Top tips to consider before sending your funding application

Most people perceive funding applications as an onerous task. This shouldn’t be the case. We have compiled a list of 6 simple tips to consider before sending your funding application that will make the process more manageable.

1. Get advice at an early stage

Rather than launching straight into your application, reach out to those in support roles for guidance and advice. For example, the staff in Enterprise Ireland and the Technology Gateways are there to help. Keep in mind they want to work with you and to see Irish businesses succeed so don’t be hesitant to look for their assistance. They will be able to guide and advise you on how to fill out your application correctly. It is much better to know exactly what is required the first time around.

2. Preparation and research

Ensure you are prepared and have done extensive research on your idea before applying. The application will take time and it is important that you can stand behind what you submit. Important areas to research are the innovative quality of your idea, prospective target markets, funding eligibility and project cost analysis

3. Set your goals

It is hugely important to set goals for yourself with a timeline attached. This will allow you to track your progress and stop you from procrastinating. Some people find it hard to set aside the time to go through the application processes, but, if you break down the process into manageable steps, it will be done before you know it.

4. Allow sufficient time to draft and make changes

As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Don’t rush the application as this will show. Set aside the time to draft a copy of the application but also allow yourself enough time to make changes if necessary. It is also always a good idea to have someone else take a look at the draft in case you missed something.

5. Make each funding proposal unique

You want to stand out. Bear in mind that there are numerous applications sent into funding agencies every day, so ensure yours will stand out to the reader.

6. Double check everything before sending

Make sure all your work has been double checked by yourself and if possible ask a third party, be it your DA (Development Advisor, if an Enterprise Ireland Client), a member of staff from one of the funding agencies, or someone from your business, to have a read of it as well. It is amazing what you might miss when you have been working on it for a long period of time, so it is always best to double and even triple check to ensure that it is perfect the first time around. At the end of the day you will have an application you can be proud of.

Find out about the various funding opportunities Technology Gateways are involved in on our ‘Supports’ page.

Gateway Profile: Design+ Technology Gateway

The Design+ Technology Gateway, based at Institute of Technology Carlow, is a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in design, engineering, ICT and bioscience. The centre champions the application of the design thinking process within the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network, with a focus on the engineering, ICT and bioscience sectors.

What is Design+ Technology Gateway?

The Design+ Technology Gateway was established in 2016 to support innovation for industry utilising a design approach. The technology offerings to industry include:

  • Design: design strategy, visual communication and product design capabilities
  • Prototyping: 3D printing, machining and modelling
  • Engineering: smart energy systems, embedded circuits & systems technologies and surface and coating engineering

Design+ provides businesses with opportunities to increase productivity and create value in products and services in both traditional and emerging sectors. Through R&D, companies are supported in creating intuitive products and sustainable solutions providing differentiation and strengthening competitiveness, new product and service development and business solutions that lead to long-term commercial viability and growth, and maximises return on investment. The Design+ team will enable your company to define and develop new products and concepts in a highly creative manner, drawing on a broad spectrum of technical, business and marketing expertise available within the Gateway at IT Carlow.

Design+ is also a member of two unique Technology Gateway Clusters: Engineering, Materials and Design (EMD Ireland) and Food and Beverage Technologies (Irish Food Tech). Each cluster provides a range of expertise for companies looking to access research and development. Connecting with over 300 industry researchers throughout the network.

What Facilities are available at Design+?

Facilities at Design+ are housed in the state-of-the-art, purpose-built research building, the Dargan Centre.

Facilities in Design+ are housed in our new state-of-the-art purpose built, multi-million, research building, the Dargan Centre

The Dargan Centre is a 2,500 sq. metre, three storey facility which provides a focused, vibrant, supportive and nurturing environment for enabling and expanding RDI activities. The centre is comprised of the Research & Commercialisation Support Centre, Postgraduate Studies, meeting rooms, specialist science and design laboratories, project rooms and incubation facilities, along with designated areas for each of the Institute’s Centres of Research and Enterprise (CORE) research groups.

There are 6 Centres of Research and Enterprise (COREs): designCORE, engCORE, healthCORE, enviroCORE, socialCORE, and gameCORE with designated CORE Directors. There are currently over 100 postgraduate researchers pursuing advanced research programmes across these COREs.

What technology is available in Design+?

Design as a driver of innovation

Design Strategy

The design strategy offering facilitates SMEs in scoping and framing the existing capacity and resources of their company. This is done through visual mapping of key activities, user needs and experiences with a focus on seeking new opportunities.

