Learn more about RDC's CIM-TAC
On August 20, Red Deer College welcomed Travis Toews, Minister of Treasury Board and Finance, to deliver an update on the province’s economic recovery plan. While on campus, Minister Toews, Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer-North, Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South, and members of the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce took in a tour of RDC's Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing - Technology Access Centre, or CIM-TAC, as we often call it. We talk about the CIM-TAC a lot. Recently, we’ve shared stories about our ability to answer the province’s PPE needs, and receiving a significant grant along with the TAC designation. But, what exactly is the CIM-TAC, and how does this facility support RDC students, central Alberta communities and the provincial economy?
The Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing – Technology Access Centre is, on its surface, a facility filled with advanced manufacturing equipment and staffed by a team of experts. The CIM-TAC’s position at RDC, however, gives users access to a much larger body of experts and project support including RDC students, educators, innovation partners and funders. The CIM-TAC is located on RDC’s Main Campus, and is one of the key facilities of our Four Centres, which were built in the early 2000s with the financial support of hundreds of community members, including dozens of business and industry supporters.
RDC’s CIM-TAC houses $4.2M in prototype and advanced manufacturing equipment, including 3D printers and laser scanning technologies. CIM-TAC technicians can help users problem solve, engineer designs, create 3D models and fabricate prototypes. A member of the central Alberta manufacturing community, the CIM-TAC can also connect users to RDC’s community partner organizations, industry experts, and funding opportunities. In this way, a key component of the work of the CIM-TAC is to help bring the innovative ideas of its clients to life. Check out some of their success stories here.
The TAC designation
Tech-Access Canada is a non-profit organization based in Ottawa, representing the pan-Canadian network of 60 Technology Access Centres (TACs). Conferring this designation on RDC’s facility connects our College to a network that includes 3 million square feet of dedicated innovation and applied research space, $320 million in state-of-the art equipment and research facilities, and 1,700 experts in business innovation and applied research and development, with in-depth industry experience. At the same time, RDC’s connection to Tech-Access Canada introduces new business and industry clients to the capabilities and technical expertise of our College, and raises the profile of the projects we complete. RDC’s CIM-TAC has long been a unique and affordable resource for small and medium sized businesses in central Alberta who don’t have the capacity or the need to create in-house research and development facilities, and the designation with increase both the amount of clients we can serve, and the ways that we can serve them. The designation also includes $1.75 million in funding over five years, which will increase capacity in advanced design, design simulation, and prototype testing.
“With the addition of a Technology Access Centre, we will be able to offer the region access to increased applied research capacity, increased industrial services, higher profile for entrepreneurial clients, and access to a national network for collaboration.” - Joel Gingrich, Dean, School of Trades and Technologies
Creating opportunities for learners
Hands-on learning is a hallmark of a Red Deer College education. Partnerships with local businesses and organizations support learning across a range of programs and provide opportunities for real-world problem solving. Work in the CIM-TAC inspires critical and creative thinking and contributes to technical knowledge. RDC students can work as Applied Research Technicians, contribute to individual projects or use the facility to work on Capstone projects for their programs. Each year, RDC’s CIM-TAC engages directly with an average of 44 students. Through these opportunities, students learn important skills and gain valuable experience, as well as developing relationships within the industries they will go on to work in. The CIM-TAC’s positioning at Red Deer College also supports faculty development, as RDC instructors in many of our Schools consult on unique projects and challenges.
With this new connection to Tech-Access Canada, projects in RDC’s CIM-TAC will undoubtedly grow in complexity, variety and volume. At the same time, the accompanying grant will contribute to developing the facility and equipment, as well as the ways that students, staff and faculty can support innovators to bring their big ideas to life. We know that Red Deer College is a critical organization in supporting the health and vibrancy of our provincial economy and we’re proud of the role that the CIM-TAC plays in supporting this work in Alberta students, entrepreneurs and industry.
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