Manufacturing answers the call with $21M in COVID projects

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Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster has invested more than $21 million in projects that will lead to the production in Canada of critically needed technologies, equipment and medical devices to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) said its COVID-19 funding program has received more than 900 expressions of interest from advanced manufacturing companies across Canada. 

“Manufacturers across Canada have stepped up to the challenge. Their capacity to innovative and mobilize advanced technologies has allowed them to respond rapidly, both in scaling up production of health care products and in delivering new solutions to front-line workers,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. “There can be no better example of how important advanced manufacturing is to Canadians. It’s really been an all-of-Canada approach. Collaboration has been key in fighting COVID-19, and it will remain important as we prepare to open up the economy once again.” 

The projects approved so far include the development and manufacturing of ventilators and components, test kits, face shields, and a coating material that kills bacteria and viruses on contact. 

“I am truly inspired by the depth of knowledge, expertise and commitment from industry, government and the research base across such a wide range of technologies,” said John Laughlin, chief technology officer for NGen. “These collaborations are meeting the immediate needs of patients and front-line workers with innovations in life sustaining equipment, medical products, and PPE, while also strengthening manufacturing capacity in Canada that will continue to grow and sustain Canada’s economic recovery.”

NGen worked with the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada’s National Research Council, Health Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to prioritize projects for funding that will deliver the most immediate benefits to Canadians. 

“Our government is mobilizing its resources in the fight against COVID-19, and it’s great to see Industry doing its part,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“I’m proud of the superclusters, including NGen, for stepping up to leverage their broad membership and Canada’s strong industrial base to confront COVID-19. Together, we will protect the health and safety of all Canadians,” added Bains. 

Standout Projects:

VentilatorCanadian Emergency Ventilators Inc./Starfish Medical 

This project is providing ventilators for COVID-19 triage scenarios. The project is manufacturing what will be known as the “Winnipeg Ventilator,” which will be suitable for large scale manufacturing and use during the COVID-19 crisis. To date, a functional system has been developed, assembled and tested that demonstrates the functional performance of the device in healthcare settings. The core technology has also been licensed and cleared for use by the FDA in the U.S.


Ventilator Components:  BOMImed (Winnipeg, Man.)

Winnipeg, MB-based BOMImed, which manufactures and distributes airway management, anesthesia, critical care, warming therapy and patient monitoring products, is collaborating Synergy Mouldworks (Brantford, Ont), and Precision ADM (Winnipeg, Man.) to rapidly develop and launch production of high-quality, fast-to-produce and cost effective ventilator breathing circuit components. The project is dedicated to come up with a made-in-Canada solution to address the shortages in breathing circuit components for ventilated patients across Canada.


Face shieldsMolded Precision Components (Oro-Medonte, Ont.)

Molded Precision Components (MPC), a full-service engineering and injection molding company, is working with Sterling Industries (Concord, Ont.), is designing and mass producing a personal protective face shield. MPC will be moulding the head band strap portion of the face shield, while Sterling will be producing the face shield portion holding the strap. MPC expects to mass produce up to 5,000 face shields per day. 


Face shieldsMosaic (Toronto)

Mosaic is a digital manufacturing company using 3D printing technology and multi-material printing processes to produce a wide range of products. NGen’s funding will enable the company to rapidly produce and distribute 45,000 face shields over a three-month period.


Face shields:  Burloak Technologies (Burlington, Ont.)

This supplier of precision manufactured 3D printed metal parts to the aerospace industry is working with Hamilton Health Sciences to design, develop and manufacture a full-face shield to address the need for specific identified medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The prototype product is in trial and Burloak is tooling up to be producing 5,000 pieces per week. (Read SHOP’s coverage of the story here.)


Test Kit:  Sona Nanotech (Halifax, N.S.)

Sona is using its proprietary nanotechnology to develop a rapid point-of-care test to screen for Coronavirus. The test will provide users with a quick-response lateral-flow test to screen patients. The test is expected to produce results in five to 15 minutes and is anticipated to be priced similarly to other tests used to diagnose infectious diseases.


Test KitResponse Biomedical (Vancouver, B.C.)

The company’s RAMP platform technology, a fluorescent-based lateral-flow Point of Care (POC) system with Health Canada clearance, will be used to produce a rapid, economical and accurate COVID-19 diagnostic test for use in point-of-care settings near patients or in the community. The aim of the project is to develop and manufacture, at large scale, a novel SARS-Coronavirus-2 RAMP Point-of-Care test that will identify symptoms of COVID-19 in 15 minutes or less. 


Sterilization CoatingEnvision SQ Inc. (Guelph, Ont.)

This is a joint effort with University of Guelph to develop an innovative self-sterilization clear coating product (EnvisionSQ Clear Coating – NanoCleanSQ) that can be easily applied to hard surfaces to help prevent spread of the Coronavirus. NanoCleanSQ kills bacteria and viruses on contact, particularly coronaviruses, and is safe and durable, providing long-lasting antibacterial and antiviral protection. The NGen COVID-19 funding will allow EnvisionSQ to scale up production of NanoCleanSQ within 12 weeks to produce more than 1,000 litres per week, enough product to protect over 1 million doorknobs, 75,000 km of handrails, or the interiors of 8,750 elevators, 400 city buses or 200 passenger airplanes per week. 

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