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Investing in advanced manufacturing centre at SFU in Burnaby, British Columbia

Success Story Info

  • Organization: 

    4D LABS

  • Region:  British Columbia
  • Impact: 

    4D LABS expects to produce over 500 prototypes, spurring research and helping grow and diversify the B.C. economy.

  • Project: 

    Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Integration (CAMI)

  • Category:  Advanced Manufacturing
  • Story Date:  2020-02-03
4D Labs at Simon Fraser University

These days, it seems like the online universe is expanding from computers to everyday items. With a smartphone, we can unlock doors and adjust thermostats.

Welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT). Tiny sensors in mobile devices and household objects connect them to the Internet. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for innovation and technology.

The IoT market could double by 2021. But testing and prototyping new types of technology requires special machinery. The cost of those machines can be out of reach for many small and medium-size businesses.

Luckily, Simon Fraser University has 4D LABS, a facility where they can research advanced materials and develop applications. Businesses, academics and government have open-access to state-of-the-art equipment to help them make the nanosensors that are driving the IoT.

Over 50 innovative Vancouver firms have looked to 4D LABS for their advanced manufacturing needs. These include WD-funded clients like:

These companies have used the machinery at 4D LABS to help research and produce their products.

In 2018, WD enhanced its support of 4D LABS. An investment of over $1.9 million helped pay for the new Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Integration (CAMI). This space has advanced machinery focused on bringing IoT micro-technologies and nanotechnologies to market faster.

Other sectors that will benefit from this technology include:

  • security
  • healthcare
  • clean energy
  • transportation
  • information and communication technology

As markets evolve, Canada needs to remain competitive on the global stage. By funding research facilities like CAMI at 4D LABS, WD helps western Canadian researchers and manufacturers bring innovative products to domestic and global markets. 4D LABS expects to produce 500 prototypes by December 2020 as a result of this expansion.

CAMI is focused on designing, developing, demonstrating and producing advanced materials and nanoscale devices faster. It is also a hub of knowledge, with highly trained staff that can support custom research programs.

CAMI will spur growth in research. It will create systems and invent mechanisms that could change the future. In the process, it will energize and diversify the B.C. economy.


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