Sault College students collaborate with Boniferro Mill Works on applied research project

(Photo credit: Shawn Richards)

Representatives from Sault College recently completed a successful College and Community Innovation (CCI) program applied research project in partnership with This link will take you to another Web site Boniferro Mill Works, a hardwood sawmill located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The goal of the collaboration project was to simplify the complicated job of sorting saw logs. Sault College’s applied research team developed an automated system that was demonstrated on both a computer simulation and a working scale model of the sawmill conveyor.

The project, which took approximately four months, was funded partly by a CCI grant and partly by a contribution from Boniferro Mill Works. The objective of the CCI grant is to transfer knowledge from the College to Canadian industry while helping to automate specific industrial processes.

“Our main goal was to improve and move our operation to the next step. Sault College demonstrated how to make our vision for automation a reality and save us money, it will make our operator’s job a little less stressful, and track production data in ways before never possible,” said Nathaniel Boniferro, General Manager of Boniferro Mill Works.

Throughout this project, students were exposed to experiential learning by researching and developing a factory automation concept that Boniferro Mill Works can adapt and implement in their sawmill.

Sault College’s team consisted of Electrical Engineering Technology students in the Process Automation Program: Ethan Bergamin, Justin Milner, Joshua Rodriguez, Mackenzie Bingley-Saunders, and Maxwell Reid. The team was advised by Professors Chris Beauchamp and Ron Chartrand with support from Project Manager Paul Larsen and Business Development Officer Rhonda Davies.

“It has been amazing to see this project from start through to completion and recognize the many benefits of this work. This project not only helps local industry, but it also gives our students valuable career-building work experience,” said Paul Larsen, Project Manager. “Additionally, the college was able to collaborate with other professors and departments which is something that we do in the industry, work together to accomplish our goals,” he added.

“We would also like to thank the Mechanical program faculty and students for their time and expertise with the mechanical modifications necessary for this project to be the success that it is. Inter-department collaboration is a great example for the students to experience and emphasizes that teamwork leads to success,” says Professor Chris Beauchamp. CNC Mechanical Department Professor Peter Corbett and Technologist Gord Irvine as well as students Faiza Ali and Louise Schmitd helped with conveyor belt modifications.

This article was adapted and republished with permission from This link will take you to another Web site Sault College.

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