Dr. Ben Cecil, the CEO of the Canadian Centre for Product Validation (CCPV), is someone businesses seek out when they’ve got a product with
a problem.

Opened in 2016, the London, ON facility is one of only a few in Canada that houses prototyping and testing facilities for electrical, mechanical, performance, environmental, and thermal testing — all with a developmental focus — under one roof. Their goal is to help Canadian companies develop innovative solutions to bring their products to market faster, by following a wide range of quality standards from international benchmarks like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to national military standards.

To help get products ready for market, the CCPV performs design reviews, marketing, and benchmarking studies. In addition, they create test protocols for products and provide other support activities.

Innovation: the key to success

While some facilities only deal with established and late-stage companies, the CCPV is an innovation hub that works with companies and projects at all stages of development — from napkin sketches to production-ready prototypes from established firms.

“If you want to be truly innovative,” says Cecil, “you need to be surrounded by a culture that understands innovation and is open to trying the untested, unique, and unconventional.”

One project that stands out for Cecil was a product that an Ontario-based client brought to CCPV with a minor, but frustrating noise problem. Despite taking it to two other labs and a consultant, the client didn’t have any success fixing it. According to Cecil, the CCPV found and corrected the issue within a day.

“The cost to fix was less than $100 per unit,” he says. “Far less than the millions of dollars a new production line would have cost them.”

Cecil says the CCPV’s largest client base are companies in the military supply chain. He adds, however, that products that come to the CCPV cover a wide range of manufactured items — including health care, automotive products, and building materials.

A focus on clients and experiential learning

Because CCPV is affiliated with and solely owned by Fanshawe College, students gain hands-on experience working at the centre, helping prepare them for innovative careers beyond graduation.

Jeremy Giancola, a technician assistant at CCPV, has worked on projects for the automotive, aerospace, and military sectors while studying at Fanshawe.

“There are few, if any, testing facilities within Canada which offer what CCPV has to offer,” he says. “So the knowledge I have gained and will continue to gain while working here will be a huge advantage for me.”

Through Fanshawe, the CCPV also helps clients access funding for product development and business expansion.

The innovative solutions applied to products at the CCPV don’t stay the property of the centre — all the intellectual property stays with the clients. Cecil is proud of the centre’s focus on research and innovation, but he’s even prouder of CCPV’s client and student focus.

“Most importantly, we’re working toward job growth and job creation on behalf of our clients,” he says. “It’s not about us.  It’s about our clients advancing, learning, and growing.”