Canada is a hub for manufacturing automation, positioning itself as a leader in the industry with the recent opening of a first-of-its-kind smart factory and the 2018 founding of the Automate Canada national association. These and other advancements in the country have helped give Canada a global reputation for innovation within manufacturing automation.
Additionally, the industry is an essential part of Canada’s manufacturing technology sector. Industrial automation contributes an estimated $7 billion yearly to the Canadian economy and creates 40,000 jobs a year within the country. With the potential for even more growth in this sector, it’s no wonder Canada is an attractive option for manufacturers.
The Factory of the Future
In early 2023, Deloitte unveiled its smart factory and warehouse facility in Montreal, Canada. The company labelled this as a “first-of-its-kind” facility that runs entirely on automation technologies. Called The Smart Factory @ Montreal, this 9,000-square-foot building showcases the capabilities of an entirely digitally connected factory. Smart factories such as this have been dubbed as the factories of the future.
The Smart Factory @ Montreal uses manufacturing automation technologies to run production lines, manage inventory, and track inbound and outbound shipments. The facility utilizes multiple smart manufacturing technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, robots, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and more. The digitally connected ecosystem within this smart factory allows for seamless operations.
The presence of such an innovation within the manufacturing automation world will draw business leaders from throughout the country — as well as the world — to Canada. The Smart Factory @ Montreal is intended to help companies learn about and get hands-on experience with smart technologies in a fully automated factory and warehouse setting.
Another advantage of this smart factory is that it can help address the challenges faced by manufacturers today. These include mitigating supply chain disruptions, finding and retaining skilled workers, and ensuring production time meets customer demands. Advanced manufacturing technologies improve operational efficiency by speeding up production and enabling more accurate inventory tracking and management. This leads to faster delivery and more satisfaction for the company’s customers.
Deloitte’s Smart Factory @ Montreal helps manufacturers understand the benefits of automation and see firsthand how they can leverage these technologies to solve their most pressing issues. This factory is a major step toward implementing more advanced manufacturing automation technologies at industrial companies throughout Canada.
Manufacturing automation in Canada has grown so much in the Industry 4.0 era that the country has its own national association dedicated to automation. Automate Canada was founded in 2018 by the Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM) to represent Canadian industrial automation companies. In addition to being supported by CAMM, the association is also supported by Invest WindsorEssex and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program.
Automate Canada’s Board of Directors Chair Shelley Fellows has lauded the large number of advanced industrial automation companies in Ontario, saying many of them enthusiastically supported the association when it was first created — which has helped sustain growth for the organization. As a national association, Automate Canada supports the development and adoption of automation technologies in the country’s manufacturing industry. Additionally, it helps educational institutions with workforce development initiatives and works with the next generation of industrial automation industry leaders.
Intelligent City is a Canadian housing technology company working to address the problems facing the home construction industry, including the need for affordable housing and more sustainable building practices. In pursuit of this goal, Intelligent City has implemented automation and robotics into the design and manufacturing processes it uses to create prefabricated mass timber buildings. This company is one of the first in North America to leverage manufacturing automation for housing construction, uniquely positioning it to lead innovation in the industry.
Implementing manufacturing automation has helped Intelligent City develop a more effective method for constructing houses — one that releases fewer carbon emissions compared to traditional construction. Combining automation with patented technology while concentrating on supply chain contracts and vertical integration of building systems has led to better results for the company’s construction projects. Intelligent City has been able to construct 1.5 times more units on a site than it would have been able to with conventional construction methods, helping housing developers achieve maximum cost certainty, and save up to 50% per home on life-cycle costs.
The construction approach offered by Intelligent City enables the company to deliver affordable, sustainable, and customizable urban housing. The use of automation technology in the prefabrication of building components allows Intelligent City to compile data on the life cycle and performance of its buildings — even before construction begins. Even with large projects like constructing residential and commercial buildings, automation is able to significantly speed up the production process.
The Canadian Government Supports Advanced Manufacturing
The Canadian government has supported automation in the manufacturing sector for years. Back in 2019, a news release was published on the Canada.ca website about the government investing in a manufacturing company to help the company purchase automated equipment. That was even before the COVID-19 pandemic increased the value of automation, accelerating manufacturers’ investment in automation technology.
Today, the Canadian government continues to invest in new manufacturing automation companies and support automation initiatives. This year, the government has made a significant investment in Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters, demonstrating its focus on growing automation and other innovative technologies.
This year, $700 million in funding has been spread across five clusters, three of which are relevant to the industrial sector — the Advanced Manufacturing Cluster, the Digital Technology Cluster, and the Scale AI Cluster. These three clusters account for more than $400 million of the $700 million government funding. These types of investments show the Canadian government’s commitment to smart technologies and its intent to help grow the country’s advanced manufacturing sector.
To learn more about the country’s manufacturing automation industry and meet with Canadian automation companies, attend CMTS.