Canadian Plastics

Researchers for hire

By Cindy Macdonald, associate editor   

Small and medium-sized businesses generally don't have the equipment, personnel or time to pursue the type of pre-commercial research and development that has the potential to set a company apart from...

Small and medium-sized businesses generally don’t have the equipment, personnel or time to pursue the type of pre-commercial research and development that has the potential to set a company apart from the pack. But there are many universities, private firms and government institutes open to collaboration or contract research.

Simon Fraser University’s web site notes that working with a university provides the private sector access to specialized expertise and state-of-the-art equipment. This minimizes the investment needed to develop competitive products and may reduce development time. It also presents opportunities to license a university technology.

Most universities have a research or technology transfer liaison office to help connect industry with the proper researchers, and to facilitate applications for funding and advise on intellectual property issues and contracts.

To facilitate your search for a research partner, this table includes some universities and organizations from across Canada that have a clear emphasis on polymer research as it relates to plastics processing.


Another valuable tool is the National Expertise Index, which can be found on Industry Canada’s Strategis Internet site, NEI provides a single window to access individual researchers at universities, colleges and federal and provincial government laboratories. It has links to over 14,000 researchers and research team home pages. It is searchable by keyword, sector (including polymers, plastics, and composites) and by geographic location.

Alberta Research Council
Edmonton, Alta.
Working on computer simulations for part and mold design for injection molding, and can also assist with selection, design and optimization of properties of polymers.
Bodycote Ortech
Mississauga, Ont.
905/822-4111, ext. 697
Compounding, extrusion, injection molding, vacuum forming, compression molding, polymer chemistry, process development, product characterization and failure analysis.
British Columbia Institute of Technology, Technology Centre
Burnaby, B.C.
Applied research in manufacturing and automation, including prototype development and technical problem solving.
Centre de Recherche Industrielle de Quebec (CRIQ)
Ste-Foy, Que.
Product and process development, resin selection, mold design, lab facilities.
Centre for Automotive Materials and Manufacturing (CAMM)
Kingston, Ont.
CAMM is a joint project of industry, Queens University and the government of Ontario to advance competitiveness of auto parts manufacturers. Past projects have included vibration welding and impact-modified TPOs.
Ecole Polytechnique Montral, Applied Polymer Research Centre
Montreal, Que.
Main activities include modeling and CAD of polymer and composite manufacturing processes, characterization and rheology, properties of injection molded thermoplastics and plastics recycling.
Industrial Research and Development Institute (IRDI)
Midland, Ont.
Product development, flow simulation, injection molding services, materials testing.
McMaster University, Centre for Advanced Polymer Processing and Design (CAPPA-D)
Hamilton, Ont.
Projects involve formulation, conversion and characterization of plastics, mathematical modeling of extrusion, thermoforming, rotational molding.
Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO)
Mississauga, Ont.
Makes connections between industry and academic participants for research initiatives, including consortia and collaborations. Supports research projects in polymers and plastics, metals and metal processing.
National Research Council — Industrial Materials Institute (IMI)
Boucherville, Que.
Research and development dealing with computer simulation models and techniques for process optimization, and development and perfecting of processing involving polymers, metals, ceramics and their composites.
National Research Council — Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute (IMTI)
London, Ont.
Institute focuses on integration of manufacturing technologies with an emphasis on rapid prototyping, industrial lasers and virtual environment (virtual reality) technologies.
Polymer Engineering Co. Ltd.
Burnaby, B.C.
Provide research and development service in polymer application, chemistry, technology and processing.
Quantex Inc.
Longueuil, Que.
Chemical and mechanical testing of polymers and composites, deformulation, on-line monitoring, contract R&D.
Queens University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Kingston, Ont.
Research activity covers polymer production technology, polymer processing and rheology, simulation, process modeling, quality and productivity improvement.
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C.
Open to collaborative research. Areas of specialization include: advanced materials, micro-machine and micro-fabrication research, robotics, nano-imaging.
Universit de Sherbrooke, Bureau de liaison entreprises — Universit
herbrooke, Que.
The university houses a Centre of Excellence on Intelligent Sensing for Innovative Structures (re: application of fibre-reinforced composites in civil engineering), a polymer science research lab, a material characterization and development group. Also covered are composite materials and polymer rheology.
Universit Laval, Centre de recherche en sciences en ingnierie des macromolcules
Ste-Foy, Que.
Research program includes streams focusing on controlled-architecture polymers, oriented polymers and polymer interfaces. Practical applications in recycling, composite panels, polymer characterization and packaging materials.
University of Alberta, Advanced Engineered Materials Centre
Edmonton, Alta.
Areas of research include polymers, catalysts and composites; materials processing; mechanical properties.
University of British Columbia, Dept. of Metals and Materials Engineering, Composites Group
Vancouver, B.C.
Research includes process modeling for manufacturing of composite structures.
University of Toronto, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Toronto, Ont.
Researchers specialize in high performance composites, biodegradation of polymers, processing, in-line monitoring and analytical chemistry of polymers.
University of Toronto, Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Toronto, Ont.
Projects involve microcellular foamed plastics, computer-based design technologies and concurrent engineering tools and systems.
University of Waterloo, Institute for Polymer Research
Waterloo, Ont.
519/888-4567, ex. 4789
Fields of research include polymer processing, reactive extrusion, alloys and blends, computer-aided analysis and optimization of processing operations, ion-conducting polymers.
University of Western Ontario, Surface Science Western
London, Ont.
An analytical laboratory specializing in surface characterization and failure analysis of materials. Addresses fisheyes in film; problems with polymerization, adsorption, oxidation, catalysis; and poor print quality.


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