New program will prepare students to develop specialized 3D printing technologies for industry


A unique new program led by York University will train the engineers, researchers and entrepreneurs needed to ensure Canada has the skill in 3D printing technology that has become essential to compete globally in the manufacturing and biomedical sectors.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will provide $1.65 million over six years through its CREATE program to establish the Additive Manufacturing in Engineering Design and Global Entrepreneurship (AM-EDGE) training program, headquartered at York University with satellite locations at six other Canadian universities.

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is a process in which materials are built additively, layer by layer. In Canada, government and university research labs and small- and medium-sized enterprises are at the forefront of 3D printing. To become a global leader, Canada needs specialized technology developers and engineers, also trained in business models and entrepreneurship, to work closely with industry.

The AM-EDGE training program will enable graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows, and a number of undergraduate students, to learn the technical and professional skills required to design, develop, implement and operate 3D technologies. It will be a unique program that is research-driven, industry-oriented and offers experiential learning opportunities.

“York University is delighted to see the successful application of Professor Aleksander Czekanski, an expert in advanced applied mechanics, to the NSERC CREATE Program, designed to improve the mentoring and training environment for the Canadian researchers of tomorrow,” said Vice-President Research & Innovation Amir Asif. “Czekanski’s project, AM-EDGE, will establish a strong training and research network in advanced manufacturing in collaboration with industry, government, academic institutions and outreach programs, benefiting industry, academia, society and Canada.”

Aleksander Czekanski
Aleksander Czekanski

Czekanski, an associate professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, is NSERC/Quanser Chair in Design Engineering. He worked as a technical analyst and engineering manager in the automotive parts sector for a decade before coming to York.

Over the past 20 years, innovations in nanotechnology, ultralight multifunctional materials and metamaterials have led to a new paradigm in the application of advanced materials in the aerospace, automotive and bioengineering sectors, he says.

“Around the world now, 3D printing is absolutely revolutionizing manufacturing by significantly reducing costs, improving production efficiency and facilitating new product innovations,” says Czekanski.

“The AM-EDGE program will prepare our students to become leaders in design, development and adoption of 3D printing technologies. It will act as a technology and entrepreneurial consortium, similar to a consulting company, where students will work as trainee consultants on projects in collaboration with experts from research centres and industry, to improve existing 3D printing technologies and create new ones that are unique to our program.”

Three faculties at York will be partners in the headquarters of AM-EDGE at York: the Lassonde School of Engineering, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business. The six satellite locations will be at: McMaster University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, McGill University, Carleton University and the University of Saskatchewan. A dozen industrial partners and a number of research centres will also take part in the program.