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Standard Aero partners with Red River College for robotic training

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Standard Aero partners with Red River College
for robotic training

The welding equipment looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but it's part of the future of Winnipeg's aerospace industry.


January 26, 2009
By The Canadian Press

Jan. 26, 2009, Winnipeg – The welding equipment looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but it's part of the future of Winnipeg's aerospace industry.

The technology unveiled at Standard Aero last Thursday forms part of the new Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training at Standard Aero.

The robotic and micro-laser equipment, for work on specialized aircraft components, will be installed over the coming months.

It allows workers to weld, cut and coat tiny components that can't be worked by human hands and gives students a place to learn without leaving the province or country.

The centre is a partnership with Red River College, funded by $4.2 million from Ottawa and the province.

Kerry Boucher, Standard Aero's vice-president of engineering, said without the new equipment and the expertise to run it, the company would have to send the work outside Canada.

He also said the funding helps his company stay competitive during the economic downturn.

Standard Aero is the world's largest independent small turbine engine repair and overhaul company.

In June 2006, it signed a multimillion-dollar deal to repair and overhaul Rolls Royce T56 engines from NATO countries. The T56 powers the Lockheed Martin C-130 and P-3 aircraft.

College vice-president Ken Webb says it will be a future model for the college and the industry.

Federal Western Economic Diversification Minister Lynne Yelich and Andrew Swan, provincial minister of competitiveness, training and trade, said the new equipment will keep Winnipeg at the centre of the aerospace industry in Canada and competitive with the rest of the world.

It will also address the shortage of skilled workers in the industry, since students will be allowed to train on it beside experienced workers.

The equipment, which includes a robotic arm about the size of a Canadian Football League lineman, will also be used for research and repairing small components for other industries, like Motor Coach Industries.

"Even though times are tough, we have to invest in our industries,'' Swan said. “When good times return, we need to be able to move ahead full steam.''

THE CANADIAN PRESS