Extreme weather testing facility coming soon to Red River College

Group photo at RRC's motive lab. Red River College today announced the next steps on the construction of MotiveLab – a highly-specialized extreme weather testing facility that will be the first of its kind in Western Canada.

MotiveLab is a 3,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility – essentially a giant heater or freezer – that will work in close connection with industry to provide testing for heavy vehicles of all shapes and sizes, including transit and highway buses. Already, companies have identified more than 65 full days of demand for MotiveLab’s research and development services.

“Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector is a cornerstone of our economy, and this research and testing facility is a direct result of our close ties with manufacturers, as well as our efforts to meet current and future training and technology needs,” said Paul Vogt, president & CEO, Red River College. “It’s an approach we are taking across all sectors to help local industry innovate, create jobs of the future and be more competitive in the global marketplace.”

Today’s announcement provides a total of $6 million from the federal and provincial governments and RRC for the construction of MotiveLab, a climatic chamber that allows for year-round testing to be conducted at extreme temperatures and under full loads with using a 1,000 horsepower, three-axle, dynamometer. The program will also train students in this highly-specialized and emerging program area.

“The heavy vehicle sector is faced with increasingly stringent environmental demands, which has its players pushing the envelope in terms of new design and technology implementation,” said Ray Hoemsen, executive director, Research Partnerships & Innovation, Red River College. “This all gives way to ever greater research and testing needs. MotiveLab will be a unique Western Canadian facility that will help give Manitoba firms a competitive edge.”

Funding for this phase (phase II) of the MotiveLab project was made possible through a $3-million grant from the Government of Canada through Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, along with a $1.5 million investment by the Province of Manitoba and $1.5 million from RRC. This is in addition to $4 million raised for phase I of the project.

Manitoba Education Minister Ian Wishart and Winnipeg Centre MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette were joined by representatives from research and industry today to announce the grants for RRC. Construction of MotiveLab, which will be located at Notre Dame Campus inside the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre is expected to be completed in 2018.

Named the top research college in the prairies for 2016 (Research Infosource), Red River College is no stranger to providing advanced facilities and equipment, as well as highly-skilled students, to be used for projects that respond to newly-emerging industry research, testing, and training needs.

Flagship projects include the all-electric transit bus, developed in conjunction with New Flyer, Manitoba Hydro, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan), The Province of Manitoba and others; and Manitoba Hydro’s Downtown Office Building, where RRC helped test and evaluate countless advanced designs and building products that were used to make the building one of the most energy efficient in North America.

RRC has also led the way with the establishment of the Electric Vehicle Technology and Education Centre, and the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure – one of the first research labs of its kind at a Canadian college.

Shown above (from left):  RRC; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, RRC; Thomas Small, Director, New Product Development, New Flyer Industries; Dr. Mark Hoddenbagh, Vice-President, Strategic Development; Ian Wishart, Minister of Education and Training, Province of Manitoba; Robert-Falcon Ouellette, MP, Winnipeg Centre; Thomas Small, Director, New Product Development, New Flyer Industries; Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director. Research Partnerships & Innovation, RRC