Research Projects / Partnerships
The foundation for applied research in the College rests upon our faculty, their practical research experience and their advanced academic credentials. Conestoga has already met with clear research success, and the applied research facilities are growing. Conestoga has practical, action-oriented students eager to gain "hands-on" research experience. Below you will find a list of applied research projects underway at the College, plans for future research and major networking activities.
Advanced Manufacturing Research
Interior Architectural Clock Design and Build of Prototype
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Connections program, the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII) Proof of Principle program and private sector partner, Exkulsiv Designs, this third-year Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) project covers the design and build of three architectural clock prototypes having gothic and modern design themes. The design covers also two different clock movements and two systems for clocks support for maintenance. The students applied the required knowledge and skills to produce the design of three architectural clocks. The entire mechanical documentation in the form of engineering drawings, bill of materials and cost analysis reports was also completely prepared at this stage.
Galvanometer and Controller(pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Connections Program and private sector partner, Virtek Vision International Inc., this third-year Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) and Computer Engineering Technology (CET) project aimed to design and implement a portable text fixture that would be used to test optical characteristics of galvanometers. The goals for this project were to identify possible second source galvanometer manufacturers and design and implement a portable test fixture to test the optical characteristics of the galvanometers.
Once alternative galvanometer models were identified, the alternate product was tested using the designed test fixture. This fixture would also be sent to the company producing the galvanometer to test them in their own facility. In this way, the testing done at Virtek and the company that manufactures the galvanometers should be identical.
Automated De-burring System (pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Connections program and private sector partner, COM DEV, this fourth-year Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) project focused on automating the current manual de-burring process at COM DEV. COM DEV manufactures high precision satellite components in low volume production. Current practice is to manually deburr the machined edges with great precision to maintain the part quality; this involves an extensive labour cost as well as being quite time consuming. COM DEV is looking for an automated solution.
Conestoga students executed a feasibility study, and prepared a process design and manufacturing cost study for automating this process. The focus was on the use of robotics technology to effect precise de-burring. An automated de-burring system was designed that uses a robot with a brush / ceramic stone tool deburring cell. This solution met the technical requirements of COM DEV in terms of movement tolerances, supporting the tooling during the deburring process and reducing noise, time, cost and manpower. Further proof-of-concept studies will be conducted to determine the efficiency of selected tools and to discover any unforeseen effects on the characteristics of the part, including surface finish.
Funded by the CONII Proof of Principle program and the private sector partner, LMR Inc., this project focuses on the refining of the technology used in the Longarm™. The Longarm™ is a device used to control and herd a large number of hogs through the holding pens in a barn using a roller that dispenses a swath of cloth. The purpose of the project is to refine the device to eliminate a problem related to the re-winding of the cloth where it is retracted unevenly leaving the device difficult to work with. The goal of the project is to make the product more user-friendly and to expand the market capacity of the device.
Cryogenic Pressure Vessel Inner Support Structure (pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Connections program and private sector partner, Fulton Engineered Specialties Inc., a group of seven students from the 4th year of the Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) program, were challenged with the task of designing a more efficient and easily constructible strapping system for a 600 gallon portable cryogenic pressure vessel manufactured by the industry partner.
Flexible Manufacturing Cell (FMC) for Chainsaw Chain Processing & Manipulation (pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Connections program and private sector partner, Blount Canada Ltd., third-year MSE students applied the required knowledge and skills to create viable solutions to challenges regarding the completion of the mechanical design for all 3 workstations of the FAMC by performing analysis and optimization of initial concepts and solutions.
Multi-Storey Private Residence Deck Lift (pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Connections program and private sector partner, Cambridge Elevating Inc., this fourth-year Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) project was to design a multi-story private residence deck similar to the current model used by the industry partner. With the proposition to design a new deck lift model, came a number of constraints that the company wished the lift to meet at the end of the project duration.
Dual is Cool
Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and a private sector partner, Renmar Designs Inc., this proof-of-principle project involved the design optimization and fabrication of an after-market oil cooling and filtration system for use in the motorcycle market. The prototypes have been delivered to the partner and are expected to be used in field testing for product verification.
