TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government announced Friday it would provide a $120-million grant to Waterloo-based Open Text Corp., Canada’s largest software company.Premier Kathleen Wynne said the grant will help create as many as 1,200 “well paying” jobs as Open Text invests $2 billion to expand its operations in Toronto, Peterborough, Kingston, Ottawa and Waterloo over the next seven years.The grant and investment by Open Text will bolster Ontario’s position as North America’s second biggest centre for information and communications technology, behind California and ahead of Texas, added Wynne.“This investment is a terrific example of how government can partner with business to help create jobs and grow the economy,” she said.Open Text, which started as a technology spin-off from the University of Waterloo in 1991 with four employees, now has more than 8,000 workers worldwide. The company reported Thursday that net earnings for the three months ended March 31 soared to $45.8 million, or 33 cents per share, as revenue rose to $442.8 million.Over the past seven years, annual revenues at Open Text have grown nearly 130 % to $1.36 billion. Shares of the company have strengthened as well, rising more than 160 % over the past five years.“We are an Ontario-grown global company and we chose to invest here because of the highly educated workforce, our strong university partnerships in R-&-D, as well as the province’s robust and innovative start-up communities,” said Open Text president and CEO Mark Barrenechea.Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he would stop giving money to corporations and instead would cut taxes for all businesses, not just big companies with well connected lobbyists.“So let’s replace the handout business, the $2 billion in corporate welfare, and use that money to give lower and fair taxes for all businesses to succeed,” Hudak said at a Toronto factory.“Small, medium-sized businesses don’t get the handouts, they get stuck with the bill.”But Wynne rejected Hudak’s criticism and said it is the government’s duty to team up with businesses like Open Text to ensure jobs are created and the economy keeps growing.“We are proud to support its continued growth here in the province,” she said.Last December, Wynne announced Ontario was giving another IT giant, Cisco Canada, $220 million to help create up to 1,700 new jobs in the province.Economic Development Minister Eric Hoskins said companies like Cisco and Open Text are “courted daily by presidents and senators” who want investments and jobs in their communities, so he “aggressively” pursued Open Text when he heard they were looking to expand.“Unlike the Conservatives, who would have us stand aside when these opportunities come up, we believe that we do need to compete,” Hoskins said in an interview.“When you’ve got a world class firm such as Open Text making a significant, $2 billion investment — where they can make that in any one of the 33 countries where they have a presence — we wanted them to make it here in Ontario.”Ontario gets more than 90 % of its foreign investment without using taxpayers’ money as an incentive, but the Liberal government is looking to partner with companies to attract more investment capital, especially with high-growth firms like Open Text, added Hoskins.“We feel that it’s important in terms of not just job growth, but also strengthening and anchoring even further that great high-tech cluster that we’ve got in the province,” he said. “This was an investment worth making.”Open Text sells software and data management technology used by companies to protect their electronic documents. It has been rapidly expanding over the past few years with the acquisition of several companies involved in e-learning.“We’re equally optimistic about the future that we’ll continue to grow,” Barrenechea said in an interview.“We’re putting our multi-year plans in place right now and making choices where we want to continue to establish ourselves. It’s important to have a public-private partnership to help make those choices.”— With files from David Friend.
Multotec’s use of 3D printing over the past two years has proved this technology’s ability to produce prototypes for customers quickly and cost effectively, according to Multotec Manufacturing Technology Manager, Chris Oldewage. “Our 3D printing facilities bring designs to life, and allow for physical and visual interaction during concept development,” he says. “We can now produce a prototype within 24 hours, improving our response time to identified opportunities.”He highlights that full-sized prototypes can even be tested on the company’s testing rigs, so that their practical application can be proved before advancing to tooling stage. Reprinting can be quickly conducted to incorporate fine tuning and minor adjustments.The 3D printed parts are used as the pattern to produce a mould for products such as screen panels; silicon is firstly cast around the pattern, and then removed after it is cured. This silicon mould is used to make prototype screen panels from the required polyurethane material.“The ease of use of these 3D printers allows for an accurate prototype to be produced far more quickly than conventional tooling,” he says. “Tooling is relatively costly, so the 3D printing is definitely a more cost effective option.”According to Dave Hunt, mould designer at Multotec’s technical service centre, the technology removes the guess work from the product development process. Part of continuous improvement is to improve existing tooling; being able to print the new mould parts make it easy to validate the design and functionality before making the actual steel parts.Multotec runs two types of heat lamination 3D printers, which can print objects of various sizes. The company has also invested in an extruder so that it can extrude cords to the same specifications that it uses in the manufacturing process.“3D printing technology is being used by business units throughout the Multotec Group, and we have successfully used it to develop new products and to improve our produce development timelines,” says Oldewage. “These 3D models are also valuable tools to employ during our training sessions, to ensure better visual understanding among staff and customers.”