Vortex®, by CM Labs Simulations Inc.: powerful interactive simulators all over the world

Project team at the office of CM Labs Simulations Inc.

Project team at the office of CM Labs Simulations Inc.


Company: CM Labs Simulations Inc.

Region: Montréal

Program: Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP)

Financial assistance helped with : marketing and exporting innovative products


CM Labs Simulations Inc. was established in Montréal in 2001 by Mr. Robert Weldon to develop simulators for the purpose of training operators of heavy equipment such as power shovels and cranes, planning operations and facilitating prototype development of such pieces of equipment.

Vortex®, a powerful, versatile tool …

Through hard work, the managers and researchers of CM Labs, where 90% of staff have technical and multi-disciplinary expertise in the field of software development and mechanical engineering, developed Vortex®, a very powerful and versatile computer platform for the creation of machinery simulations in virtual reality environments.

Today, CM Labs is involved in the construction, defense, ports, robotics and energy sectors as well as in submarine operations at sea. For each of those fields of activity, CM Labs produces virtual reality simulation programs and immersive simulators with a motion platform that has 5 degrees of freedom. These are intended to teach operators how to operate a power shovel or tower crane at a construction site, on a drilling platform or even at a port for moving containers, and how to drive a space robot, a remote-controlled submarine or a military vehicle. The simulation software programs factor in the behaviour of both the mechanics itself as well as the environment, such as the movements and characteristics of various soils, the impact of wind, waves and ocean currents, the presence of obstacles, etc.

In order to test, prototype or develop new products or processes, Vortex® can model the pieces of machinery (e.g.: robots and boats) as well as the mechanics of the human body. In fact, Vortex® has been used in neuro-mechanical or bio-mechanical simulations at various universities.

A crane operator in training on a Vortex simulator by CM Labs Simulations Inc.

A crane operator in training on a Vortex simulator by CM Labs Simulations Inc.

… sold around the world

Over the past few years, CM Labs Simulations has invested a huge amount of effort outside the country to become known and build its reputation.  Today, 80% of sales are made outside of Canada. The Vortex® technology is now the benchmark platform for crane operator training in the port and drilling-platform industries.

And it is in this niche that Canada Economic Development (CED) is involved. The Agency’s financial support in 2009 and 2011 was intended to help the company acquire the human resources and marketing tools it needed to develop its new markets.  [translation] “That assistance was essential to our success. We now have over 1,000 Vortex® facilities around the world, and it is partly due to CED’s support” stated Mr. Robert Weldon, President of CM Labs Simulations.

CM Labs Simulations ranks on the Canadian Technology Fast 50 and North American Technology Fast 500.

The efforts of CM Labs Simulations were rewarded in 2014 when the company was listed among the “Technology Fast 50” by the international firm Deloitte, which highlights the 50 Canadian technology corporations with the fastest percentage revenue growth over five years. CM Labs ranked 30th with a 322% growth in sales.

CM Labs also ranked 285th in the North American Technology Fast 500, which recognizes the growth of technology companies in North America.

Academic program of CM Labs Simulations

With a view to developing its products, CM Labs established an academic program which provides universities and research institutes with access to Vortex® software as well as its technical support and upgrades.

Already, over 65 academic institutions in America, Europe, Asia and Africa have seized the opportunity. The research is very diversified and ranges from developing a dental procedure for that uses medical instruments based on skin sensitivity, to simulating spinal column surgery, to developing a robot hand.


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