Feds fund growth centre for composite technology

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Feds fund growth centre for composite technology
Contribute $190,000 to help develop emerging industry

By Martin Cash

The federal government has announced a $190,000 contribution to the newly formed Composites Innovation Centre.

The new centre is to become the focal point for the development of applied composite technologies in Manitoba.

It has been suggested from many quarters that Winnipeg is well-positioned to become a leader in the composite-parts manufacturing industry. The most high-profile example of that industry is the Boeing Technologies Canada plant in Winnipeg, where several hundred different aircraft parts are made from the lightweight, durable, extremely strong material. Boeing is the largest manufacturer in Canada of composite aerospace assemblies.

“The application of composites is increasing and Manitoba’s large manufacturing sector — including aerospace, ground transportation, civil infrastructure and agricultural industries — makes it a natural fit for developing a centre of excellence,” said Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, minister of Western Economic Diversification. “The Government of Canada is pleased to be part of this project.”

The centre is expected to assist the private sector in product development and research, to develop investment capital, and ensure there is an accessible, skilled workforce through education development.

Sean McKay, the CIC’s executive director, said one of the organization’s goals is to work closely with the University of Manitoba to make use of and grow its research and educational capabilities and to assist in developing young engineers to meet the expected market demand.

McKay said a five-year business plan is currently being drawn up with the hopes that further support might also be forthcoming from the provincial and city governments. In addition to the kickoff funding from the federal government, the CIC has received about $78,000 worth of fees from Boeing Canada, with whom it is currently working on a project.

McKay said other private sector companies, including Dow BioProducts, Carlson Structural Glass, Acsion Industries of Pinawa and Acetek Composites have already expressed interests in supporting the CIC.

The centre has hired four staff including two engineers and McKay said that its medium-term future will become more concrete over the course of the next couple of months.

© 2004 Winnipeg Free Press. All rights reserved

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