Investment in research to promote auto industry innovation

A million-dollar investment through the Automotive Partnership Canada will assist in the development of manufacturing processes to produce lighter-weight car parts, says UWindsor mechanical automotive and materials engineering professor Daniel Green.

His project is directed at applying electrohydraulic forming to auto parts. The process involves discharging a high-voltage current to create a pressure wave in fluid. The wave would then form a sheet metal blank against a die. Dr. Green hopes the process could increase design flexibility and decrease production costs, while reducing vehicle weights and thereby reducing fuel consumption.

Tuesday, federal Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear announced an investment of more than $1 million in the project, one of six to advance research and development in Canada’s auto industry by supporting new technologies to provide lighter materials and enhance battery efficiency.

“Because we are not unique in the problems we face, we can sell our solutions to the world, creating jobs, growth and prosperity here at home,” Goodyear said. “Innovation is about taking ideas to market and solving problems. The Automotive Partnership Canada initiative is all that and will lead to greener, better-performing vehicles while creating Canadian jobs and strengthening our economy.”

The projects are university-industry partnerships and will receive almost $34 million in total funding -- $19 million from government and a further $15 from industry and other partners.

Dr. Green’s project involves collaboration with Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, Amino North America Corporation, Novelis Global Technology Centre, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, and Natural Resources Canada’s CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory.

He said the new funding will help him to attract qualified researchers.

“They will be the front runners when the auto industry wants to use this technology and hire people who understand it,” he said.

Automotive Partnership Canada is a five-year, $145-million initiative that supports collaborative R&D and pushes the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation. As this is an industry-driven initiative, automotive companies provide both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the research projects’ success.

Gary Goodyear and Daniel Green

Federal Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear looks over a lightweight car part with engineering professor Daniel Green.