Posted on 9 months ago by Laurentina Kennedy The RFT Group 012302400
Irish Manufacturing Research to create 40 jobs
Conor Brophy talks to Barry Kennedy, CEO of Irish Manufacturing Research, about new technologies for the manufacturing industry
A new manufacturing research centre opens this morning in Dublin and will lead to 40 jobs in areas such as robotics, mechanical engineering and systems integration. Irish Manufacturing Research was set up following a €15m investment led by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, supplemented by private research funding. The centre's role is to collaborate with manufacturers here on research and development aimed at securing the future of the industry here and generating employment in emerging sectors including 3D printing, collaborative robotics and internet of things.
IMR's chief executive Barry Kennedy explained that the company's function is to try and solve very complex industrial and manufacturing challenges and problems for Irish industry. Mr Kennedy said that with the emergence of new technologies such as additive manufacturing, collaborative robotics and the industrial internet of things, the face of manufacturing is radically changing. Business models are also changing, and Mr Kennedy said there is a real need in Ireland to get help for these companies to grapple with these new changes and be successful in the ever-changing environment.
Mr Kennedy said the new advances in systems and machines can help people to do very complex tasks, which up to this had been very difficult to do. Collaborative robots can work beside a human being and can do very dextrous tasks, which we can not achieve easily, he added.
The IMR CEO said that Ireland does not have later stage research centres that are very close to commercialisation as they do in Europe and today's new manufacturing research centre is a first for Ireland. He also said that Ireland does not do "Blue Sky" research but it partners very closely with academic teams, including UCD. IMR works with these partners closely in terms of the technology they are developing. It pulls that new technology into the organisation and runs it along the company's industrial pilot lines to test it and figure out ways the new technology can function in a manufacturing line successfully.
Mr Kennedy said the company runs on a 1-1-1 model - and gets one one-third of its funding from the government, one-third from competitive funding in Europe and one-third from private industry. In order to get competing companies to work together, he said there are certain thematic issues where companies are comfortable to work collaboratively on, including the likes of energy efficiency. But there are certain rules of engagement around specific products, however, where companies want to do bilateral research, he added.
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