of-the-art learning facility and applied research space that will directly support Manitoba’s growing aerospace and manufacturing industries, and RRC’s applied research initiatives.

“Red River College has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies. The opening of the Smart Factory ensures that our students are well-equipped to face the challenges that the future workforce may hold, and to thrive in ever-changing environments,” says RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above, at right).

“These expansions have significant impacts in our community and beyond, as we provide unparalleled access to cutting-edge resources for our partners in the aerospace and manufacturing industries.”

Located inside RRC’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, the Smart Factory is an experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site. It combines emerging technologies in metals additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics and autonomous factory vehicles, flexible robotic work cells, industrial automation, high-speed 3D laser metrology, industrial networking, and many more.

The new facility will enhance learning at RRC by allowing students to experience and work in factory settings. It will also provide Manitoba companies with access to state-of-the-art equipment, research and innovation expertise, and faculty and students — in order to evaluate, develop, demonstrate and implement new and emerging technologies.

The Smart Factory is the result of a $10-million investment — previously announced in 2017 — by the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada. In addition to supporting the development of the Smart Factory, this funding also supports the Phase 3 expansion of RRC’s Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT), located at StandardAero in Winnipeg. Read More →

SpaRRCky flies: Student-built electric car cracks top 10 at Shell Eco-marathon

April 10, 2019

For the second year running, a team of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology students from Red River College have taken their battery-electric vehicle — dubeed SpaRRCky — to Sonoma, California for the Shell Eco-marathon.

The team beat their personal best, moving from a 14th-place finish last year to seventh overall in the battery electric category. And while this year’s race was ultimately a success, it wasn’t without its challenges.

“Going into our first run was the most nerve-racking part of the competition,” says team captain Joel Turner, an Electrical Engineering Technology student at RRC. “Our first set of available runs had been postponed due to rain, which furthered our nervousness, but as soon as we got off the line it was high fives and smiles all around!”

Nerves aside, the team also had to deal with various technical challenges. During the first run, SpaRRCky’s cover came loose and the team’s driver (Samantha Sousa, a Welding student who also constructed the racer’s steering knuckle) had to pull over for her own safety and the safety of the others on the track.

“Once we got the car back, we quickly brainstormed and fixed the problem on the fly, got SpaRRCky back in line, and were able to make the next run,” says Turner.

Students with battery-electric racerSousa noted that the first run track was the most nerve-wracking part of the competition, thanks in part to the weather.

“The rain was pushing our time slot back and the pavement was slick. I also had not driven SpaRRCky on pavement yet, only in the gym as we still had snow in Winnipeg,” she says.

But the stress didn’t stop there. “After our third run, a housing bolt had become stripped and we could not attempt another run with the vehicle in this condition,” says Turner.

Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and a visit to a local hardware store, they were able to make the fix and move on to the next run and a seventh-place finish. Read More →

Designer genes: College and partners launch new genetic mapping initiative

March 22, 2019

This week, Red River College became the first educational facility in Western Canada to unveil its own next generation sequencing (NGS) device, thanks to a new partnership aimed at putting the power of genetic mapping in the hands of the general populace.

Genome360 is an initiative launched by not-for-profit group Genome Prairie and a consortium of funding partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in the province. Bolstered by a $2.3-million investment, the initiative aims to propel Manitoba to prominence in the genomics sector.

iSeq100 equipmentIncluded in the investment is the College’s new iSeq100, a small but powerful machine — not much bigger than a microwave — that allows for improved DNA mapping and could open up new developments in medicine and agriculture.

Designed for simplicity, the iSeq100 allows labs of all sizes to sequence DNA rapidly and with high accuracy. The equipment will provide RRC students with the hands-on training needed to excel within laboratories and to thrive as practitioners in this growing field.

“One of Red River College’s strengths is having the ability to introduce and train our students on new and emerging technology,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “The addition of the iSeq100 will ensure that students graduating from RRC will have the knowledge, confidence and experience to meet the needs of industry today, and into the future.”

Also on display at this week’s announcement was a prototype Molecular Biology Interactive Learning Enterprise (MOBILE) lab — developed in partnership with Westward Industries to demonstrate and offer organizations access to field-deployable devices. The electric-powered MOBILE lab (shown above) provides storage, transport and sufficient workspace to bring the laboratory into the field or the classroom.

“The Genome360 initiative provides a unique combination of capacity and expertise for the wide distribution and democratization of advanced genetic technologies in the province of Manitoba and beyond,” says Dr. Simon Potter, Genome Prairie’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We look forward to working with the community to realize the economic and social benefits inherent in this exciting venture.”