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Manufacturing companies shown gateway to technology at WIT conference

The benefits of good design practice was highlighted to manufacturing companies across the south east at a conference held at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today (Friday, 3 March).

The ‘Design for Manufacture’ conference was organised by the South Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) Technology Gateway based within WIT.  SEAM is part of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network which consists of 15 Gateways in 11 Institutes of Technology delivering near to market solutions for Irish industry.

This industry-focused event was sponsored by eDigiRegion (an FP7 project initiative to increase regional competitiveness via research-driven clusters in the technology domain). The day-long event was aimed at enhancing the awareness and skills needed in the rapidly changing advanced manufacturing industrial climate. The highlight of the event was the Town Hall type meeting session where in the senior management from both indigenous and multinational companies discussed the training and skills requirements for the manufacturing sector in the region.

Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan was the keynote speaker. In his address to delegates, he said: “The SEAM Gateway is a great success story for the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network and for Waterford Institute of Technology.  It has provided a fantastic resource not only for companies based here in the South-East Region, but also for companies all around the country.  Global competition is stronger than ever and, as a small, export-oriented economy, Ireland must respond to this challenge.  Research, development, innovation and a highly educated workforce will be the key points of differentiation for Ireland and the key drivers of our future economic success.”

Dr. Ramesh Raghavendra, SEAM Centre Director, who takes pride in organising similar industrial events every year said: “our prime focus in SEAM has always been to advance the cutting edge of innovation by bringing in latest technologies that are useful to manufacturing sector with a view to transferring the knowledge acquired to Irish based industries.I am particularly thankful to Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Gateway programme whose seed fund helps us strengthen our human resources and expand the services we continuously provide to manufacturing industries.”

Gearoid Mooney, Divisional Manager, Research and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland outlined the importance of Enterprise Ireland Gateways such as SEAM to regional development. “The 15 Gateways in the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network are a critical innovation support for Irish industry delivering near to market solutions for partner companies located both regionally and nationally.  They have a proven track record of performance having completed in excess of 1,800 industry projects since 2013 at a value of €18million, and almost half of which (47%) has come directly from industry contributions.  This activity is critical in supporting Irish companies develop new products, processes and services, enabling them to increase their competitiveness and exploit new markets with export potential,” he said.

Martin Corkery, Regional Director South & South East Regions, Enterprise Ireland said: “The Technology Gateways are open access points for regional based companies, particularly for SMEs and Start-Ups.  They provide easy access to sectoral expertise locally but also to the research capabilities in the wider Technology Gateway Network.  This is an invaluable resource for small companies with global ambition to fulfil their growth potential,”.


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Notes for editors


The benefits of good design practice to the manufacturing sector was highlighted through wide range of presentations on topics such as Lean Designing, 3D Printing, Finite Element Analysis, Designing for reliability, etc. by experts in the field.

Design Thinking presentations were made by Mr. Eoghan O’Donoghue, SEAM Technology Leader (FA/FEA), Dr. Richard Keegan –Manager, Competitiveness Department,  Enterprise Ireland and Dr. Tony O Donnell, Vice President of Engineering at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dublin

Speakers who gave presentations on design by Finite Element Analysis were Mr. Fergal Corcoran, Principal Mechanical Design Engineer, Logitech, Cork; Mr. Eoin English, New Technology Evaluation Engineering Manager, Analog Devices, Limerick; and Mr. Patrick Donnellan, FEA Engineer, SEAM Research Centre, WIT.

In the final session before lunch a town hall meeting gave the audience the opportunity to discuss training and skills needed for the current Irish based manufacturing industries.

Organisations in the region that participated in case studies included Mr. Jonathan Downey, Strategic Projects Manager, Schivo Precision Engineering Group, Dr. John O’Rourke, Fellow Engineer, Boston Scientific Clonmel, Ms.Ailish Delaney, Design + Gateway Manager, IT Carlow.

About WIT

WIT has more than 8,000 students across five campuses in Waterford city, with education delivered from higher certificate to doctoral level. Prospective CAO applicants have 70 CAO courses to choose from across a range of disciplines including business, engineering and architecture, sports and nursing, law, social sciences, arts and psychology, the creative & performing arts, languages, tourism and hospitality, science and computing. The Institute has continued to make a huge contribution to the educational, societal, and economic health of the region.

WIT has been hugely successful over the last 46 years, with close to 2,500 students graduating each year, and acts as a catalyst for positive change in the south east and further afield.

Over the last 10 years, the Institute has been granted in excess of €150 million in external research funding, leading the field of research in the institute of technology sector, and similar to some smaller universities.


About SEAM

An industry dedicated materials research and development facility,  SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials) Research Centre located at Waterford Institute of Technology, has been a success story in expanding opportunities in the Medical Device, Precision Engineering, Pharma and Energy Sectors in Ireland. SEAM, supported by Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Gateway programme, has established itself as the first stop for companies seeking assistance on materials related issues that cannot be solved by utilising their on-site resources. SEAM’s polymer, metallic, and ceramic experience are proving invaluable to its clients due to offerings of its niche technologies (X-ray CT Scan & Finite Element Modelling, 3D Metal printing) and materials research capabilities to resolve their day to day process/product and quality related issues.

SEAM has an impeccable track record of delivering for industry, having executed over 900 direct funded industry projects spanning across over 100 companies since its launch in 2009.  Notable SEAM repeat clients in the region include Teva, Bausch and Lomb, Schivo, Honeywell Turbo & Engines, Genzyme, PPI, Lake Region Medical and Boston Scientific.

Part of the School of Engineering at WIT, SEAM helps companies in the materials engineering industry to improve their products and components. It does this through technical analysis and physical prototyping. Its work is supported through commercial clients, funding for industry outreach, and Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Partnership programme.

SEAM has two CT scanners that can x-ray metal components, for example, which helps with technical analysis. Using 3-D printers, the SEAM team can re-produce an item based on its CT scan.

Examples of work SEAM does is to do a failure analysis on a product that has been the subject of customer returns to analyse through a CT scan where the fault lies. It can also help with product design through analysis, modelling and prototyping of items and components.


About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the indigenous business sector. The mission of Enterprise Ireland is to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to achieve strong positions in global markets, resulting in increased national and regional prosperity. Full details of Enterprise Ireland support and activities can be found on its website