Is Manufacturing Medical Devices In Ontario The Future?
Ontario is rich with talent and technology. With vaccinations being rolled out within the next few weeks, one must ask “why can’t we manufacture our vaccines in Ontario?” Our Premiere has made a push on Made-In-Canada vaccines however due to the pace in which vaccines need to be rolled out – the Federal Government has pushed back. The Feds are mentioning that companies and corporations have to construct and certify these buildings for vaccine manufacturing before we can produce a Made-In-Canada product. This process can take years. With the urgent need for vaccinations in Canada, we are forced to rely on importing the vaccines from Europe and other countries. The question remains: “is manufacturing medical devices in Ontario the future?” Just because we can’t create vaccines in time doesn’t mean we can’t focus on domestic medical equipment.
Ontario Manufacturing is thriving in the pandemic response. Over the past year (since March 2020), many Ontario manufacturers have re-tooled their manufacturing processes and production lines in response to helping our Front Line health care workers. Instead of producing automotive parts, they are now producing PPE, Acrylic Face Shields and laboratory test equipment to support and service our health care industry. The pivot from automotive parts manufacturing to medical device manufacturing means that new advanced manufacturing processes requires re-examination. Companies had to use Federal Government Grants to commission and install new automation and robotics within their facilities. What is now called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (aka: Industry 4.0) has been quickened by the pandemic. Factories now have to automate and digitize their existing processes. Advanced robotics, Digitization of machines and re-training of manufacturing staff towards Automation is currently happening today within our factories.
Industry 4.0 Tech Sector
With the right industrial automation and robotics, a widget or part can be produced from raw materials without any manual labour. Currently this digitization of factories and automation is being developed in Oro-Medonte (just 15 minutes Norht of Barrie, ON). Similar to Ontario’s Technology Park (K-W, Cambridge and Guelph), Simcoe County is developing Canada’s first Advanced Manufacturing Medical Innovation Park (MediCAPark). This is an 82 acre Advanced manufacturing park with a focus on Medical contract manufacturing facilities. This park is in collaboration with many medical device contract manufacturers. Aiming to build a Canadian medical supply infrastructure that is strictly Made-In-Canada will solidify Ontario as a technological hub for advanced manufacturing. With proximity to Lake Simcoe Regional Airport (LSRA), this will enhance and stabilize Ontario as a leader in Medical Device Manufacturing.
Gone are the days where Manufacturing must be looked at as a traditional dirty , dark building. With digitization, Industry 4.0, automation and robotics, manufacturing roles must be looked at with excitement and opportunity. Companies that embrace Industry 4.0 are hiring individuals that can bring a sense of new-age technology to their existing processes. Well paying career opportunities within Engineering, Automation and Robotics are being created to re-vamp and revitalize old existing factories and processes.
Align Your Plant & Team With The Industry 4.0 Revolution
In short, Manufacturing is going through a revolutionary change. This is similar to what we went through in the Industrial revolution in 1969. The Pandemic has quickened the pace of change with companies receiving much needed governmental grants. This will allow them to fully automate their facilities to support our much needed PPE needs. Moving forward, Manufacturing should not be looked at as the traditional roles that existed in the 1970s. It should be viewed as an excitement industry and tremendous opportunity for growth via robotics and automation.