Design and fabrication services at the NRC – adding value for Canada
- Ottawa, Ontario
The hallmark of the National Research Council's (NRC) Design and Fabrication Services Branch is its ability to work with NRC researchers in a responsive, collaborative manner, leveraging the diverse capabilities of the branch in direct support of important research and technical services. This is the case even if the work must move from one part of the country to another to stay at the pace of innovation. With 13 shops spread across Canada, Design and Fabrication Services delivers design and fabrication services that meet demanding requirements for apparatus, fixturing, experiment setups and technical services for the NRC's contributions to academia, industry and major international partnerships.
The shops are centrally managed and coordinated with the objective of making available the expertise and capability, nationally, to all researchers. One such example is SPIRou (SpectroPolarimètre Infra-Rouge - Near-InfraRed Spectropolarimeter) which is a project led principally by an international consortium of Canada, France, Taiwan and Hawaii Telescope, to develop a better instrument for discovering new planets. The instrument is a high-resolution spectropolarimeter and high-precision velocimeter optimized for discovering Earth twins orbiting in the habitable zone of nearby red dwarf stars.
Although the project definition and funding decisions were begun as early as 2010, Canada's part in the fabrication of the instrument began in January 2015 and ended in January 2018. Over that time, Design and Fabrication Services continued to meet the daily demands of researchers at the NRC while, in parallel, maximizing the capabilities and availability of the Design and Fabrication teams in Victoria, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. John's to deliver on time and on quality (requiring approximately 10,400 hours). The article in LeDevoir (available only in French) extolls the advantages of this project for researchers.
The agility and centrally managed services of the Design and Fabrication Services Branch have helped to position the NRC and Canada as a credible contributor to the international community of astronomers and continues to serve as an excellent example of delivering value. At right, is a figure that shows projects flowing east and west across Canada as they take advantage of the resources of DFS to meet the demands of research at the NRC.