Projects

Applied research projects

Collaborating with Conestoga gives industry and community partners access to faculty expertise, student employees, and the college's innovative lab spaces and equipment.

Here are some of the applied research projects we conducted:

Motoring to success with Conestoga's Centre for Smart Manufacturing and Digital Innovation

The challenge

With gas and diesel-powered machines currently dominating the small utility vehicle market, Niagara-based Electric Tractor Inc. (ETI) is working to develop electric alternatives. These options will provide residential and commercial-use vehicles that are emissions-free, quiet and easy to handle. ETI is currently enrolled in a research partnership with Conestoga College to design a prototype vehicle. They embarked on a concurrent project to identify the best electric motor and controller for the job.

Electric Tractor Inc.

The solution

Researchers in Conestoga's Centre for Smart Manufacturing and Digital Innovation (CSMDI) sourced and evaluated three motors and two controllers for the project. The team identified the optimal motor and controller combination for use in the company’s electric vehicle prototype.

“The talented student team, expert faculty guidance and first-class research facilities have all contributed to a remarkable, head-turning design and impressive performance profile of our new electric vehicle. With the program now in full prototype build and test, this next-generation, industry first, electric utility tractor will soon be available to help move the world to a greener future. The partnership with Conestoga has been key to taking our business to the next important phase.” – Richard Zirger, CEO, Electric Tractor Inc.

Electric Tractor photo

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

Finding new life for the world's growing supply of electric vehicle batteries

The challenge

Conestoga and Global Electric Electronic Processing (GEEP) have embarked on a research partnership to enhance e-waste recycling. The research team worked with students to identify best practices for re-manufacturing, re-purposing, and recycling electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries. They recognize the immense economic and environmental opportunities for the growing supply and demand of lithium-ion batteries. The partnership with Conestoga aims to research and explore options for repurposing these batteries and making use of their energy-storing capacity.

Global Electric Electronic Processing (GEEP)

The solution

Conestoga's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) developed a feasibility report for GEEP that was tailored to the unique economic and technical values for lithium-ion batteries, which are now being re-purposed in Canada. In addition, the report identified valuable information for competitive investment in e-waste recycling technology in North America.

“The Conestoga (WEEE) research team has provided us with the market analysis and technological projections that help us define and develop our strategic focus. We look forward to future collaborations with the college.” – Sean Dent, Vice President of Operations, GEEP

Electric Tractor photo

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

Prototype development puts Ontario-based company on the road to product commercialization

The challenge

Industrial Cyber Sensing (ICS), an Internet-of-Things company that develops real-time sensors for the trucking industry, is developing an integrated sensor system. This system permits managers and owner-operators with access to real-time data on the trailers in their fleet with the company's mobile app. A research partnership with Conestoga offered an opportunity to leverage faculty and student expertise to accelerate the time to market for the company's innovative system.

ndustrial Cyber Sensing (ICS)

The solution

Conestoga's ICS research team designed printed circuit boards to support two of the company's latest sensors, a fuel cap sensor and a load capacity sensor and successfully developed working prototypes for both.

“The prototypes created by the student researchers are excellent. Their hard work has launched us into the next stage of development, the manufacture of products ready for commercialization.” – Joe McLeod, CEO, Industrial Cyber Sensing

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

Augmented reality yields promising results for local medical cannabis producer

The challenge

James E. Wagner Cultivation, a Kitchener-based producer of medical cannabis, was seeking a way to facilitate training and knowledge-sharing for senior staff members and their junior counterparts, in the company’s new 345,000 square-foot growing facility.

James E. Wagner Cultivation

The solution

Two Software Engineering Technology students conducted a feasibility study of an augmented reality (AR) solution to provide real-time visual guidance to staff members. AR improved training outcomes and helped ensure the company will meet regulatory compliance. The company adopted the features and design requirements recommended by the team. With the successful outcome, JWC subsequently partnered with Conestoga to develop a prototype for the project solution.

“The partnership with Conestoga’s research team has helped create a framework that will aid further projects. We were really impressed with the outcomes of this augmented reality project and are excited to see a working prototype in action.”– Nathan Woodworth, President & CEO, James E. Wagner Cultivation

James E. Wagner Cultivation

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

The challenge

Meal in a Jar is a Waterloo-based business that provides ready-to-eat meal solutions using ingredients such as fresh vegetables, cooked meats and grains in glass jars. While the company had experience running a successful meal delivery business, they were interested in getting their products onto grocery store shelves. To do this, Meal in a Jar required the necessary expertise and equipment to determine the shelf-life of their products.

