Based in Saint-Hyacinthe, Bio Biscuit manufactures 60 million pounds of food and treats for dogs and cats annually.
The 250-employee company, which sells in 25 countries, already makes extensive use of digital technologies: its two production lines, for example, are fully automated. But it still has a long way to go before it is fully upgraded to 4.0.
To accelerate its shift towards the intelligent manufacturer, Bio Biscuit has been working for almost a year now with the CNIMI. In March 2022, the company started a 4.0 audit. This aimed to assess its digital maturity and develop an action plan to push its digital transformation to the next stage.
“It allowed us to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and to target what we needed to improve,” says Pierre Lemieux. He explains that his company has notably launched a major project, following this audit, which will consist of integrating artificial intelligence into decision-making for production chains.
A project that should reduce errors, improve efficiency and increase quality.
“It’s a project of at least five years,” says Pierre Lemieux. As we do not have the in-house expertise to do this all by ourselves, the CNIMI provides us with valuable assistance. »
Last June, the CNIMI inaugurated its new offices in Drummondville. The center of expertise had already been in service for a few years, but with its new facilities, it hopes to be able to multiply its impact with companies.
Because the center divides its services into four sections.
The first, the Integrated Center for Engineering and Management Training, focuses on training and awareness. The second, co-directed by Marc-André Gaudreau, helps companies drive their digital transformation.
The third component of the CNIMI, the Center of Excellence in Manufacturing Productivity, interfaces with industry and offers support services.
As for the fourth component, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Innovation, it is an incubator centered around a factory-laboratory.
“This helps start-ups prove their concept,” says Marc-André Gaudreau. We do a lot of learning by doing. »
Born of a partnership between the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières and the Cégep de Drummondville, the CNIMI aims to offer a continuum of services to manufacturing companies.
Marc-André Gaudreau explains that universities generally help companies that are less technologically mature, while CEGEPs are at the opposite end of this continuum.
“Being an inter-order centre, we aim to provide continuity of service to help companies bring their products to market,” he says. There is always a gap, but by tackling the problem together, we think we have a better impact. »