Visual Communication

Visual communication solutions through packaging, Info-graphics, user interface, user experience and visual identity.

Product Design

The product design offering explores and communicates an idea creating a number of product concepts. This is delivered through sketching, 3D CAD modelling and photorealistic rendering. Concepts can be tested through prototyping and 3D printing.

Prototyping: validate and test your ideas

Prototyping

Design+ can support a wide range of prototyping projects. Prototyping enables proof of concept and user testing throughout the design process.

3D Printing

MJP 5600: MultiJet. Large format multi-material. 5 different materials that can be digitally mixed resulting in thousands of combinations. Build size is 518mm x 381mm x 300mm
SLA: Stereolithography. Plastic-like material. Build size is 250mm x 250mm x 125mm Laser cutting: Laser Pro Spirit GLS. For use with Acrylic, Anodized metal, tile, wood, cardboard and leather. Work area is 960mm x 610mm.

Machining

5 Axis CNC: HURCO VM30i. CNC vertical milling machine. X, Y, Z Axis 1, 270 x 508 x 508mm. 20 CAT 40 tools.
Metal Fabrication: the cutting, bending and joining of metals for building test rigs etc. Laser cutting: Laser Pro Spirit GLS. For use with Acrylic, Anodized metal, tile, wood, cardboard and leather. Work area is 960mm x 610mm.

Modelling

Foam modelling: Using hand and machine crafted polystyrene to explore form, scale and ergonomics.

Vacuum casting: This is a casting process for elastomer using a vacuum to draw the liquid material into the mould.

Vacuum Forming: The process involves heating a plastic sheet until soft and then draping it over a mould. A vacuum is applied sucking the sheet into the mould.

Engineering: delivering technology for your business

Smart Energy Systems

Through integrating smart technologies and techniques into new and existing energy systems we are bringing increased efficiencies in the areas of Advanced Manufacturing, Biomedical and Process engineering.

Embedded Circuits & Systems Technologies

By adopting new transformative technologies and processes we are developing new and novel disruptive solutions that drive advances in the areas of IoT, Smart Factories and Healthcare.

Surface and Coating Engineering

Incorporating the next generation of surface coating advances to drive new innovations in the Water & Waste Water, Biomedical and Aerospace sectors.

What types of companies does Design+ work with?

Design+ can offer support on projects of all sizes to all types of company such as start-ups, HPSUs, SMEs, large indigenous and multinationals.

How can Design+ help your company?

DESIGN+ believes that approaching a product or service with the user in mind is key to successful product development. During the development process, Design+ uses end-user insights to make informed decisions that drive strategic and tactical progress. The greater the meaning of the final experience, the greater the authenticity and level of user engagement – regardless of the product, service or system being designed.

How to work with the team

Work with Design+

To find out more about DESIGN+, check out their page and follow them on Twitter for all the latest news and events!

Top 5 reasons your company should actively embrace innovation

Innovation can be an important step in a company’s continued success and development. If you’re a start-up, SME, large indigenous or multinational company in Ireland, it should be at the forefront of your thinking. Innovation provides a range of positive advantages which in these uncertain times could provide stability and growth for many Irish companies.

We’ve put together the 5 top reasons why your company should consider including innovation in your business practices.

  1. Competitive Advantage

It’s imperative that in an increasingly busy, connected and technological world you gain an edge over your competitors. By including innovation as a natural part of your company’s structure, it allows you to stay ahead, stand out from the crowd and create much-needed differentiation in what can sometimes be a very crowded market place.

  1. Meeting consumer needs

Recognising the current needs of your consumer, predicting change and developing your product or service to provide a solution is a critical factor in the success of business today. In today’s fast-paced world, technology and consumer demand change so rapidly that keeping in step with what is required calls for continued research and development of your service, process or product line. Maintaining innovation development in line with your consumer needs will ensure continued success.

  1. Development of new and existing markets

Growth is a key factor in the development of any business; in fact, it is an essential element for survival and success. The introduction of innovation practices allows for the continued development of new or existing products or services into markets which may previously have otherwise been limited or closed.

  1. Availability of funding

There are many different types of innovation funding available depending on your particular company circumstances. Agencies such as Enterprise Ireland have a range of innovation funding to suit many different circumstances, ranging from €5,000 Innovation Vouchers, Innovation Feasibility studies, Agile Innovation grant right through to larger Innovation Partnerships. Depending on your company’s current status and eligibility, these types of funding have proven to be extremely valuable for many Irish companies.

