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Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Sask Polytech follows the drill


Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s new Innovative Manufacturing program trains students for the manufacturing sector, teaching skills and knowledge in mechanical and CAD/CAM engineering technologies, welding, machining, project management, industrial design, and quality control/quality assurance strategies. The program is already showing value to the province’s manufacturing industry just a few short months after it began, with its first tool trial for Sandvik Coromant Canada.

Sandvik Coromant Canada is a sponsor of carbide tooling for the Innovative Manufacturing program. Travis Adam, the company’s representative for Sask Polytech, approached the Innovative Manufacturing team about conducting some tool trials. “Travis called us to see if we would be interested in some testing to assist one of their clients, Case New Holland,” says Phil Ursulescu, program head, Machinist program and Innovative Manufacturing program. Case New Holland has a manufacturing plant in Saskatoon, building agricultural equipment. “Sandvik Coromant wanted us to test grades of carbide drills in their product line, to help Case New Holland select the product that would work best of their needs,” says Ursulescu. “Needless to say, we jumped at the chance.”

Students from the program volunteered to code and run the program that would be used to test the drills. To ensure accurate data, the supplied plates were hardness tested, and identical feeds and speeds were used. The enthusiastic student volunteers wanted to see a tool work to failure. The testing saw one tool drill 5,400 holes, and another created 11,000 holes. Photos were taken after every 300 holes and all the data was recorded for Sandvik Coromant. “The test was a fantastic real-world experience for our students,” says Ursulescu. “It gave them an opportunity to solve a production issue for a real manufacturer.”

After the success of the first testing project, the program is looking for other opportunities to handle testing and research for the manufacturing sector. “The Sandvik Coromant test was just the beginning for us and our students,” says Ursulescu. “Opportunities like this give our students real, hands-on experience in things they will do in the workplace and it benefits the sector too.” The manufacturing technology lab has the capability to handle all kinds of research for manufacturing and metals. “We’ve got a 3D printer that can handle prints up to 1 m x 1 m x 0.5 m and soon we’ll have injection molding capability,” says Ursulescu. Sask Polytech can also source possible funding for research projects from the National Research Council. “Our research capacity is fantastic,” advises Ursulescu. “But if we can’t do it, we can help find someone who can.”

The Innovative Manufacturing program is taught at the Regina campus over five semesters in two years. More than just ‘draw the part, make the part’, the program teaches students how to identify the manufacturing problem and design the solution. Students are also given a two-week work placement to apply their skills in the real world. The program is guided by Saskatchewan employers to educate students for jobs in demand. Aligned to the National Occupation Classification (NOC) 2233 Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technologist, graduates are ready for employment in various manufacturing sectors including industrial, agricultural, mining, textile, forestry and food processing.

This article was originally published in Industry West magazine. Industry West Magazine is a quarterly published business magazine with informative, objective and timely editorial and advertising content for the province’s business community.

Published January 2018.

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