Computer Simulation of Laser Material Removal (pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence - Manufacturing and Materials and a private sector partner, Virtek Vision International Inc., this proof-of-concept project used COMSOL software to simulate the removal of layers of material in laser engraving process. As a part of an on-going project, the researcher used the software to measure the geometry of the laser material removal/engraving including depth and width measures. The software can be used to optimize production processes and reduce time, material and waste costs.
Industrial Safety Glove Assembly Automation
Assembly and feeding of glove parts for manufacture is a completely manual process; automated processes to align and feed glove parts into the sewing operation have not been developed. This project overcomes this problem by designing an automated process for manufacturing gloves for the industrial, consumer and tourist markets. This project is sponsored by Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) and a private sector partner.
Flexible Manufacturing Cell (FMC) for RIM's Black-Berry (pdf)
Working in collaboration with Research in Motion (RIM), this third-year Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSE) project focused on identifying the most optimal method for the automation of three key tasks for two models of BlackBerry® smartphone.
The three tasks of the operating keys being tested are:
- Tactile feel (click) testing of all operating keys (front, top and sides)
- Software downloading through the device USB interface
- Product identification label applied inside battery compartment
Conestoga students designed, built and demonstrated the effective operation of a six-station flexible manufacturing cell (FMC) that met the technical and output specifications required by RIM - and in the process, developed a method of integrating tactile testing of the BlackBerry® keys (through force feedback sensor selection) with displacement sensors in the software platform to quickly identify acceptable and defective keys.
In-Mould Plastic Temperature Measurement
Funded by Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) and a private sector partner, this project examines optimization of the time a plastic-injected molded part remains in the mould with a view towards cost and environmental savings. The project will establish how process temperature can be determined and used in a controlled loop to optimize the plastic injection molding machine. Process temperature will be used for quality control measurement data and statistical process control data.
Experimental Vibratory Bowl Feeder
Funded by Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) and a private sector partner, this research involves the design and production of a vibratory bowl feeder (VBF) that maximizes the orientation and efficiency of the component feed. The research involves the modification of a VBF to determine the optimum bowl shape, size, devices, and efficiencies (number of components per minute).
Applied Research Centre for Mechanical Systems Engineering
Funded by a $489,648 grant from the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) and an additional $994,856 from private sector partners, this Centre houses the infrastructure to support automated assembly line research including product and process design, and process control. Researchers can undertake needs analysis, feasibility analysis, tooling development, process automation, reliability evaluation, maintenance planning, and material flow analysis. Technical issues such as vibration, dynamic control and damping, position accuracy and precision, sequence control, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), repeatability, reliability, on-line monitoring, and new design algorithms for automated manufacturing can all be investigated.
Built Environment Research
Developing In-Suite Ventilating Air Handler Market Infrastructure (pdf)
This project involves the development of in-suite, high-rise ventilating air handlers (HVAH). The focus is on developing and testing innovative subsystems that can help define the potential for HVAHs to become more effective, affordable and efficient.
This research project is sponsored by Natural Resources Canada ($195,136).
Built Environment Research and Education Centre (BEREC)
This project supports infrastructure that will enhance our ability to design "healthy buildings" and more accurately predict the service life of building materials and components. The infrastructure includes specialized computer hardware and software, and lab and field test / measurement equipment that allows for the characterization and analysis of a wide-range of performance factors over the life cycle of a building. The Centre received $431,000 from the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) and an additional $697,000 from private sector partners.
Health and Life Sciences Research
A Clinical Practice Monitoring (CPM) Tool (pdf)
Funded by the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) Interact program and private sector partner, the Guelph Family Health Team (GFHT), the Clinical Practice Profiling Tool project aimed to develop a solution that makes use of the requirements the OntarioMD Clinical Management System (CMS) Certification Program placed on Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendors for importing/exporting patient data.
However, instead of using this data for the purposes of importing/exporting, the goal with this project is to use it as a source for data that the tool can then use to develop a profile of the clinical practice. This data is then used to make informed decisions about the clinical practice and, subsequently, take informed steps to work with patient populations (e.g. diabetics) on a collective basis. For instance, the resulting tool will provide an indication of the status of a particular population group (e.g. diabetics), as well as determine how well a given practice adheres to some key clinical best practices associated with that particular population group.
