AV&R, 3M team up to open new robotics lab in Saint-Bruno


Montreal-headquartered AV&R, together with 3M, will unveil its new Robotics Lab in Saint-Bruno this Thursday at 11 AM. The livestream for the event will be available on AV&R’s Youtube channel, and sign up is here.

AV&R is an international company specializing in the design of robotic surface finishing. They’ve been especially active within the aerospace industry, hence its presence here in Montreal. Recently the company has expanded into the medical orthopaedic implant industry. The company is looking to diversify further with this new collaboration, said Michael Muldoon, Product Development Director at AV&R

What will be the first 3M Robotics Lab in Canada will be used by AV&R, its partners and customers.

The two companies want to help  customers and partners who use abrasive products and robotic surface finishing solutions. That means AV&R will be able to test and commercialize these abrasive solutions and processes in robotic finishings.

Robotics, says Muldoon, is well positioned in Montreal because of the city’s strong aerospace sector.

“In Montreal you’ve got Pratt & Whitney, GE, Bombardier. So in the orthopaedic industry, we’re talking shoulder, knee and hip replacements, that has a lot of similarities to the types of manufacturers we dealt with previously,” said Muldoon. “It’s in all the same markets with strong aerospace industries.”

What are robotic finishings?

According to Robotiq, surface finishing makes the difference between a quality product and a bargain-bin reject. This guide explains how to choose between the many options.

Surface finishing describes a variety of manufacturing processes which all improve the aesthetic appearance, material strength, and other properties of the finished product.They work by adding, altering, removing, or reshaping the material. These processes are usually achieved through mechanical, chemical, or electrical means.

Common surface finishing processes are sanding, grinding and polishing. These both work by removing small amounts of the material surface with an abrasive media.

Muldoon told MTLinTECH that these play a big role in the connected, automated factory. “They might have all these robotic processes, but often times if someone needs to go in a sand or deburr a part, a lot of places it’s still done by hand. So when customers want their facilities to be truly automated, this is one of the last barriers they really need to tackle towards automation.”

3M’s first robotic lab in Canada

3M has been investing in their version of robotics labs around the world but they didn’t have one in Canada. This collaboration gives them a footprint in Canada and allows AV&R to collaborate closer with 3M on robotic finishings.

“We have several robotic systems on our floor in Saint-Bruno and this is like an expansion of that facility,” said Muldoon. “Anybody that has a finishing in their manufacturing that’s thinking about robotics, this is an area where we can collaborate together and try new things. We can test 3M products in an automated form and demonstrate to these customers the feasibility of their business case in application form.

“It’s really focused on end-users that want to adopt robotics for their finishing.”
Muldoon calls it like a playground where customers can experiment with new technology.

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