NLWIC: Six new projects funded
Demand Innovation Inc.Deep Bight, NL
Demand Innovation Inc. will be modifying and/or developing the next generation of the pressure infusion coffee maker the “Survival Perk”, which will be named “The Squeeze”. Like the “Survival Perk”, “The Squeeze” will fall under the patent pending application of pressure infusion beverage device.
Bernard Cook is constantly thinking about innovation; how to make a product better, how to solve a common problem in a new way. His company, Demand Innovation Inc., is the creator of the Survival Perk coffee maker. The portable coffee maker employs pressure fusion technology to make freshly brewed coffee, making the filter an essential component in the assembly of the product. Cook wanted to improve the design of the filter for the Survival Perk, and through the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters Association (CME), he learned of the college’s Office of Applied Research’s (OAR) capabilities in engineering and prototyping. He approached the OAR with his idea and requirements, and working with Mohammad Iqbal, Randal Power, and representatives from the National Research Council, launched the project in November 2009.
“Partnering with the college made available to Demand Innovation Inc. a team of researchers able to work together in refining innovative ideas. The further development of design by researchers and dedicated students led to the success of the project. Prototyping 3D computerized fabricating equipment made it possible to create components for trial testing. This one piece of equipment is essential to the development of innovative, new products. The availability of this equipment saves valuable time that would be lost if prototyping had to be done outside of the province,” says Cook.
The results of the project speak for themselves: by June 2010 the new filter clip design developed in partnership with the OAR had become standard on all Survival Perks. When asked about the college’s mandate and commitment to programs leading to the application of new knowledge to sustainable economic activity, Cook is quick to point out the value of academic and private collaboration.
“The OAR’s model of academic and private partnership for commercial innovation is really an innovation in itself. My company’s partnership with the OAR has provided experience for students. This experience not only encompasses first-hand insight on innovative, new ideas, but also everything from A-Z on taking an idea and developing the idea into the final prototype, from design, development, manufacturing, and logistics considerations,” he says.
“The development and introduction of the new filter clip has made the Survival Perk more attractive and easier to use. The customer’s satisfaction has increased due to the further design development. This has impacted the product with increased sales due to improved value and better product performance.”
Demand Innovation Inc.
Dynamic Air Shelters Ltd.Grand Bank, NL
Dynamic Air Shelters is changing the landscape, literally, for rapid response teams, industrial work sites and promotional events. With 14 years invested in the development of their inflatable air shelters, the company is a leader in the temporary shelter market. Dynamic’s clients range from Gulf Coast oil refineries to professional sports teams, with requirements that include blast resistance and custom dimensions. The company’s growth and industry-leading performance largely depends on the accurate installation of their shelters by their technicians and agents around the world. When company president Harold Warner decided to pursue establishing a certification program for the installation of Dynamic Air Shelters, he approached College of the North Atlantic to help develop a curriculum for certifying their Blast Resistant Shelter Installers and Service Technicians.
“We approached the college’s Office of Applied Research and they were eager to get involved and take on the project. We met on several occasions with Innovation Officer Kay Graham, and college instructors James Manning and Brendan Mullett, at the Burin Campus. They needed to understand the problem we needed to solve, and we needed to understand the college’s process for curriculum development.”
To demonstrate their course requirements, Dynamic set up a 46 x 66 foot shelter at the Burin Campus. The result is a standard certification program for the company’s installation and service technicians, which delivers higher customer confidence in the safety and quality of the air shelters.
“Certifying our installers gives credibility with customers,” says Warner. “Most of our customers are petro-chemical refinery operators - they need assurance that our people are competent to perform installations on their worksites - certification gives confidence.”
Regarding Dynamic’s overall experience, Warner is enthusiastic about working with the OAR team in the future. “All of our expectations were met; we now have a documented certification process to follow and our clients have increased confidence in our shelters.
“We also plan to use the Service Technician certification to develop a re-certification program and that will be a revenue generator for our company. We would most definitely partner with OAR again in the future.”
Dynamic Air Shelters Ltd.
Humber Valley Potato Co.Deer Lake, NL
When Michael Campbell, president of Humber Valley Potato Company, decided to develop a new agrifoods product, the college’s Office of Applied Research (OAR) delivered just the right combination of facilities, expertise and innovative personnel to help bring his Fresh Fry™ to life. Working with Sharon McLennon, Industry Liaison and Centre for Agrifood Development team members Leona Raymond and Cindy Morrissey in Carbonear, Humber Valley Potato was able to develop a Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP) process, extending the shelf life of their fresh French fry product by four weeks in comparison to similar products already in the market.
The MAP packaging process developed in partnership with the OAR is being implemented as a core process at the company’s new production facilities in Deer Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador. Regarding the success of the partnership with the OAR, the company is quick to point to the innovative and collaborative spirit that drives OAR staff.
“We have a great working relationship! The college staff took a high interest in our project, showing enthusiasm and helping to enhance our process for creating our new product, the Fresh Fry. Lab scheduling, flexibility, and professionalism were outstanding,” says Campbell.
“I believe the most unique capability of the Centre for Agrifood Development is the ability of the staff to give personal attention to each project and to also demonstrate genuine interest in what we were trying to achieve. They were very accommodating to supply needed equipment, and understood our requirements for product development.”
The success of the project has Humber Valley Potato thinking beyond potatoes to packaging other fresh, extended shelf life vegetable products in the future. In the meantime, Humber Valley is hard at work bringing their new production facility online and readying for their new product launch. Partnering with the college has enabled the company to accelerate their development goals.
“The process of developing MAP packaging for our product validated our product’s potential, and defined our shelf life capabilities,” says Campbell.
Would Humber Valley recommend partnering with the college? “We started our second project with the OAR team in February 2011.”
Humber Valley Potato Company
Jim Maunder, ArtistSt. John’s, NL
As an accomplished artist, educator and sculptor, Jim Maunder’s entire career has been based on creativity and innovation. Since graduating in 1994 from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s interdisciplinary studies, Maunder has exhibited his works to the world in mediums ranging from watercolour and acrylic to bronze, steel and glass. While he practices art in all mediums, Maunder is best known for his large-scale sculptures carved from industrial materials. His sculptures can be seen in various locations around the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and often invoke the spirit of the tenacity that shapes the province.
When the City of Mount Pearl issued a request for proposals for a new public sculpture in 2009, Maunder was looking for a way to quickly produce a 3D scaled model of his proposed design. Having learned of the capabilities of the college’s Office of Applied Research (OAR) through the government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s “Made Right Here” promotional campaign, he decided to approach the OAR to assist in the creation of a scale model of his proposed sculpture. Working with Randal Power of the college’s Innovative Product Development Centre, and Jason Legge from the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Maunder produced a 1/6 scale model of the proposed sculpture made from bronze and fabricated steel. The model won positive reviews and placed second in the competition; more importantly, Maunder discovered a whole new way to approach scale model design and fabrication:
“This method opens up several time-saving and accuracy possibilities, not just for model making, but for presentations and for large-scale productions,” he says.
When asked about partnering with OAR again in the future, Maunder is clear in his assessment of the project: “I was very pleased with the level of openness to ideas, and the patience and professionalism shown; Randal and Jason both went above and beyond the call of duty. The willingness of the college and the OAR to work with me on this allowed me to make a complicated model in a relatively short time. The 3D printing proved to be a quick and effective way to solve a problem when time and money is short, and the visual effect is quite convincing.”