  1. Economic growth

There is no doubt that successful and continued innovation could increase revenue streams and boost company profitability. As your product or service matures in the market, Innovation can play a key role in the continued creation of new opportunities, expansion and growth for your company.

Take a look at our Supports page for more information about available Enterprise Ireland Innovation supports.

Internet of Things (IoT) trends to watch in 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, Tom Fitzmaurice, Business Development Manager of the Applied IoT cluster, looks forward to what promises to be yet another year of rapid evolution in the world of IoT. In fact, 2019 is shaping up to be no different from its predecessor when it comes to exponential growth for the Internet of Things and in this blog post, Tom looks at some potential hot topics for the year ahead.

Cybersecurity

Thus far, IoT device manufacturers have remained behind the curve when it comes to in-built security measures in their product lines. When you purchase a wearable or temperature controlling IoT device for your home, it is not advisable to assume it is secure. On the contrary, unless specifically stated by the manufacturer it would be safer to assume it is NOT secure.

It’s predicted that 2019 will see manufacturers place more emphasis on providing solutions that are designed to protect their IoT devices from data loss/intrusion with wider acceptance being afforded to biometric-infused and other innovative security measures. As in all aspects of life, there will always be new digital threats emerging that will require re-active and more importantly, pro-active solutions to combat as the IoT industry strives for a safer and more secure environment into 2019 and beyond.

Connected vehicles

Advances in the world of the connected vehicle are continuing to transform society as we know it and are changing the way we will use transportation in the future. In addition to the strides being made in powering new vehicles with electricity, increased connectivity capabilities will enable vehicles to communicate with everything around it, including road signs, traffic indicators, other vehicles and pedestrians.

4G, and eventually 5G, networks will allow for higher speed communication, facilitating much greater control over these vehicles. Once again, the development of stringent security measures will be required to ensure the safe use and operation of these more environmentally safer and cost-effective vehicles of the future.

Smart communities

Smart cities have been evolving steadily over the last number of years. Data streaming from thousands of IoT devices around some of the major metropolitan areas is being digitally analysed and used to improve the quality of life for inhabitants. This is achieved by monitoring and enhancing air quality, providing better traffic management systems and implementing smart energy management technologies.

The success of smart cities is leading to the testing and commissioning of such technologies on a smaller scale in towns, villages and individual communities around the globe. Attracting increased interest is the concept of localised communities, serviced by microgrid power stations and comprising high-performance homes kitted out with energy-efficient systems, appliances and other connected devices. Expectations are high for such developments to integrate into a larger ecosystem of connected devices, creating more comfortable living conditions and delivering huge energy savings.

Connectivity

Finally, we’ll glance at the world of connectivity – one of, if not the, most important ingredients when it comes to IoT. In the absence of a strong connection between them, the billions of connected devices deployed around the world would be rendered useless. Having outlined the boundless opportunities for development in cybersecurity, connected vehicles and smart cities, the reality is none of these would be possible without strong and reliable connectivity.

5G is being earmarked as the means to connect all things digital and transform the world we live in. Promoted as being up to 10 times faster, with 50 times less latency and 1,000 times the capacity of 4G, 5G is set to bring billions more connected devices online making way for further disruptive technologies and the creation of new business and financial opportunities.

Tom Fitzmaurice is the Business Development Manager for the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Applied IoT cluster. The cluster is a consortium of five of Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Gateways, providing a single point of contact for companies looking to access technical capabilities for Internet of Things (IoT) research and development. Visit the A IoT page and follow them on Twitter for all the latest news and events.

Looking to innovate? Apply to the Agile Innovation Fund!

Are you falling behind your competitors? Do you need a quick solution for your product? Are you keen to innovate?

Being innovative and acting fast certainly are key to survival these days. Enterprise Ireland understands the need for rapid change and that is why the new Agile Innovation Fund was introduced.

What is the Agile Innovation Fund?

Enterprise Ireland’s new Agile Innovation Fund was created in response to the threats and opportunities posed by Brexit. It allows companies in sectors with rapid design cycles to keep their advantage by offering an online application and fast-track approval process, so you can quickly engage in the innovation activity necessary to make your international growth ambitions reality.

It is called the ‘Agile’ Innovation Fund as it offers faster turnaround times from application to approval than the RD&I funds. This fund allows companies to access up to 50% in support for product, process or service development projects with a total cost of up to €300,000.

Collaborate with a Technology Gateway - apply for the Agile Innovation Fund

Can this fund be used to collaborate with a Technology Gateway?