Needing Help but Feeling Helpless: Perspectives from Frontline Staff When Dealing with Responsive Behaviours(pdf)
The care needs of our population have measurably increased with aging, precipitating the movement of people with more complex health needs from the hospital into the community. As a result, Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities in Canada face many challenges in attempting to provide quality of care to residents. In long-term care settings there is a high prevalence of dementia and mental health disorders that can lead to behavioural symptoms such as agitation, aggression, psychosis and depression among nursing home residents. In Ontario, the most common concern reported by long-term care (LTC) healthcare providers in dealing with residents' challenging behaviours was the accessibility & availability of resources, especially during crisis situations (MOHLTC, 2007). Moreover, lack of knowledge of appropriate responses, existing resources, & poor linkages between health care sectors were also noted as barriers to optimal care for LTC residents.The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare providers' needs for appropriately responding to residents' challenging behaviours in LTC facilities in South Western Ontario, Canada.
PSW Medication Administration Model: Optimizing Our Workforce Skills to Enhance Seniors Care (pdf)
Health human resources (HHR) planning has repeatedly been identified as a top priority for action (Romanow, 2002; Dault et al., 2004). Effects from the current and worsening shortage are being felt across all sectors in nursing (McIntrye & Ceci, 2003), but it is especially evident in the seniors' care sector. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the need to optimize the skills of the current workforce and has developed the Millennium Development Goals to advocate for simple health care tasks currently performed by highly skilled personnel be delegated to non-nurses in sub-acute care settings. Consequently, the practice of medication administration by unregulated care providers (UCPs) is becoming common practice in the retirement home sector and community care sector across Ontario, as well as in long-term care sectors in British Columbia, Alberta, and the Eastern Provinces. Medication administration by UCPs is a delegated act and while there are clear practice guidelines for registered nurses delegating such tasks to UCPs there is a paucity of guidelines for training UCPs in this skill. Conestoga College, the Research Institute for Aging, and Schlegel Senior Villages have joined together to create a medication administration program that address these issues and leads to an effective, safe, and sustainable medication delivery program for personal support workers (PSWs).
Role Clarity: A Necessary Step to Promoting Interprofessional Practice in Long-Term Care (pdf)
Funded by Health Force Ontario (HFO), this Enhanced Seniors Care project focused on the care needs of our population, which have measurably increased with aging and precipitating the movement of people with more-complex health needs from the hospital into the community; as well as, the many challenges in attempting to provide quality of care to residents. One fundamental concern identified by the health care industry is the health human resource issues faced by these facilities. Using four identified themes across the PSW, RPN and RN groups, and with input from our clinical partners, the Clinical Nursing role Effectiveness Framework (Calgary Regional Health, 2008) was adapted and modified to create a role clarity framework specific for long-term care.
This Project Poster won the People's choice for Best Research Poster at the 2009 OLTCA Research Day.
“How It's Made, How It Works – Understanding the Connection Between Math and Science and the World Around Us”
Sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, this unique project provides 174 at-risk youth with hands-on, science and technology mentoring experiences across seven thematic areas. The program will connect math and science in the classroom, with research and teaching in the college, and future academic and career opportunities. The College received $149,973 from the province in support of this project.
There are two additional major research thrusts for the college: Health and Telecommunications. In the health field, research relates to health informatics and nursing. In telecommunications, research is directed towards wireless networks, access and transmission technologies, synthetic instrumentation, testing, and electronics manufacturing.
Conestoga College is involved in several partnerships which support applied research and development activities, including:
Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII)
A network of 10 colleges in Ontario who have come together to build capacity for industry-led applied research and commercialization activities. The CONII received $3.5million from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation to support our activities. See the news release.
Conestoga is one of Canada's seven leading polytechnic institutes. Polytechnics Canada's priorities relate to trans-Canada academic credit transfer, applied research and commercialization activities, resolving national skills shortages, and supporting the export of Canadian polytechnic education. www.polytechnicscanada.ca.