Dr. Rafiq Ahmad (P.Eng.) is the Edify's Top 40 Under 40 Award Recipient for 2022 for his innovations to improve our society.

About Us

Smart & Sustainable Manufacturing Systems LABoratory

An excellence centre for “Design and Manufacturing” that bridges the gap between fundamental research and their advanced applications to industry (particularly Industry 4.0), led & founded by Dr. Rafiq Ahmad (Assoc. Professor). The research group aims: “Sustainable & Smart systems/technologies design and development to enable Digital Transformation of our Industry and Society.” The three major application areas include Manufacturing 4.0, Construction 4.0, and Agriculture 4.0. SMART Lab was formerly known as the “LIMDA Lab” and was established in 2016 at the University of Alberta.

What We Do

The research orientations are divided into three major areas

SMART’s research focuses on bridging the gap between fundamental research in “design and manufacturing” and its advanced applications in industry. The core research direction is to design, develop, optimize, and engineer manufacturing and production systems or processes aiming toward three significant research pillars:

Hybrid and Smart Manufacturing and Production Systems

Sustainable design of both product and innovative manufacturing systems to produce...

Green Technologies: including Repair, Remanufacturing, and Recycling (3R)

Development of autonomous methods, tools, and technologies for repair and remanufacturing ..

Industrial Automation: Robotics (Target: Zero Human-Intervention)

Development of automated systems for various manufacturing and production processes..


Aquaponics 4.0 Learning Factory

Learning factory for "Aquaponics 4.0" directed & founded by Dr. Rafiq Ahmad. The Aquaponics Learning Factory (AllFactory), started in 2016, provides a unique Factory-in-a-lab transdisciplinary research, training, and learning environment to investigate Aquaponics 4.0 systems. Aquaponics is a vertical farming method and is a new sustainable farming technique that uses stacked layers of plants to improve plant yield per unit area while also reducing required resources. Compared to conventional farming, vertical farming can result in a 70% reduction in water and fertilizer consumption per plant produced. Aquaponics is a combination between aquaculture (farming of fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil), being a technique to grow plants with the aquaculture effluent. This technique claims to have a high water efficiency, is pesticide-free, and reduces the use of fertilizers. All in all this technology is considered green and sustainable.


What Our Alumni Say


News and Contributions

Engineering student designs snorkel-like mask with fan to help protect healthcare workers from COVID-19

Emanuel Martinez Villanueva's memory of his mother being proud of him has kept him going for his work on a respirator he designed to help keep front-line workers safe from COVID-19.

Frontline battle against COVID-19 inspires innovative respirator project

University of Alberta engineering professor Rafiq Ahmad felt helpless when the earliest images of the toll COVID-19 was taking in Italy and Spain started making headlines in North America.

From Adversity to Innovation, Article by APEGA about Dr. Rafiq Ahmad

Dr. Ahmad says he can sleep well when he has contributed to the creation of a better world, but we hope not too well. After all, it is his dreams of global solutions to improve society for everyone that keep him up at night.

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