Yes, the Agile Innovation Fund is one of three ways in which Enterprise Ireland can fund your collaboration with one of our Technology Gateways. Once you receive funding, you can contact your chosen Gateway, or if you are unsure of which one best suits your needs you can contact the Gateway Team on +353 (01) 708 2954 for guidance.

Who can apply for the Agile Innovation Fund?

The fund is open to everyone; both Enterprise Ireland clients and non-Enterprise Ireland clients can apply.

Am I eligible for the fund?

You are eligible to apply for Agile Innovation Funding, if:

  • Your company is an Irish-based manufacturing or internationally traded services company.
  • You can show adequate cash resources to implement the proposed RD&I project.

Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) client companies are eligible to apply if:

  • Sustainable revenues of €500,000 have been achieved.
  • The company is EBITDA + in the previous accounting period (or previous 9 months prior to application) and can demonstrate future EBITDA + status.
  • No external finance in the form of equity (subject to no double funding) has been raised in the previous six months.

How do I apply?

The application process has been made as easy and as straightforward as possible for applicants.

You can apply online at any time. Full guidance for completing each section can be found within the system. If you are an EI client, you are advised to speak to your Development Adviser (DA) before submitting an application.

Along with the application, you must submit a Project Plan. The Project Plan should be completed by the Technical Lead for the project. Details on submitting the Project Plan separately are included in the confirmation email you will receive when your online application has been completed and submitted to Enterprise Ireland.

If you are a non-EI client, there is a simple expression of interest (Outline Proposal) form that consists of one A4 sheet of questions where you will outline the basic details of the project. This allows an EI staff member to review the proposed project and follow up with recommendations.

If you are reluctant to innovate remember that,

“Innovation does not always mean developing new products. More often it means enhancing offerings with incremental tweaks.”

– Joe Madden (In-Company Research, Development and Innovation Supports Manager at Enterprise Ireland)

Further information

Company profile: Cootehill Precision Engineering in partnership with PEM Technology Gateway

3D scanning for precision engineering applications

Cootehill Precision Engineering Ltd carries out work for companies ranging from component manufacturing for heavy industries (e.g. agricultural sector) through to the machining of very small components (e.g. the electronics industry).

They have heat treatment and 3D printing facilities on site and a basic 3D scanning device. Their experience to date, with their current 3D scanning technology, is that it is not suitable for the work they undertake.

The primary output from this project undertaken by PEM Technology Gateway was to identify a suitable scanner and to explore the added benefit such a device will have to Cootehill’s operations. Specifically to consider were:

  • Most suitable scanning technology
  • Identify the uses, pros and cons of this technology
  • Identify suitable scan processing and 3D modelling software
  • Consider potential business opportunities from 3D scanning

Project results

A number of 3D scanning technologies and devices were considered and the most suited technology and device were identified for the applications Cootehill Precision would require. As a proof of concept, a typical component that Cootehill manufactures was scanned using the identified device/technology. The results were analysed with scan processing and 3D modelling software to determine its efficacy.

A report containing information on scanning technologies and their uses, potential business opportunities for Cootehill from this technology (based on a case studies analysis) and further developmental work in respect of quality control and standard operating procedures (SOP), that would enhance a 3D scanning service offered by Cootehill Precision to clients, was delivered as the final project output.

Meet the Team… Tim Yeomans

In our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we bring you a range of interviews from across the Technology Gateway Network.

Next up is Tim Yeomans – Shannon ABC Technology Gateway Manager, one of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways.

  1. Tell us a bit about Shannon ABC

Shannon ABC was established in 2008. We are a collaboration between Limerick IT and IT Tralee, and we work with companies in the biotech, food, and life science sectors. We have scientists and business development staff based in both locations, all with their own areas of expertise. We believe we provide a great opportunity for companies to access capabilities across two colleges through one access point.

  1. Describe your role

My role, together with the Shannon ABC Technology Gateway team, is to devise and deliver projects that will ultimately benefit a company’s bottom line. I am responsible for business development activities, scientific and strategic development of Shannon ABC, and financial reporting.

  1. What’s unique about this Gateway?

Shannon ABC is the only co-located Gateway in the Technology Gateway network and we have delivered a range of projects across both locations that would have been very difficult to deliver individually due to the expertise required. We work in the area of bioresources, and helping companies to get more value from bioresources. This means we work with a wide range of sectors – nutraceutical, cosmetics, food, pharma, healthcare, textile, biopharma, environmental, biotechnology, etc. The benefit to our clients is the opportunities we can uncover; for example, when we are looking for added-value from food waste, we are not just looking for an application in food but also in cosmetics, healthcare, biotechnology, etc. This opens up more opportunities for Irish industry.

