Covid-19

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CAPPA Contributing to COVID 19 Research

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic CAPPA researchers have been exploring ways in which they can provide their services and expertise to help the fight against the virus. CAPPA researcher Dr Steven Darby has been involved in the development of the definition of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) standards for barrier masks and as part of the Irish Delegation for the European Committee for Standardization (CEN).

The NSAI standard for barrier masks was recently published and provides important information for manufacturers and consumers in relation to barrier masks. The specification was developed in response to a request from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and with the view that many Irish manufacturing companies are trying to change their production lines in response to the current pandemic. Cork Institute of Technology staff, including Dr Darby, contributed as experts to the development of this document.

As a result of his significant contribution to the document, Dr Steven Darby was appointed to the Irish delegation to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), to assist with developing the CEN Workshop Agreement for Community Face Coverings. In most European countries, community masks have become a fundamental element of national strategies guiding the gradual lifting of restrictions across different countries. For this reasons, the European Commission developed a document in order to guide a harmonised and consistent degree of safety in community face coverings. On 17 June 2020, CEN published a free document on the workshop agreement on community face coverings. This document provides the minimum requirements for the design, production and performance assessment of community face coverings intended for consumers, single or reusable. The full agreement can be found here.

 CAPPA is committed to providing its facilities and research expertise in every possible aspect to help with the fight against COVID-19. Even though we are restricted with what we can do, we are still available to speak with you regarding research projects, proposals and product solutions. If you wish to speak with a member of our team contact us here or email cappa@cit.ie.

This post was originally published on the CAPPA website

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An Innovative Face-shield Response to COVID-19 by LYIT

In March 2020, at the very beginning of the impact awareness that COVID-19 would have on Ireland, the WiSAR Technology Gateway was contacted by a consultant anaesthetist in Letterkenny University Hospital, Dr Erik Korba who was concerned about a shortage of PPE used by healthcare staff caring for Covid-19 patients.  He had discovered an open source visor design known as the RC3 which was developed by Czech 3D printing company, Prusa. WiSAR worked together with engineers from the Dept. of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering to confirm the design feasibility against other such designs with Dr Korba and his team and immediately went into production.

Anticipating the shutdown of the LYIT Campus, they set up a 3D printing facility in a business premises in Donegal Town which was vacant due to the restrictions and transferred production. LYIT’s engineers collaborated with a group of local secondary school teachers and private individuals who had access to 3D printing to coordinate a massive production effort across the county. This combined effort meant that they were able to deliver 520 RC3 face shields within the first week of production, with over 2,000 units of the design manufactured and delivered to the hospital and other healthcare facilities in Donegal by the end of April.

However, the 3D printed RC3 represented a significant bottleneck in the manufacturing process with each 3D printed piece having a 4-hour print time to ensure the required quality and strength. Additionally, the porous nature of the 3D printed RC3 made sanitisation very difficult and consequently could only be used once in a health care environment before disposal.

Chris Roulston and Johnny Morrow from the Dept. of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering set about optimising a design to eliminate the material intensive and time-consuming 3D printing process. The LC1 face shield developed by engineers at LYIT transforms a 2D laser cut flat pattern from modified laminated acrylic to a 3D part using a thermoforming process. The thermoforming process, the most significant manufacturing process for the new LC1 design can be completed at a rate of 1 unit every 4 minutes, meaning that the manufacturing could be increased tenfold satisfying the unprecedented amount of requests received for the PPE.

Furthermore, the new design is reusable as the new material can be sanitised.  It retains the same geometric features as the original, this ensures comfort for the user and ensures that other component parts including the transparent face shield are interchangeable.

 

The team collaborated with local companies for the initiative, including; The Veneerist and Soniphorm who volunteered their laser cutting facilities and both whose studios are located in Donegal, CSI Manufacturing Ltd, Dublin, who supplied the material, Morna’s Patch, Donegal Town, who supplied the elastic head bands and Rory’s Auto Spares, Donegal Town, who provided the business premises. As a result of this collaborative effort they have been able to supply much needed face shields for free to healthcare professionals in numerous settings both locally and nationally.  Currently, there is capacity among the current group to produce 120 face-shields per day.

