Canadian Manufacturers Urged to Innovate Amid U.S. Election Uncertainty

Toronto ON — As Canadian manufacturers keep a watchful eye on the upcoming U.S. election and its potential impacts, industry leaders are issuing a wake-up call: innovate now or risk falling behind.

This message will take center stage at FABTECH Canada 2024, the premier event for the metal fabricating industry, held at the Toronto Congress Centre from June 11 to 13. The highlight will be a panel discussion titled “The Future State of Advanced Manufacturing in Canada,” scheduled for June 11 at 2:00 p.m.

Moderated by Stephanie Holko, Director of Project Development at NGen Canada, the panel features industry heavyweights including Max Ceron, Director of the CWB Association, Diane Reko, CEO and Chair of Reko International Group Inc., and François Desmarais, Director for Trade and Industry Affairs at the Canadian Steel Producers Association.

Election Uncertainty and Its Impact

“With the U.S. being Canada’s largest trading partner, these months before the election create uncertainty for businesses and historically result in delayed or cancelled capital projects until the election is decided,” Reko explained.

This uncertainty, coupled with global competition and a shortage of skilled workers, is prompting a call for Canadian manufacturers to adapt and innovate.

Advanced Technologies: A Path Forward

According to NGen’s analyses, relying on traditional sources of labor is no longer viable. “The only way to remain competitive will be to continue adopting advanced production technologies that are more knowledge and skill-intensive but require fewer, highly skilled workers,” Holko stated.

Panelists agree that automation and home-grown innovation are critical. Technologies such as collaborative robots and remote controls not only increase efficiency but also elevate job satisfaction by reducing repetitive tasks and enhancing oversight roles.

Strategic Investments and Collaborations

While automation requires significant upfront investment, the long-term benefits are substantial. “New technologies can provide transformational opportunities for cost reduction,” Reko noted. “For example, manufacturing a machine part can be reduced from 18 to eight hours by switching machines and revising CAD-CAM programs.”

Ceron emphasized the importance of collaboration among companies to achieve cost reductions and efficiencies. “The key is for Canadian manufacturers to stay alert for opportunities to improve business practices and interactions with customers, staff, and suppliers,” he said.

Sustainability and Market Access

Greening the manufacturing sector is also crucial. “We’re making good headway, yet there’s much more to be done,” said Desmarais, highlighting the steel sector’s efforts to reduce carbon footprints. He pointed out that while the Canadian steel industry is among the cleanest globally, ongoing projects aim to further decrease energy consumption and produce greener steel.

A Vision for the Future

The panelists are confident that with the right strategies, Canada can lead in digital manufacturing transformation. This would enrich Canadian lives, deliver superior products, create good jobs, and drive economic growth.

FABTECH Canada 2024 promises to be a pivotal event where these insights and innovations will be shared, providing a roadmap for the future of Canadian manufacturing.

For more information, visit the FABTECH Canada website.

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