  1. What type of companies do you work with?

We work with companies based in the biotech, food and life science sectors – that’s anything from cosmetics to healthcare, from food to pharmaceutical. We work with companies ranging in size from micro-enterprises and sole traders to multi-national corporations. The smallest project we did recently was €85, the largest was €4.2 million!

  1. What are the main benefits for a company collaborating with Shannon ABC?

We are a commercially focussed centre, so our focus is on what will make an impact for the company. The more that we understand the company and their business model, the better we can help. We have a wide network in the sectors that we work in and so we often find that we are introducing companies to each other in order to help them address commercialisation or route to market challenges.

  1. How can you help a company prepare for an innovation project?

We sit down with the company and work out why they are doing the project. We would always approach this from the perspective of how this project will ultimately help the company sell their product or service. Once we’ve determined what the project is, we help to identify the most appropriate funding mechanism and provide as much help as we can in terms of the application process.

  1. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a company considering an innovation project?

Make sure that what you are doing will benefit your company, that you’re not doing the project just because it is interesting (and work with Shannon ABC!).

  1. What do you love most about your job?

I really enjoy my job – identifying the companies to work with, developing the project to help them, and then seeing the impact of this project. A key part is making connections for Irish companies; I get to work with a really wide range of companies, at all stages of development and it’s great to be in a position where you can pass along useful information to these companies in terms of their development. Whether this is in the delivery of a successful project or just in putting them in connection with other companies who they may be able to work with.

More information

Surprising results in gait analysis research

The ExerScout Gait Analysis application is a non-marker-based motion tracking system that automatically gathers data of an individual’s gait while they are on a treadmill. This research began as a 12-month Innovation Partnership and R&D project with Elite Sports Performance. The Irish company is involved in appraising fitness and agility by evaluating fundamental movement patterns using the Functional Movement Screening (FMS) approach.

ExerScout Gait Analysis

Elite Sports Performance came to the TSSG Gateway with an interest in developing an automated way in which FMS could be used by evaluating subjects whereby they would perform the tests, be assessed by software, and have sets of corrective exercises prescribed to them to allow them to improve their mobility, stability and flexibility and to reduce their risk of injury.

The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Human Performance Lab, a close partner of Elite Sports Performance, was intrigued by the application of ExerScout and tasked Elite Sports Performance to develop a feature that allowed the analysis of a person’s gait using the Microsoft Kinect V2.  This new feature would then be compared to a state of the art 24 sensor treadmill that is available in GSK.

How did TSSG help?

TSSG developed this feature on the existing ExerScout platform along with further requests of assessing standing analysis, balance analysis and sitting analysis.

A complete Windows 10 application was developed in conjunction with the Microsoft Kinect V2 that can evaluate the 7 FMS tests, score each test, identify weaknesses and provide corrective exercises that will improve the scores given. The application also has a media section that contains footage on each of the seven tests and all the corrective exercises that are associated with each test.

A series of algorithms have been developed which includes methods for calculating a user’s step width, step length and stride length. Not only does the application gather data on a person’s gait, but it will also gather data on other gestures including stance, balance, and other movements while performing the exercise on the treadmill.

The Windows 10 application gathers data from the Microsoft Kinect V2 sensor while a person is walking on the treadmill. The Kinect V2 is a motion sensor that can measure three-dimensional motions of a person. The data generated by the Kinect V2 is a frame-by-frame algorithmic calculation of various gestures. A readout is displayed in the application of the calculations for each gesture that is being generated and they are also being stored in the cloud. A skeleton representation of the person on the treadmill is also displayed within the application. For further analysis, the data can be exported to a CSV file and analysed by an expert to identified trends, etc.

Impact on the company

The client has received a new product, which opens up a wide range of new customers, target markets, and the geographical locations it can reach. The product is completely flexible and can be adapted for other exercises.

The platform was updated and contains a series of new tests and features that can be used in conjunction with research, development, and testing within the GSK Human Performance Lab. This has increased the strength of the relationship between GSK, Elite Sports Performance, and the TSSG Gateway. Future work is in the pipeline for more features to be developed on the ExerScout Platform.

Future applications

Following on from the development completed under the ExerScout project, other areas of interest could be assisting in the early diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Diseases. With the algorithms that have been developed, there is an opportunity for collaborations with neurorehabilitation, WIT Biomechanics, or Alzheimer’s Association of Ireland.

