Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. William Pollard
Many people think that new products, services, and business models are natural evolutions of previous ideas. But behind every new item to hit the market in any industry, someone had to work hard to bring it to life. And that work includes vision, countless iteration, failure, and redirection repeatedly.
Learning and innovation are so intertwined that they can result in a unique collaboration between education institutions and the business community to help nurture and foster the environment needed to bring those ideas to life even faster. Over the last two years, the Research and Innovation group at Georgian College’s Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) partnered with Molded Precision Components (MPC) in Shanty Bay, ON, to develop a robot cell molding machine for their facility. And the results have further proven that the connection between education, business, and innovation pays off.
MPC manufactures high tolerance plastic injection-molded parts for industries such as automotive and medical, and many others. They approach their business with a strong focus on engineering and not just as an injection molding company churning out parts. Their team works closely with customers to innovate and deliver high-precision parts that must work well in the field.
Intersecting with their core product line is a solid commitment to Industry 4.0 implementation. By preparing their operation for the future, they seek to drive machine-level control and automation through robotics and other data-driven tools to future-proof their production and optimize performance to customer expectations. Because of this, their production lines must manufacture the parts needed using best-in-class production methods.
MPC’s participation with the Research and Innovation group at Georgian College is long-standing. By sponsoring two $2500 scholarships annually at Georgian for research and innovation, MPC has acknowledged the link between learning and innovation required for success in today’s world. This link is further strengthened as students gain leadership opportunities and hands-on experience with real-world products and applications.
When MPC needed a new molding machine for a new art cube folding line, they decided to collaborate with the Research and Innovation group at Georgian to develop the new machine using Georgian students within the program. But the challenge included more than just designing and building a machine.
First, because of MPC’s commitment to Industry 4.0, the new molding line needed to be a robot cell. The requirements included accommodating robots and accommodating the feeding system, inspection components, and string systems. Student challenges included the manufacture, assembly, and programming for the new line.
Second, the collaboration was affected early on by the COVID-19 crisis, adding complexity to the project. However, instead of delaying the progress, the student team partnered with the Township of Oro to use an old fire hall to continue working on the project safely. Far from letting the pandemic stop them, they used the same innovative spirit to redirect how they accomplished the project to work through the crisis, providing a real-world disruptive challenge that is always at risk in the business world.
Working in conjunction with a project manager from MPC, the Georgian students quickly developed an impressive design. The completed cell will allow MPC to continue building upon its strong reputation for quality and engineering. And the project is a testament to the power of innovation and education combined.
Alongside many community partners, MPC continues to drive innovation and education in partnership with Georgian College. With a collaboration model that includes leadership opportunity and real-world, hands-on experience, MPC continues to help equip students with the tools and skills required to agilely compete in today’s world. That commitment was evident in March of 2021 when David Yeaman, President of MPC, was awarded this year’s Entrepreneurs’ Champion Award at the Georgian College Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre Awards in March.
The Research and Innovation Group at Georgian College can help industries bring their ideas to life. By connecting faculty, students and staff, a strong partnership can be forged to help explore research and development challenges. Students are allowed access to real-world challenges to help increase their knowledge; advised and mentored by expert faculty researchers. To find out how Georgian College and the HBEC can help your company tap into the powerful tandem of innovation and learning opportunities, contact us today.