Learning Factory at W Booth School Delivers for Edson Packaging – Faculty of Engineering

Learning Factory at W Booth School Delivers for Edson Packaging

A global leader in high performance packaging equipment has turned to the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology as a select partner in innovation.

The windows of John Hodgins Engineering Buildings with green trees and a blue sky reflected in them

Hamilton-based Edson Packaging Machinery Limited, a Pro Mach company, has been manufacturing leading edge industrial case and tray packaging systems for more than 50 years. Its machines are widely used to case pack many household items ranging from tissue products and detergents to pharmaceuticals and beverages.

This summer the company engaged the W Booth School in a time-sensitive project to develop a custom tool attachment for a robotic arm assembly fitted to a packaging system used to demonstrate Edson’s state-of-the-art capabilities.

This tool was designed and made in the Learning Factory, a new manufacturing facility located at the W Booth School and set to officially open in fall 2017. It’s designed to replicate a fully integrated ‘factory of the future’ and features the core ingredients of Industry 4.0, including a modular layout, internet-based connectivity and technologies that enable small run, bespoke manufacturing.

“The Learning Factory is a shared space where students, faculty and industry partners come together to design and make things using modern processes and materials,” said Dr. Mo Elbestawi, Director of the W Booth School. “It’s a place to tackle real world manufacturing challenges through practice, technology and mentorship.”

The Edson project came to the Learning Factory through a contact made earlier this year at a manufacturers’ conference. It was assigned to Reiner Schmidt (pictured), a recent graduate of the W Booth School (Bachelor of Engineering, McMaster 2015) and co-founder of Roboteurs, a Hamilton start-up focused on automation-related products and services. He’s been contracted to help commission the factory while serving as a technical lead on a variety of projects.

From start to finish, he delivered the custom tool to Edson in less than two weeks. “This project shows how the Learning Factory serves as a go-to resource for local manufacturers keen to innovate,” said Dr. Elbestawi, noting the ongoing leadership of key faculty members, including Dr. Ishwar Singh.

The team at Edson says its ‘Made at Mac’ tool will attach to a plant scale demonstration system on display at the Pack Expo trade show in Las Vegas this September. The tool will pick up and dispense free candy bags and mini footballs — a fun and effective way to showcase intelligent technology in action.