Compared to the rest of Canada, Alberta’s manufacturing sector is comprised of a large number of small companies that lag in the adoption of new technologies. While there is a lot of chatter about digital twins, internet of things, blockchain, Industry 4.0, supply chain management, machine learning, informatics, 3D printing, etc. – the real challenge facing Alberta manufacturers is understanding the unique benefits and risks of such technologies for their distinctive manufacturing processes. This talk will highlight strategies to overcome such barriers and suggest a way for Alberta to channel its entrepreneurial spirit to drive the intelligent adoption of new manufacturing technologies. Core to this strategy is the creation of consortia enabling local companies to collaborate to reduce risk and costs, while also competing.
The talk will use Additive Manufacturing as a case study for how this strategy could be realized in Alberta. While 3D printers and printing are core to the creation of new products, it is just one step in the larger chain of advanced manufacturing tools and technologies needed to maximize value creation in this rapidly emerging area. For example, advanced 3D Design coupled with computational approaches are enabling entirely new ways to test products BEFORE they are manufactured, and this in turn is creating entirely new business opportunities. To capitalize on these opportunities, Alberta’s manufacturing companies will need to find ways to embrace these new technologies intelligently.