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County Cider collaborates with students, shares skills

Dannielle Davidson, cider maker and production manager

Dannielle Davidson, cider maker and production manager

Loyalist College’s Manufacturing Engineering Technician program students will collaborate with the County Cider Company on an applied learning project this semester.

Students and faculty plan to work closely with the local cider producer to evaluate its machining operations and recommend process improvements to increase productivity and flexibility. The initiative, which enables students to put their design skills to work, is made possible by a grant from the provincial government through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, marking the College’s first NSERC award.

“We are thrilled to be part of this project and work in alliance with the students and faculty at Loyalist College,” said Grant Howes, owner. “These students will bring a fresh new look at some problems we are having in our production areas. We look forward to their input and assistance in coming up with some innovative ways for us to expand and become a lean manufacturing facility.

Grant Howes, owner

Grant Howes, owner

“Moving forward we see this as an excellent way to help the students gain valuable work experience and for our company to gain access to the pool of potential employees that we will be looking to hire in the near future,” he added.

“Through this important grant, our manufacturing engineering students will gain incredible real world experience,” said Maureen Piercy, Loyalist College president and CEO. “Working closely with the County Cider Company, they will resolve complex business challenges, design a streamlined manufacturing process, and learn how their automated solutions impact the bottom line. In helping a local start-up to become more competitive, students will also be engaged in supporting the local community.”

Ann Drennan, Loyalist’s Dean of Applied Sciences, Skills and Technology, said applied research and innovation activities engage industry partners like County Cider while creating experiential learning opportunities for students and faculty.

“Receiving this first award from NSERC opens the door to additional research and development opportunities  which will benefit the Quinte region,” she said.

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