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Spotlight: Program Series with Chad Sinclair – New Innovations

February 19, 2019
UBC MEL AMM Chad Sinclair Program Series

New innovations in manufacturing require new skills

Thoughts by Chad Sinclair, Director of UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership in Advanced Materials Manufacturing and the Advanced Materials Manufacturing Leadership Team

We don’t always think of Canada as a nation of manufacturing. Yet manufacturing accounts for more than 10 percent of our GDP – more than the combined contributions of mining, forestry, fishing and agriculture. A large portion of this activity involves manufacturing products with high added value that are complex to make.

Given how competitive the manufacturing industry is globally, there’s an increasing need for trained professionals who are able to see opportunities in new processes and products.

An exciting focus within today’s manufacturing industry is the move to what has been called Industry 4.0, which encompasses the shift to automation and autonomous control. Process simulations are a key part of this, enabling a company to run a digital twin and predict the impact of process changes on a manufacturing line. This reduces risk and enables better decision-making, as manufacturers can explore scenarios in the virtual world to see the consequences in terms of efficiency, energy and material use, environmental impacts and more.

It’s an approach that’s essential when using innovative composite materials and additive manufacturing processes. In these emerging areas, having a digital twin is crucial – when you can predict the outcome of the processes you can tailor the properties of the material to achieve your goals.

Historically, there has not been a lot of time devoted to training engineers in digital simulation technologies. But with manufacturing moving in this direction, it’s imperative that professionals are confident working in this area.

Students in the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Advanced Materials Manufacturing program spend time in each of their technical courses using digital tools to predict outcomes and link them back to real-world manufacturing processes.

Being able to work at the interface between the digital and physical realms – and to communicate with experts in each domain – requires an interesting combination of skills. The MEL’s integration of business courses through the UBC Sauder School of Business certainly helps our students strengthen this unique skillset.

There are many examples of advanced manufacturing practices happening here in BC, many stemming from research and innovations developed at UBC, which is home to one of the strongest manufacturing program in Canada.

Much of our strength comes from our embracing of digital manufacturing, perhaps not surprising given our location in Vancouver, a leading centre of digital technology and innovation. The region’s leadership in this sector was affirmed in November 2018 when the BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster – a consortium of industry and post-secondary partners – was one of five projects to receive funding from the federal government’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative.

Learn more about how the MEL in Advanced Materials Manufacturing can help you lead change in your industry, giving you the technical knowledge, foundational business skills and leadership confidence to excel in your career. UBC also offers the MEL in other sector-specific programs, including clean energy engineering, dependable software systems, high performance buildings, integrated water management, naval architecture and marine engineering and urban systems.

Advanced Materials Manufacturing

Advanced Materials Manufacturing

Develop new technical and business skills and accelerate your career in this rapidly moving field.

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