Vanderhoof robotics company adds new services

November 2, 2022

Wallace shows Northern Development staff the CNC lathe/turning centre.
All photos: Northern Development

HMI Robotics is a just-in-time, robotic-assisted manufacturing company based in Vanderhoof that designs and produces components for the aerospace, agriculture and transportation sectors. To support research and development (R&D) opportunities in Northern B.C., HMI Robotics applied for a $45,486 Northern Industries Innovation Fund rebate from Northern Development to support the purchase of a CNC lathe/turning center.

This new piece of specialized equipment will allow HMI Robotics to support businesses and industries who need technological expertise to bring their manufacturing ideas to life. It will also benefit existing businesses by allowing them to order and purchase pieces that are made in B.C., instead of having to order from an overseas parts manufacturer and wait for the piece to be shipped internationally.

“One of our greatest strengths is the ability to design and implement new processes,” said Bryan Wallace, owner, HMI Robotics. “Say you have a machine that no longer has manufacturer support. I can draw the part, get the materials, put them in the lathe and I would make the part for you.”

An unexpected benefit of the new machinery is supporting other businesses in the design and production of new equipment.

“Besides our own R&D, we have helped a number of manufacturing clients continue to meet their supply demands,” said Wallace. “HMI Robotics has helped with the redesign and manufacturing of major components on a B.C.-designed and built hay dryer. The equipment has been sold worldwide with hay dryers operating in England, Germany, Poland, South Africa, New Zealand, USA and Canada.”

The hay drying machine.

The hay dryer’s innovative design pasteurizes the hay which prevents bacteria from growing, stabilizing the nutritional values compared to other hay drying systems. After a year in storage hay samples have tested up to 20 percent higher nutritionally over conventional process. HMI Robotics manufactures some parts for the dryer that used to be outsourced. This supply switch saves thousands of dollars and creates work for the Northern B.C. business.

HMI Robotics was approved for $45,486 through Northern Development’s Northern Industries Innovation Fund. Up to $50,000 is available through this funding program to support innovative projects that increase the competitiveness of local businesses in traditional industries in the Trust’s service region.