It is our privilege to present the first progress report of the NSERC Strategic Network for Holistic Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (HI-AM). This report provides an overview of the Network activities and research outcomes from September 2017 to July 2019.
The HI-AM Network that was awarded in 2017 brought together 7 universities from coast to coast, 14 original industrial partners, 4 non-profit organizations and 5 collaborative international institutions to expand academic research and development on additive manufacturing in a holistic fashion across Canada. To this end, our main mission has been pinpointed on fostering collaborative interactions between partners from private and public sectors and academic researchers to develop and commercialize novel materials, processes, control systems and products of metal AM.
In 2017 and early 2018, the Board of Directors (BoD) and the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) were formed and met to guide the Network in its mission and vision. We are grateful to the members of BoD and SAC for their invaluable time and contributions. In 2018, tremendous effort was made to execute a master agreement between the many parties involved in this project. In parallel, 19 principal investigators were very busy hiring more than 77 highly qualified personnel to carry out 36 on-going projects. The Network was formally announced by the Honorable Kirsty Duncan, the Minister of Science, on August 10, 2018 at Promation, one of our industrial partners sites in Oakville, ON.
Since the commencement of the Network, we hosted two major events: the first HI-AM conference on May 22-23, 2018 in Waterloo, ON and the second HI-AM conference on June 26-27, 2019 in Vancouver, BC. Both conferences have received tremendous attentions from academia and industry. We welcomed more than 200 national/international researchers, industrial representatives and international keynote speakers to each event. More can be read about these conferences in the corresponding section of this report.
Our international collaborations have been ramping up. We have facilitated student exchanges between pioneer additive manufacturing R&D centers in the world, such as Singapore 3D Printing Center in Nanyang University, Singapore and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), United States.
Moreover, two new collaborative institutions (University of Windsor and École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) Montréal), as well as three new companies (i.e., GE Additive/AP&C, KSB and Equispheres) joined the Network in 2019.
For many years, AM has been known to address “economies of scope” in which customization, prototyping and low volume manufacturing have been the main foci. However, in recent years, AM has positioned itself to deploy for “economies of scale”, i.e., mass production, without compromising the economies of scope. This promotion from prototyping to a serial production platform has opened up many R&D opportunities. Like all conventional techniques, quality assurance procedures/tools (either online or offline) are of the utmost importance to aid manufacturers in quality management and certification when it comes to serial production. In the HI-AM, we are rigorously working on many R&D projects that address the above-mentioned needs for this disruptive technology that is disrupting itself regularly.
There are many activities that we were not able to highlight in this report. We look forward to sharing more about the achievements of our Network in the second progress report.
Ralph Resnick, Chair of the Board of Directors
Ehsan Toyserkani, Network Director