Canadian Manufacturing

$19.2M aerospace manufacturing project

Feds invest in R&D for faster, cheaper processes

DELTA, B.C.: The federal government is investing $7.7 million in a $19.2-million research and development project for Canada’s aerospace manufacturing industry.

The project is being carried out by the University of British Columbia and Asco Aerospace Canada, a Delta, B.C.-based subsidiary of Belgian aerospace product and parts manufacturer, ASCO Industries.

Asco will research and develop new technologies for manufacturing aircraft bulkheads using specialized metal components.

It will focus on large, odd-shaped and complex components built from aluminum, titanium and other hard metals, which are difficult to machine.

Asco Aerospace Canada Inc. vice-president Kevin Russell says there are many challenges to manufacturing aircraft bulkheads, “but the main ones are meeting the very tight geometric tolerances and producing at a cost-level which is globally competitive.”

He expects the research will start yielding technology improvements throughout the next five years.

Faster, cheaper processes are going to be crucial in helping Canadian aerospace manufacturers take off in the global market, says Claude Lajeunesse, president of the Canadian Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.

“Competition around the world is ferocious. When we look at the next 20 years, there will be about $3.2 trillion of aircraft built. If we want to have access to that market and keep our share of it, we must have better, safer ways of building in the least expensive way,” Lajeunesse said.

“The only way to do that is innovation,” he added.

The investment is being made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI), which is managed by the Industrial Technologies Office, a special operating agency of Industry Canada.

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