SEAM’s Design for Manufacture Conference

SEAM Design for Manufacture Conference technology Gateway

L-R: Ken Thomas WIT, Paddy Byrne EI, Ramesh Raghavendra SEAM, Minister Halligan, Willie Donnelly President WIT and Martin Corkery EI

The benefits of good design practice were highlighted to manufacturing companies across the south east at a conference hosted by the SEAM Technology Gateway at Waterford Institute of Technology last week. The Design for Manufacture conference was an industry-focused event sponsored by eDigiRegion (an FP7 project initiative to increase regional competitiveness via research-driven clusters in the technology domain).

Design for Manufacture

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 a Town Hall session where 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.”

Gearoid Mooney, Divisional Manager, Research and Innovation at Enterprise Ireland, outlined the importance of Enterprise Ireland Technology 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 €18 million, 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.”

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 their field.

Design Thinking presentations were made by Eoghan O’Donoghue, SEAM Technology Leader (FA/FEA); Dr Richard Keegan, Manager, Competitiveness Department at 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 Fergal Corcoran, Principal Mechanical Design Engineer at Logitech, Cork; Eoin English, New Technology Evaluation Engineering Manager at Analog Devices, Limerick; and Patrick Donnellan, FEA Engineer at SEAM Research Centre, WIT.

Paddy Byrne, Technology Gateway Manager at Enterprise Ireland, reflected on the value of such events:

“Events like the Design for Manufacturing conference at the SEAM Gateway are critical for manufacturing companies to understand the challenges and opportunities being posed by the technology advances represented by Manufacturing 4.0 and how this impacts on development of new products and processes. The importance of this issue was reflected by the strong industry attendance. The day offered a great opportunity for industry and the applied research community to network and exchange ideas.”

The SEAM Gateway

An industry dedicated materials research and development facility, SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials) Research Centre has been a success story in expanding opportunities in the medical device, precision engineering, pharma and energy sectors in Ireland. SEAM 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.

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. The increased automation and integration of new technologies such as 3D additive printing and industrial internet of things for engineering and manufacturing companies are creating new skills needs for Irish industry. The SEAM Gateway, along with its sister Gateways in the network, is seeking to address these issues on a regional and national basis though our open access policy and by becoming an extension of the R&D capabilities of our partner companies.”

For information about the events and open days organised around Ireland by the Technology Gateways, check our events calendar.