An informal eight-year working partnership between InnoTech Alberta and the University of Alberta's Department of Mechanical Engineering has just been formalized. The two groups have signed an agreement to improve manufacturing and materials development in Alberta. This unified approach will make better use of resources to serve industry in our province.

Gary Fisher, our team lead of the surface engineering group and director of our MARIOS Consortium and Andr McDonald, professor and associate chair (Research) at the university's Department of Mechanical Engineering will strategically plan how to solve pertinent issues and develop new technologies for the manufacturing and energy sectors.

"This agreement and the projects that will flow from it will continue to strengthen our relationship with InnoTech Alberta and will serve as an excellent opportunity for research and technology advancement, student training, and professional development, all which will lead to the creation of jobs in the Province of Alberta and diversification of our economy," said Andr McDonald.

This move offers multiple benefits. For example, both groups will pool their resources to develop processes that will allow shared purchase of equipment. This strategy means they will plan capital purchases and avoid duplication, which in turn will allow them to purchase complimentary equipment.

"This collaboration will help push forward our initiatives in advanced manufacturing and materials development. By effectively planning and combining resources with the University we will be able to make larger and more timely impacts in the manufacturing and resource sectors," said Gary Fisher.

Their plans will include regular joint-hosting of workshops and training sessions, consulting and shared services as well as access to personnel and equipment at each facility to compliment consulting, testing and service activities.

Future activities stemming from this agreement will include having groups from the University support and possibly manage MARIOS projects, collaboration on a capital equipment (CFI) applications as well as providing workshops and training courses on manufacturing technologies.

Currently the Surface Engineering group has seven postgraduate students working on InnoTech Alberta-led projects to develop technologies related to additive manufacturing and wear-protection.

Before the formal agreement took place, Andr's group provided technical support for a range of service and R&D projects. Gary's group supported U of A research activities at their facilities. Their support for one-another included hosting four workshops at InnoTech Alberta that brought international participants from Europe, Australia, Asia and the United States. It also provided support for four post-graduate students' projects that appeared in numerous journals and the co-authoring of a coatings training course within the oil and gas industry.