Meal in a Jar

The solution

Through an applied research project, Conestoga's Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology collaborated with Meal in a Jar to study the different components in the meals and the headspace inside the glass containers. Researchers also conducted shelf-life testing in the college's Food Laboratory where they monitored microbial growth and determined how long the food could remain safe to eat. The research report provided by Conestoga enabled Meal in a Jar to increase production and expand into Canadian grocery stores.

“The researchers at Conestoga were very thorough and easy to work with. It's difficult for small businesses to do their own research, so this collaboration and the grant money we received … it was all a huge, huge help. They know me, they know my product, and I'm hoping there's an opportunity to collaborate again in the future.” – Irene Divaris, Owner, Meal in a Jar

Meal in a Jar

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

The challenge

Niagara Belco Elevator Inc. has been manufacturing elevator swing doors for over three decades. To satisfy both fire and building codes, two different locking mechanisms were required for the doors. The company wanted to develop a single-point latching system that would meet the criteria for both codes and simplify the design.

Niagara Belco Elevator Inc.

The solution

Researchers in Conestoga's SMART (Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Recycling Technologies) Centre partnered with Niagara Belco Elevator to develop a prototype electromechanical locking system that satisfies both building and fire codes. The project involved producing a detailed description of the design concept followed by the final mechanical design, including test result data and prototype hardware. The Hamilton-based company now plans to commercialize the prototype in a new product offering.

“Conestoga and Niagara Belco Elevator have an excellent relationship and this latest project is definitely the most productive and rewarding that we have done to date. For this particular situation, we've actually come out the other end with what we believe will be a production-ready product fairly soon and we're very excited about that possibility.” – Derek Moorse, General Manager, Niagara Belco Elevator Inc.

Niagara Belco Elevator Inc.

This project was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program.

Partnership with Conestoga leads to key growth for assistive device developer

The challenge

Novalte is a home and wellness solution provider that helps people with disabilities live independently. Their device, the Emitto, is an assistive technology that controls electronic devices remotely. Novalte needed custom systematic testing for the Emitto to scale up and empower more people with smart-home solutions.

Novalte

The solution

The Conestoga research team conducted thorough testing of the Emitto to identify issues with internet drops and the device's connectivity to the many technologies it supports. This includes off-the shelf smart devices such as Philips HUE lights and Novalte’s proprietary technologies, such as the company's hospital bed controller. The research team succeeded in drafting a detailed test procedure to recognize points of failure in the system and appropriate steps to resolve issues.

“This research has led to secured funding for a pilot study to further test the assistive device. Thank you to Conestoga and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, who helped get us to this key stage in our company's growth.” – Michael Cullen, CTO, Novalte

Novalte photo

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

The challenge

P&P Optica Inc. (PPO) developed a unique solution for assessing and sorting food in-line and in real time. Their Smart Imaging System combines patented imaging technology with artificial intelligence to effectively read and understand food chemistry. The Waterloo-based company wanted to tackle an important issue in the beef industry: steak tenderness and flavour. Market studies show 1 in 10 steaks is considered tough, and therefore low in quality. Previous approaches to assessing tenderness involved error-prone visual inspections and time-consuming laboratory testing.


The solution

Through an applied research project, Conestoga's Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology partnered with PPO and VG Meats to develop a tenderness inspection algorithm to work with PPO's spectrometers. This research will lead to an in-line, real-time solution for analyzing steaks, ultimately providing manufacturers and consumers with accurate information about the quality of their food. The result for food processors will be improved margins, lower costs and safer products.

This project was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program.

Terahertz technology casts a new light on black plastics recycling

The challenge

TeTechS has partnered with Conestoga College's Advanced Recycling and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Lab to explore a novel application of terahertz technology. Invisible to the human eye, terahertz light falls in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwave and infrared light. It then passes harmlessly through materials like clothing, ceramics, wood, and plastic.

It's the latter application that has proven promising in tackling one of the most challenging issues existing in the segregation process of e-waste; black plastics. Black plastics can be found in daily products such as coffee cup lids, take-out containers, computer monitor casings, cellphones, laptops, and keyboards.

Terahertz technology

The solution

The research marks a step forward in the development of a terahertz sensor array prototype. Terahertz can identify black plastics for efficient sorting during the recycling process.

“Together with TeTechS, we've laid the groundwork for the development and commercialization of a new technology, with the potential to revolutionize e-waste recycling. Such research studies are key to sustainable innovation in our region. It's exciting.” – Dr. Hamid Karbasi, NSERC IRCC in Advanced Recycling and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Lab

Terahertz technology photo

This research was funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.