Canadian manufacturers lagging in advanced tech adoption
CME study shows 60% not using them as investment in machinery and equipment drops.
TORONTO — Almost two-thirds of Canadian manufacturers surveyed are lagging their international peers in the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies, according to a study by Canadian Manufactures & Exporters (CME).
Accelerating Adoption of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, the second of CME’s five reports stemming from its Industrie 2030 initiative, notes more than 60% of survey respondents do not make use of technologies such as 3D printers, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotics and automation systems.
Manufacturing investment in machinery and equipment in Canada has fallen by nearly 5% between 2009 and 2014, hitting a 30-year low in that year, the report says. In the US investment has risen by 58% over the same period.
“In fact, few industrialized countries have a worse record than Canada,” said Mathew Wilson, CME senior vice-president.
Although acknowledging investment has decreased for several years as the sector struggled with static output and exports, he said companies must nonetheless invest in new machinery and equipment, and incorporate new digital technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities into their operations.
To accelerate the adoption, the report recommends governments:
• Enhance depreciation rates and provide tax credits to encourage investment;
• Establish manufacturing hubs and technology demonstration centres to showcase and test new technologies;
• Expand all regional manufacturing technology investment support programs across the country; and
• Reinvest federal and provincial carbon-pricing revenues back into offsetting the cost of purchasing new technologies and machinery and equipment.
“Other countries have created national strategies around technology adoption,” Wilson warned. “It’s critical that Canadian governments work closely with industry to help facilitate the adoption of these technologies and to grow our manufacturing sector.”