The University of New Brunswick on Thursday launched Canada’s first research centre for 3D metal printing for the marine and defence industries.

The Fredericton university said in a statement the new Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence is the first Canadian such organization to combine research, commercialization and workforce development and training.  The initiative is the result of a partnership with Custom Fabricators and Machinists (CFM), and community colleges in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The multi-million-dollar centre is currently funded by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Mohsen Mohammadi, director of the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UNB, will lead the research and development component of the centre, with CFM partnering on commercialization. The New Brunswick Community College, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Community College, will lead workforce development and training.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ $2.7-million contribution is a part of its industrial and regional benefits obligation to the federal government pursuant to its contract for the CP-140 Aurora Structural Life Extension Project.

Irving Shipbuilding’s $750,000 investment is a part of its Value Proposition commitments under the National Shipbuilding Strategy – Canada’s 30-year plan to renew the fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. Irving Shipbuilding’s commitment led to additional public and private sector funding and in-kind support.

Region Eyes Oceans Supercluster

The nearly $5-million centre is expected to triple its funding in the coming year with other partners coming on board, said the statement.

The centre will be the first in Canada to use 3D metal printing as a method for manufacturing certified, custom parts for the marine sector, said the statement.  Its mission is to ensure the adoption of this leading-edge technology in the marine sector in Canada by developing new methods, procedures, and effective training programs. 

This unique initiative will enable New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada to develop a core expertise in this emerging technology and help create the foundation for the next generation of manufacturing.  By working closely together, the founding partners will ensure that this program has the best chance of succeeding long term in a globally competitive marketplace.

“Our technology is greener and more efficient than conventional methods and will create high-value jobs here in Atlantic Canada,” said Mohammadi. “I’m so grateful to our many commercialization, industry and training partners who have supported our work so far and I look forward to welcoming new participants in the future.”