John Andy Bonar, VP of Research, Equality and External Affairs at LYIT commented, “It was a privilege to be able to contribute in some way to the fight against this pandemic.  I am proud of the initiative, creativity and terrific team effort made by the Department of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering under the leadership of Dr Jim Morrison during the lockdown period.  I hope that the LC1 design can be made open source so that others nationally and internationally can benefit from it.”

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Virtual Reality: The Modern Education Method

The Virtual and Augmented Reality team in TSSG have combined visual and kinaesthetic learning tools to raise awareness of COVID-19. Aimed at children aged 8 and up, this interactive experience is also ASD friendly and can be used as a tool to educate children in a fun and engaging environment. Using the HSE COVID-19 safety guidelines, this informative and interactive experience demonstrates how to effectively wash hands using a sequence of cards and how to successfully practice social distancing in a supermarket or retail environment.

The ARVR team were successful in an Enterprise Ireland capital funding call last year to develop a Mixed Reality Lab in TSSG however, due to COVID-19, the finishing touches have been put on hold. Rather than allow the new equipment to go unused, the team utilised the materials in their respective homes and came together online to create this learning tool.

Stills from the VR experience

To access this virtual experience, users require an Oculus Quest with Oculus Touch controllers, which are available online. Download the VR experience from SideQuest.

This informative experience is just one of many projects the AR/VR team in TSSG are developing. The equipment in the Mixed Reality Lab will be used to advance research into a variety of areas including the benefits of virtual reality for people with ASD; how virtual reality experiences can give more accurate results in consumer experiences; how virtual reality can improve learning and development training in companies and the use of augmented reality in retail and tourism to enhance customers experience. The latter two are becoming more relevant in the current pandemic.

For more information on this experience or to learn more about how our ARVR team can assist your company develop an augmented or virtual reality experience contact Miguel Ponce de Leon, Technology Gateway Manager, at miguelpdl@tssg.org.

This post was originally published on the TSSG website

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Nimbus Launch Webinar Series to Assist Business Community

The Covid 19 outbreak has caused businesses across the globe to rethink their business model. We have seen how Irish businesses have responded to increasing challenges such as working remotely, moving operations online and diversifying how they deliver their products and services. At the Nimbus Research Centre we are fortunate that we can continue to operate with little disruption in how we deliver our projects to clients. Naturally there has been some change in how we do this with a significant increase in video calls, online workshops and digital marketing efforts.

Many businesses may have had to furlough staff, close up shop and rely on savings to ride out the storm, this could however put a business at risk if the spread of the virus cannot be contained in the coming months. Moreover, many businesses could see themselves leapfrogged by innovative competitors. To assist companies throughout this difficult and challenging period, Nimbus and Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways continue to provide innovation and business supports through a range of different measures.

One way we are doing this is ensuring we communicate with our clients effectively, and we have found this is best done through our Webinar Series which launched on the 6th of May. Currently, more than 60% of organisations are using webinars as part of their content marketing strategies. Webinars have exploded in growth over the past few months.

The first in our series focused in on how Nimbus is continuing “business as usual” even through remote work. Our panellist from the Nimbus Business Development Team, Brain Cahill, Stephen Collins and Alex Joyce highlighted, Enterprise Ireland and other government funding supports, that are available to companies during this time and how these supports can be used within Nimbus to develop and innovate organisations to survive and flourish during this unusual time.

The webinar also placed emphasis on previous and on-going projects that we have developed within the centre. We have focused experts in software, hardware, UI/UX and Machine Learning & AI who work on over seventy projects a year. These projects assisted companies with integrating IoT technologies into their business without a need of prior understanding.

Upcoming webinars will include introducing our Mixed Reality Lab which consists of the latest Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to support and grow our innovation capacity to service the needs of Industry 4.0 client requirements. We will also conduct webinars for specific sectors such as the Food and Hospitality industry, who may need technical support and innovative solutions as they move their offerings online.

For more information how the Nimbus Technology Gateway can help your business please visit nimbus.cit.ie or contact brian.cahill@nimbus.ie.

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PEM Support Businesses Online with Consultations and Facilitated Innovation / Planning Sessions

The Precision Engineering and Manufacturing (PEM) Technology Gateway offers supports to Irish companies through various funding and applied research projects.

