SONAMI rides the wave of expansion, adding Water Tech and Advanced Manufacturing capabilities

CAWT Research Technologist Cayla Austin prepares samples for analysis in one of the CAWT laboratories.

New partnership expands the range of facilities to southeast Ontario expanding its research and development capabilities in innovative water and wastewater technologies, Mechatronics, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Fleming College has become the latest Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) member, a Niagara College-led consortium of post-secondary academic institutions that provides competitive, disruptive, and innovative solutions to Ontario’s manufacturers.

Two of Fleming College’s research centres will oversee SONAMI projects: the Centre for Advancement in Mechatronics and Industrial Internet of Things (CAMIIT) and the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies (CAWT). The CAMIIT is a multipurpose research centre for industrial research and design projects at Sutherland Campus in Peterborough. The CAWT is an internationally recognized water and wastewater research institute located at Frost Campus in Lindsay.

The addition of Fleming College to SONAMI now brings the total in the network to 11 postsecondary partners, including Centennial, Conestoga, Fanshawe, George Brown, Lambton, Mohawk, Niagara and Sheridan colleges, and McMaster and Queen’s University. Fleming’s SONAMI projects will be funded through a $2-million investment that the network received from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through an Applied Research and Technology Partnership (ARTP) grant.The partnership will expand the range of facilities and expertise available to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and extend SONAMI’s reach further into southeast Ontario.

Through the centralized SONAMI hub, member institutions pool their resources and talent to match them to the needs of SMEs in various industries, giving them access to cutting-edge technologies, knowledge and funding in order to de-risk their applied R&D, create innovative new products and optimize processes.

“Fleming’s capabilities through CAMIIT will empower us to deliver cutting-edge solutions in the era of Industry 4.0,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Vice President, Research, Innovation, and Strategic Enterprises at Niagara College. “Additionally, CAWT has the expertise in water and wastewater research that will enhance our capabilities in addressing critical environmental challenges.”

“By joining forces with Fleming, we strengthen our commitment to fostering the growth of SMEs in the manufacturing industry through collaborative research projects. Together, we will provide invaluable opportunities for students to gain practical experience and contribute to real-world projects, ensuring a skilled workforce for the future. This collaboration marks an exciting milestone in SONAMI’s journey to drive innovation and competitiveness in the advanced manufacturing sector.”

CAMIIT and CAWT’s capabilities can be used to solve a wide variety of real-world challenges.

A video showing the Centre for Advancement in Mechatronics and Industrial Internet of Things (CAMIIT).

For the past two years, CAMIIT has been expanding Fleming’s applied research activities in design, development, prototyping, testing and validation, and improving products and technologies for use in the advanced manufacturing marketplace. Its research has applications in several industries, including asset management, aerospace, computing, communications, agriculture, and mining. CAMIIT excels at working with industry partners through the entire development of a system or technology, designing and testing prototypes through rigorous lab and onsite test procedures until the final product is ready for mass production.

A video showing the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies

Established in 2005, CAWT specializes in biological treatment (including biofilms and anaerobic biofilters), membranes and filtration, advanced oxidation technologies, low energy and remote systems, stormwater management, cold climate treatment, performance testing and verification, as well as innovative technologies that target nutrients, heavy metals, and contaminants of emerging concern. CAWT has run numerous collaborative research projects in the past, for example, it assisted a manufacturer of advanced water disinfection systems to validate a new line of water purification systems that remove and disinfect contaminants from large volumes of water.

“Joining SONAMI is an exciting opportunity for our CAMIIT and CAWT research centres,” said Brett Goodwin, PhD, Executive Vice President, Academic and Applied Research & Innovation at Fleming College. “Being chosen to join this esteemed network allows our researchers and students to take part in new collaborative opportunities to support local innovation. Our expertise in design for manufacturing and in innovative water and wastewater technologies will help SONAMI and its SME partners address complex challenges and make a lasting impact on the province’s manufacturing sector.”

Since the award-winning network’s inception in 2016, industry partners have benefitted from collaborative projects by: increasing sales, reducing manufacturing costs, diversifying product lines, and realizing their innovative ideas. To date, SONAMI partners have worked with more than 300 SMEs to complete more than 400 projects resulting in $12.5 million in sales from commercialized innovations, created or maintained over 220 jobs and provided skills and training for hundreds of students to prepare them for future jobs.

To access the advanced manufacturing network, representatives from interested businesses can contact SONAMI’s Business Development Lead, Mitchell Lutz at [email protected]. For more information about the network, please visit the SONAMI website.

CAMIIT Lead Research Scientist, Fereydoon Diba, PhD, P.Eng., advises a Research Assistant in the CAMIIT facility.
CAMIIT Lead Research Scientist, Fereydoon Diba, PhD, P.Eng., advises a Research Assistant in the CAMIIT facility.


Fleming College’s Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies (CAWT) is a unique water research centre with advanced infrastructure and accredited on-site facilities. Located in Lindsay, Ontario at the Frost Campus of Fleming College, the CAWT works with industry, government, NGOs and other academic institutions to develop and test innovative water and wastewater technologies. The CAWT is comprised of a core group of scientists, engineers, faculty researchers, and technologists passionate about driving innovation in the water and wastewater sector, supporting small- to medium-sized companies, and helping find new ways to protect, reuse, treat, and manage the world’s water.

Fleming College’s Centre for Advancement in Mechatronics and Industrial Internet of Things (CAMIIT) is a multipurpose research centre for industrial research and design projects. Located at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus in Peterborough, CAMIIT is a leading-edge hub of applied research and technology development services for the private sector, government and non-governmental agencies, and universities. CAMIIT’s areas of specialization and expertise include: system design, Industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, mechatronics product development, advanced manufacturing, and 3D printing. CAMIIT is focused on contributing to innovation in Canada by creating successful research partnerships with businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs.

Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Sciences, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has more than 6,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and 80,000 alumni.

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) is a Niagara College-led network of postsecondary institutions, who, through their respective Research and Innovation Centres, collaborate with small- and medium-sized companies to tackle their manufacturing-related challenges. SONAMI leverages faculty, students, and state-of-the-market equipment, together with funding from the Federal Government, to support manufacturing in Canada. Learn more at

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 10,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at

SONAMI Quick facts:

  • In July 2019, FedDev Ontario announced an additional investment of $14 million towards a five-year project (through to March 2024), which would grow the network to which would grow the network by adding members, enhancing its reach to help manufacturers innovate.
  • SONAMI is funded by FedDev Ontario, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON).
  • Niagara College received the 2019 Research Partnership Award from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) for the significant impact SONAMI has had on the regional economy.
  • Through specialized expertise, resources, and Research & Development (R&D) capabilities, SONAMI partners have a broad range of capabilities that provide effective innovation and technology transfer in areas of automation, additive manufacturing, product testing & validation, Industry 4.0, process optimization, simulation & modelling, and digitally enabled and intelligent manufacturing.
  • SMEs wanting to innovate but do not have the resources of time, knowledge/skills, or finances to take them to the next level can de-risk their R&D by leveraging a 1:1.2 funding match on projects. FedDev’s investment is matched by a mix of cash and in-kind contributions from the industry partner. This could reduce overall project costs by up to 50 per cent and help more manufacturers participate.