CANADIAN MANUFACTURING FACILITIES
MILLION, CANADIANS EMPLOYED IN MANUFACTURING
PRIVATE SECTOR R&D
BILLION, ANNUAL CANADIAN EXPORT VALUE
As we transition to a digital economy, training is the critical determinant of our ability to adopt emerging tools and technologies, and to use these tools to prosper on the global stage.
The Deloittes’ 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness survey puts talent as the number-1 source of manufacturing competitiveness. With Canada’s manufacturing workforce aging more rapidly than benchmark (over 20% of manufacturing employees are over 55 (up from 9% in 1995), UBC has committed to an innovative and growing portfolio of traditional education and professional training.
20 countries account for 85% of total global manufacturing output. Of these 20 countries, 11 have advanced manufacturing capacity. For each of these 11 advanced manufacturing countries, their manufacturing sector represents at least 10% of national GDP. Canada is a member of this small group of nations, but on most measures (output, output per head, % of national output) it is at the back of the pack.
There has been a massive resurgence in manufacturing research investment in the USA, Germany, the UK and indeed, across the EU generally. In order to maintain its position at the top table of advanced manufacturing countries, Canada needs to make a commensurate long-term investment in advanced manufacturing research and training. And in 2014, the Canadian Science Technology and Innovation Council made advanced manufacturing a strategic priority area for investment for the first time.
MANUFACTURERS IN BC
Materials science has created a wealth of new materials: alloys, composites, bio and bio-mimetic materials, graphene, and quantum materials. But we struggle to convert these scientific breakthroughs into real world products. It’s risky and costly. Typically it takes well over ten years.
Digital simulation technologies, at which UBC excels, are the only practical way of accelerating the discovery-prototype-production cycle.
The Aerospace and automotive sectors are mainstays of the advanced manufacturing sector. We think of transportation as a social good. But our transportation systems today are environmentally disastrous.
Transport accounts for approximately one quarter of GHG emissions worldwide (USA 26%, 24% Europe, Canada 23%).
This is a problem with an ineluctable solution: vehicles need to be made lighter. Reduce the mass of a vehicle and it requires less fuel. This is true for conventional fossil fuels. It’s true for natural gas engines. It’s true for hydrogen fuel cell engines and it’s true for electric vehicles.
Advanced manufacturing technologies are a pillar of biomedical engineering – especially in the area of implants, where the UBC team has long experience, and the emerging field of wearable technologies.
Apart from biomedical applications, advanced manufacturing technologies are making a profound difference to human wellbeing when it comes to making vehicles safer. According to the World Bank, Road transportation is now number 8 in the world’s global burden of disease. Vehicles need to become safer which means that they need to be manufactured from better structural materials. Road transportation kills more than 1.5m people every year. That’s more than the number of people who die each year from malaria or TB or HIV.