Gateway Profile: CAPPA Technology Gateway

CAPPA is a research centre of Cork Institute of Technology, conducting both applied and fundamental research on photonics for applications in areas as diverse as telecommunications, medical devices, food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturing. CAPPA works in the area of photonics generation and manipulation of light, and a major strand of CAPPA’s activities focuses on bringing the benefits of photonics technology to a diverse range of industry partners.

What is CAPPA Technology Gateway?

In September 2006, the Photonic Device Dynamics Group was established. The group’s research was based on Principal Investigator funding from Science Foundation Ireland, with a strong track record in the understanding of semiconductor laser physics and photonic devices.

In 2007, the group was awarded funding from Enterprise Ireland to establish an Applied Research Enhancement centre, with a specific remit to provide photonics solutions to regional and national industry. The centre was given the name Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis (CAPPA).

On 23rd October 2008, CAPPA was officially opened by Dr Jimmy Devins, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation. Over the next 10 years, both the industry-targeted activities and the academic research of the group continued to strengthen and expand, developing links with over 100 national and international companies, publishing over 90 journal papers, working with 11 of the top 100 universities internationally and achieving over €8 million  in funding, including a number of European FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects. In 2013, the group was awarded funding for a CAPPA Technology Gateway.

In 2014, the CAPPA name was rebranded as the umbrella title for all the group’s activities, combining both the fundamental science and industry-focused research strands of the group, as well as consolidating activities based on the main CIT campus and within the Tyndall National Institute. In May 2014, CAPPA moved into the state-of-the-art CREATE building on CIT campus which was funded by the Higher Education Authority. From 2014 to 2018, CAPPA continued to grow on both a national and international level. During this period, CAPPA began working on additional academic and industry-led projects.

In 2018, CAPPA received additional funding from the Technology Gateways for the period 2018-2022 and is one of seven gateways involved the Irish Food Tech cluster.

What technology is used in CAPPA?

The centre focus on optics and photonics, including light and light-based systems with the addition of automation and data analysis.

What type of facilities are provided?

A wide range of facilities is provided onsite, including a Femtosecond Physics Laboratory, a Laser Dynamics Laboratory, a Photoluminescence Spectroscopy Laboratory and a Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory. We use a variety of techniques including Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), Microscopy – including FT-IR and Raman imaging, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM) and Hyperspectral Imaging, to name a few.

How many companies have CAPPA worked with over the past 5 years?

CAPPA has worked with over 100 companies including start-ups, SMEs and MNCs in sectors such as food and beverages, medical, pharmaceutical, consumer electronics, telecommunications and photonics.

What regions does CAPPA work in ?

CAPPA works with companies from all over Ireland and collaborates with academic partners worldwide.

To find out more about CAPPA, check out their page and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest news and events!

Company Profile: Fresh Graze in partnership with COMAND

An automated moving fence using robots to allocate fresh grass to livestock

Fresh Graze is an automated moving fence using robots to allocate fresh grass to livestock. Developed by the Drumm family and the COMAND Technology Gateway it was Ag-tech Startup winner and overall winner of the Alfie Cox perpetual cup at the NPA Innovation arena.

Problem

Fresh Graze requires grazebot, an automated moving fence system which allocates fresh grass to grazing animals on a continual basis at a rate that ensures the entire sward is consumed before the fence moves again. Based on a feeding plan, size of paddock and feeding rate, a cloud-based system is required to:

  • output when the fence should move; and
  • be able to communicate with the grazebot in the paddock and visualise the feeding rate to the user.

Partnership

With this in mind, Fresh Graze conducted Innovation Voucher work and contract design for the grazebot in partnership with the COMAND Technology Gateway based at the Software Research Institute in the Athlone IT. A feasibility study, in collaboration with Intelligent Mechatronics and RFID (IMaR Technology Gateway) in the Tralee IT was also carried out to develop the integration between the grazebot in the paddock.

Solution

The cloud-based system is developed using a highly scalable architecture. It includes a user interface that takes input data per paddock per user via a web application. The user chooses the paddock to be grazed. A feeding rate for the grazebot is output to an API which is accessed by the grazebot in the paddock. Using the API, further communication between the system and the grazebot are in the pipeline.

Further considerations

Grazebot is at the early stage of development. It has been suggested that particular care should be given to the following aspects:

  • Continued further investment is planned for a production-ready system;
  • Potential new features documented during the development of the demo; and
  • Data analytics is likely to play an important role in the future of this project to provide paddock feeding rate prediction.