We are also available to help our existing and potential new clients to restart their businesses and get to the next stage post Covid-19. PEM can offer facilitated innovation sessions on business’s long-term planning, innovation planning, guidance on your development journey and to facilitate you in your marketing strategy.

If you are a Company having technical, engineering, manufacturing, materials, process optimisation problems you are trying to solve, then we are here to support your work on those projects through accessing the extensive expertise within the PEM Technology Gateway.

We provide a bridge between industry and IT Sligo, enabling access to the right academic expertise and equipment, we can provide testing facilities you may need and support you in your product/process innovation projects. We also assist in navigating potential funding sources available through the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway – our website gives more detail on how we can benefit your businesses.

More about us:

The aim of the PEM Centre is twofold:

  • To service the needs of industry – working with companies to provide solutions to engineering and technical problems across their value chain.
  • To contribute to the technical and academic body of knowledge within Precision Engineering & Manufacturing, and to transfer that knowledge to Industry.

The PEM Technology Gateway.

Building on the Institute of Technology Sligo’s research strengths in precision engineering, mechanical engineering, material science, micro-machining, polymer processing, rapid prototyping, general manufacturing process control and statistical process analysis, we provide engineering/technical solutions and process improvements across the full product lifecycle, with particular specialisation in Product design & development and Manufacturing

PEM strategic Research Centre

The PEM SRC structure provides our Principal Investigators, who have all individually demonstrated notable research achievements through engagement with industry, a platform to consolidate our experience, expertise, and resources. The PEM Research Development and Innovation themes are complementary and provide opportunities for convergence towards a unique single industry R&D support offering in precision engineering and manufacturing. In addition they complement and leverage of a number of Enterprise Ireland  and SFI funded research centres that we have formed strategic collaborations with.

Contact us to find out more about how we in PEM can help you with your business’s long-term planning in research, development & innovation, guidance on your development journey and developing your marketing strategy. Our Business Development team, R&D Engineers and Researchers are here to help you, we can provide online consultations to discuss your areas of need and facilitate group workshops to help with planning the next steps of your innovation journey or projects.

The Team

For more information or for support in your funding application contact any of the PEM Technology Gateway team below.

 

Finola Howe
PEM Technology Gateway Manager
Area of Expertise: Business Development, Quality,
Manufacturing & Operational Excellence
Email: howe.finola@itsligo.ie

 

Clíodhna Carroll
PEM Technology Gateway
Business Development Lead
Email: carroll.cliodhna@itsligo.ie

 

 

Mark McLoughlin
PEM Technology Gateway Research
& Development Engineer
Area of Expertise: Precision Engineering & Design
Email:  mcloughlin.mark@itsligo.ie

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CAPPA Assisting with Defining NSAI Standards for Barrier Masks

CAPPA Technology Gateway are delighted to announce that Researcher Dr Steven Darby was recently part of the team, which worked to define The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) standards for barrier masks. The NSAI standard for barrier masks was recently published and provides important information for manufacturers and consumers in relation to barrier masks. The specification was developed in response to a request from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and with the view that many Irish manufacturing companies are trying to change their production lines in response to the current pandemic.

The NSAI developed this Specification Written in Fast Track (SWiFT) to address an urgent need for a consensus – based specification for non – medical and non – PPE masks (barrier masks) for the general public. Used in conjunction with relevant public health advice, these barrier masks may contribute to the prevention of the spreading viral (e.g. COVID – 19) infections. This work had to be completed within a very tight timeline due to the urgency of the project. This specification was developed using existing specifications from NSAI colleagues in France, Belgium and Spain.

Cork Institute of Technology staff, Dr Steven Darby, (CAPPA) Dr Niall Smith (Head of Research, CIT), Professor Roy Sleator, Alan Giltinan, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, along with contributed as experts in the development of the document. Commenting on the publication, Dr Niall Smith said: “It is gratifying to see members of the CIT research community playing a thought-leading role during the Covid-19 emergency. Further developments in the manufacture and use of masks can be anticipated as we gain a better understanding of the transmission pathways for the virus.”

CAPPA is committed to providing its facilities and expertise in every possible aspect to help with the fight against COVID – 19. Even though we are restricted with what we can do, we are still available to speak with you regarding research projects, proposals and product solutions. If you wish to speak with a member of the team contact them here or email cappa@cit.ie.

