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Mohawk College partners with University of Guelph to help CGL Manufacturing adopt additive manufacturing technology

Guelph-based CGL Manufacturing to leverage expertise at Mohawk, Guelph to develop ductile iron powder mix for 3D Printing.

ductile iron powder

A partnership between Mohawk College and the University of Guelph will help an Ontario off-road component supplier create high-quality rapid prototypes for its clients while fostering Canadian innovation in advanced manufacturing.

CGL Manufacturing Inc., headquartered in Guelph, Ontario, is a global supplier of machined castings, components, and fabrications. Seeking a competitive advantage to respond faster to client’s requests for new and redesigned parts, CGL turned to the combined additive manufacturing and materials development expertise at Mohawk and U of G. The partnership gained important funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support the research.

CGL produces its final parts in ductile iron, a material known for its strength and durability. While the company plans to continue to use castings to create its final parts, there is interest in producing preliminary parts and prototypes using an Additive Manufacturing technology known as powder bed fusion. However, ductile iron is not a material that is commonly used in additive manufacturing and is not commercially available. Mohawk and Guelph will collaborate to develop a ductile iron powder mix that can be used by CGL to produce high-quality parts and prototypes.

“A 24-week lead and set-up time of the casting process is one of the main challenges CGL faces when a sample part is needed for a new client, or for design revisions of current products,” says President and CEO Michael Ritchie about why the company wanted to invest in research and development. “We want to provide our clients with a high-quality experience, and part of that is reducing production to market time for samples, new products, and design revisions.”

The results of the joint research project will ensure that the powder bed fusion parts will have the same chemical composition and mechanical properties as the final casted parts.

“This project is an example of a synergetic collaboration and resource integration between industry and academia to develop novel solutions to unique business challenges,” says Ibrahim Deiab, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Guelph. “On the Guelph side, the Advanced Manufacturing Lab (AML) provides a unique environment to support this type of research, training and education in advanced and sustainable manufacturing technologies.”

“It’s important for the Canadian private sector to compete in a global marketplace. By leveraging academic institutions to help solve key challenges, small and medium-sized companies grow faster and smarter.” says Jeffrey McIsaac, Dean of Applied Research at Mohawk College. “Mohawk’s additive manufacturing expertise will help CGL explore new 3D printing at low risk and will keep them at the forefront of technology.”

The two-year project is funded by $300,000 from the NSERC through Innovation Links, a unique program that supports research projects that combine college expertise with university knowledge to collaborate to solve an industry problem. CGL is also investing $200,000 in the project through cash and in-kind contributions.

CGL will work on this research with Jeff McIsaac, Simon Coulson, and Justin Valenti at Mohawk College’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) and Dr. Ibrahim Deiab and John Cloutier of U of G’s Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory (AML). This is the second research collaboration between CGL, Mohawk College and the University of Guelph. Previously, the trio explored preliminary work in developing the ductile iron powder, funded by an NSERC Engage grant, Ontario Centres of Excellence VIP I grant and the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) through Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) contributions.

“Our diverse range of capabilities allows us to take on the projects that other firms cannot, while providing a level of service unparalleled in our industry” says Mike Ritchie, CGL CEO. “This collaboration with Mohawk and Guelph will provide our clients with an additional reason to rely on Canadian innovation.”