From smart sensors to automated technology, Ontario startups will have the opportunity to showcase their skills and make connections in the heart of Canada’s energy sector: Alberta.

Six companies from Ontario are among 26 startups attending the Canada 3.0 Conference, in partnership with the Canadian Energy Supply Chain Forum in Calgary Oct. 28-30, thanks to the Canadian Digital Media Network.

Five of the six companies, PV Labs, RidgeTech Automation Inc.,P&P Optica, Pattern Discovery Technologies Inc., and AOMS Technologies are Communitech members.

“There’s a big gap between the know-how in Alberta and the know-how in Ontario,” said Richard Liang, co-founder of AOMS Technologies based at the University of Waterloo.

“The industry in Alberta is fairly localized and they don’t know much about what is developed here in Ontario. In Ontario, especially in the Waterloo Region, we have this very exciting startup environment where there are a lot of exciting things happening,” Liang said. “I think it’s a great idea to bridge the gap and bring the two provinces together.”

AOMS Technologies designs fiber-optic sensors for harsh environment applications and is targeting Canada’s oil and gas industry. Liang and his two partners, fellow University of Waterloo students Hamid Alemohammad and Amir Azhari, hope to make connections with potential partners and customers at the conference.

P&P Optica, another sensor startup in the region, makes spectrometers that measure chemical composition for industrial applications, such as using chemical information to quickly sort types of plastics on a conveyor belt.

Olga Pawluczyk, President of P&P Optica, has noticed that the oilsands industry requires a lot of sensing. Although spectrometry has long been used in the field, new instruments make measuring a much quicker process.

The company is attending Canada 3.0 to meet potential clients and partners to develop products and see what problems the industry is facing, problems where faster and better sensors could help.

“I always believe in collaboration. I think Ontario has some very good strengths and having a conference that includes companies from all the provinces that are interested in this sector makes a lot of sense.”

Paul Sheremeto is the President and CEO of Pattern Discovery Technologies Inc. in Waterloo. He sees a significant benefit and opportunity in attending the conference, specifically to make sure the data mining and predictive analysis company is marketing to the right people in the energy sector.

“There are a number of technologies we’re developing, like asset insight, being able to predict failure of equipment in the fields,” Sheremeto said.

Mike Wood, President of RidgeTech Automation in Cambridge, says the energy sector is traditionally heavily automated, creating many possibilities for tech companies to get involved.

“If you look at processes all the way through, anything from assembling and welding pipe can be automated and done with robots, right through to the actual refining and processing of bitumen out in the tarsands. All those plants are full of automation.”

RidgeTech specializes in integrating control systems, electrical engineering and project management. Wood hopes to learn how to better position the company to help West Coast manufacturing in the best way possible.

“In Ontario all we hear is the West needs people. They need software, they need programming and they need all the services that are offered here. But what exactly does that mean? What are their exact and specific needs?” said Wood.

He believes Waterloo Region in particular is making strides in the technology sector and is excited to show Alberta all that it has to offer.

“We have anything from Google right through to companies that actually make the equipment move itself, companies like ours,” Wood said. “We kind of do everything in between. It’s a complete range of tech, and I think it’s fantastic.”

Imbibitive Technologies, a Welland, Ont.-based member of Innovate Niagara, is the world’s only manufacturer of super-absorbent polymer for organic chemicals. Their “imbiber beads” are one-of-a-kind spheres that absorb chemicals like gasoline, diesel fuel and diluted bitumen.

“In any spill scenario, typically at best they’re able to cover 10 to 15 per cent of the spill. The rest of it is out in the environment and whatever happens with it happens with it. This technology can fundamentally change that,” said Allan Grawey, Director of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships. “The fact that we’re headquartered here in Ontario, and this will be a global game-changing technology, it’s exciting.”

For the past year, Imbibitive has been focused on generating what they call a “groundswell” of product knowledge and interest. Grawey is confident the exposure gained by attending Canada 3.0 will help.

“Looking at the agenda, attendees, etc., these are the people that we need to be in front of.”



About The Author

Samantha Clark
Media Relations Associate

As a Media Relations Associate at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, Ontario, Sam is passionate about the Waterloo Region community, entrepreneurship and technology. She is a graduate of Conestoga College with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.