This post was originally published on the CAPPA website

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Proactive Response by SEAM & 3DWIT to Current Global Public Health Crisis

SEAM & 3DWIT delivering 3D printed face shields to National Ambulance Service (Dublin)

SEAM Technology Gateway have responded to the current global public health crisis by offering their unique skills and experience to companies and those working on the front line. From its Waterford IT base, SEAM provides engineering material solutions in sectors such as biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals, micro-electronics, precision engineering & construction sectors. In recent weeks it has come together with its Additive Manufacturing training centre 3DWIT to provide a range of services to those who need it most.

True to its dedicated commitment of providing continued service to industries, SEAM laboratories has remained open throughout the lock down period,  with its team of researchers and engineers providing vital assistance, support and expertise to companies in the Medical Device and Pharma industry who may require assistance at this time. Whilst the team at 3DWIT have developed a supply line of much needed face shields, necessary to protect our frontline workers. To date SEAM-3DWIT have printed numerous face shields and have delivered to National Ambulance Service in Dublin, various nursing homes and health centres in Waterford and its surroundings, GP surgeries, UHW (University Hospital Waterford) consultants, etc.

SEAM & 3DWIT delivering 3D printed face shields to Nursing homes, health centres & clinicians in Waterford

Focus has now been turned into design & mass producing of HME (Humidity Moisture Exchanger) integrated full face mask for consultants who deal with Covid patients and also for other frontline medical staff.  A consortium headed by SEAM and comprising UHW consultants and few companies are looking to mass produce this face mask locally.

On the importance of providing vital services to the medical and pharma industry as well as those working on the frontline, Technology Gateway Manager Dr. Ramesh Raghavendra said ‘it has been very gratifying to be able to assist who needed most during these unprecedented pandemic times and I am grateful to my staff for their assistance and commitment’.

To find out more about SEAM Technology Gateway check out their website and follow them on Twitter for all the latest news.

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IMaR Technology Gateway Offer Technology Advice to Keep Your Business Trading

Kerry businesses struggling to adapt to the challenges presented by Covid-19 can now avail of free technology consultations from the IMaR Technology Gateway at IT Tralee.

With shutdowns and social distancing with us for the foreseeable future, many businesses are looking at ways to continue operating while adhering to HSE guidelines. New technology may be the answer; but the question is, where to start?

For over 10 years, the IMaR Research Centre at IT Tralee has been working for companies in the areas of software, electronics, computing platforms, artificial intelligence, sensors and control systems, and the Technology Gateway’s role is to make these skills accessible to business and companies.

IMaR are now offering 30 minute technology consultation sessions free to Tralee and Kerry businesses to go through the issues they may be having and help them find possible solutions. This could include expert advice on platforms to assist with online trading options, remote working, new ways of delivering training or expert content to customers, technology to remotely monitor facilities, control machines  or achieve more with contactless interactions – not only payments, but door opening, machine on/off, data entry, personnel IDs and much more.

IMaR can also help with advice on the state funding and grants available to businesses to bring in new technologies or to develop their own new technology products.

Dr Daniel Riordan of IMaR says, “Many businesses have already been in contact about what technology they could bring in to address problems they are having with remote working, engaging with clients online or adhering to HSE social distancing guidelines while continuing to do business. Some we have been able to help by pointing them to the correct off-the-shelf technology or web-service, others have been advised on what technology or software is needed as a solution for their business and directed towards a suitable provider or consultant and others have engaged with us in the research and development of new products and services better suited to the current business climate.”

Book your free session with the IMaR Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway team by emailing imar@ittralee.ie

For further information on IMaR check out their website or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn

 

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Design+: Break from the Norm with innovative e-workshop to support Irish business

The view out the window may have changed but the work carries on! At Design+ we have transformed our  Innovation Toolkit and process to MIRO digital whiteboards. This, combined with live video workshops conducted through MS Teams, enables us to support companies seeking innovation, developing innovation processes or re strategizing during and post Covid-19, all while maintaining our trademark client interaction

Many companies are facing the challenges of cash-flow, distribution, communication difficulties and loss of traditional sales channels through retail etc. However, many are also identifying opportunities such as online sales development, increase in local supply demand, increase in food awareness and local produce, opportunities to diversify to new products or new markets. The design strategy workshops are aimed at supporting companies to re-strategise and frame the challenges and opportunities pertinent to their business.

