Applied Research Collaboration with Boniferro Mill Works

A team of our Electrical Engineering Technology - Process Automation students   and faculty took on an applied research project to help Boniferro Mill Works, a hardwood sawmill in Sault Ste. Marie,  with the complicated task of sorting saw logs.  The team came up with an automated system and demonstrated it on  a computer simulation and a working scale model of the sawmill conveyor. They presented their system to Boniferro Mill Works, Sault College staff, faculty, and the media in our  School of Engineering lounge.

Over the four-month project, students dove into experiential learning  by completing research to develop  a factory automation concept. Boniferro Mill Works can now adapt and implement this in their sawmill.  These students gained valuable  real-world experience  completing the project and collaborating with other professors and departments.

Better Together

Students and faculty from our Mechanical Techniques  programs supported this project  by tackling mechanical modifications  to the conveyor belt.  Students coming together with different program areas is a great opportunity for them to see firsthand how teamwork leads to success.  

Our Applied Research Office is always looking for opportunities to support student learning with real-world challenges. It also supports local businesses adapt to new automation technologies and develop new and improved products and processes that allow them to be competitive in today's global marketplace. 

Our Applied Research Office is always on the lookout for chances like these to give students hands-on experience. They also help local businesses get with the times, showing them the ropes of automation and helping them make better stuff to stay competitive in today's global market.

The team for this project included Engineering students Ethan Bergamin, Justin Milner,   Joshua Rodriguez, Mackenzie Bingley-Saunders, and Maxwell Reid and was advised by Professors Chris Beauchamp and Ron Chartrand.  They received support from Paul Larsen, Project Manager and Rhonda Davies,  Business Development Officer both from our  Applied Research Office.

The Mechanical team  included  Peter Corbett, Professor,   Gord Irvine, Technologist, and students Faiza Ali and Louise Schmidt.

Made Possible

The project  was funded in part by the Applied Research and Development (ARD) grant   from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and partly by a contribution from Boniferro Mill Works.   The objective of the grant is to transfer knowledge from the College to Canadian industry while helping to automate specific industrial processes.


"Sault College demonstrated how to make our vision for automation a reality and save us money, make the job less stressful, and track production data as never before.”
Nathaniel Boniferro, General Manager of Boniferro Mill Works