We have designed the digital workshop to work remotely with a lead strategist engaged with the client face to face through live video whilst a second strategist works on the digital whiteboard to capture the key information and visually map the connections. This can also be delivered via our design studio with cameras and sound equipment and the client remotely linked on live video. The live video and visual mapping being shared on the whiteboard brings a dynamic to the workshops and ensures they are totally bespoke to the company’s needs.

On working with Design+ through the new workshops, Eric McGuire,  McGuire Diamonds, Gorey says

“I have worked with Lynne and the design strategy team through the digital workshops and it was fantastic. I received a link through email and once I clicked it I was in the workshop with a video link to the team.  I was able to have real conversations face to face whilst all the information was being mapped on to a whiteboard with sketching and post it notes and text.  It really made me look at things differently and step outside of the day to day, this is all about the bigger picture but then about making those ideas real and actionable. This is just the kind of support I need at the moment as the business is definitely changing and this process has brought clarity and direction”

Whilst Kylie Magner, Magners Farm, Tipperary said

“The digital workshop strategy has been brilliant so far for our business. It’s great to formalise thought processes, collate ideas and at the end of the workshop see those ideas and processes laid out in a logical and strategic manner. Really looking forward to the next one!”

The design strategy process uses tools from the designer’s toolkit to assist in generating new ideas, evaluate ideas and develop strategic roadmap to steps of implementation. The focus is on live projects with known and unknown needs and is open to all SME’s.

To find out more on how DESIGN+ can help your business, check out their website and follow them on Twitter for all the latest news.

 

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APT collaborate with DG Systems & Total Plastic Solutions in COVID-19 fight.

APT Technology Gateway (Applied Polymer Technologies) are delighted to facilitate the donation of our DG Systems supplied ZHAFIR ZERES Haitain Injection Moulding machine to Total Plastic Solutions who will mass produce front line healthcare staff face visors which the company have named “The Limerick Visor”.

In discussing the industry collaboration:

Sam Foley, Total Plastic Solutions said  “The initial prototypes were 3D printed items but as expediency was key to the struggle we (Abbey Moulding Contractors Ltd and Total Plastic Solution Ltd) dedicated our team to design and build an injection moulding tool to enable production volumes of the visors to be produced at our site in Dromcollogher, Co.Limerick. The process from concept through tool design and build to producing high volumes took 10 days. I would like to thank Danny Gleeson and the staff of DG Systems and APT for providing the moulding machine and associated equipment on short notice. I would also like to thank Liam Quaid of Weener Plastics Limited who assisted to fast track a visor solution for our front line heroes.”

Danny Gleeson said ” DG Systems is delighted to support this vital initiative by providing the necessary moulding and ancillary equipment to progress this project to fruition. Protecting frontline workers in these extraordinary times is paramount and we are more than happy to play our part”.

APT Technology Gateway Manager Noel Gately stated ‘Polymer engineering is a key component in the design and manufacture of many of the critical devices needed in the fight against Covid-19. AIT & APT continues to support the industry during this period with the supply of services and manufacturing equipment as requested.’

 

Image above: The Limerick Visor

APT is a dedicated resource for the Irish polymer manufacturing industry and regularly provides training and information dissemination, as well as production demonstration days for companies. Using its suite of characterisation equipment and pilot polymer processing facilities, APT can cover all areas of the production lifecycle from concept design and prototype development towards commercial launch of a development product, production optimisation and troubleshooting for existing processes and end of life recycling.

DG systems supply a large range of plastics processing and ancillary equipment including, Injection Moulding Machines, Loading, Drying, Granulation, Blending & Dosing, Bulk Storage Systems, Temperature Control, Cooling, Plant Supervision, Process & Production Monitoring

Total Plastic Solutions – For over 20 years TPS have been a trusted partner to our multi-national customer base. A solid reputation built on high performance through the utilisation of our service offering of Design, Manufacture and validation of custom, precision, injection moulded components. Our customers benefit from our end-to-end customised manufacturing options, en-corporating full contract manufacturing solutions and supply chain services.