This project will develop tools to enhance capacity of manufacturing companies in the NPA region to adapt and embrace new technologies and innovation. The toolbox developed will consist of subsets such as Digital Manufacturing (robotics and simulation); New ideas and thinking (human centred and environmental thinking, competitiveness); Business models and Modern product Innovation.

Manufacturing companies in the NPA region are predominately small in size and face considerable challenges like geographical isolation from major markets and a lack of the benefits offered by more populous and urbanised economic urban clusters. When combined with global trends that see a shift in manufacturing to lower cost and developing economics with rapid advances in new technologies, this means that support measures are needed to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing in the NPA region has many important strengths. These include regional and niche specific competencies that are world leading in specific sectors unique to the region. (For example technologies, processes and products dealing with timber, technologies for cold conditions and wireless communications in Scandinavia, extractive industries and materials handling in Ireland.)

The key to this project is the application of innovation and embracing new processes and practices such as virtual and parametric design and simulation, reverse planning, modelling and 3D printing, remote monitoring and programming of NC machines and robots, 3D measurements, application of digital data and vision based quality assurance. Coupling these with key market analysis skills such as trending, testing and integrating products into a whole cycle of service delivery will build the competitive advantage and value of manufacturing firms. The key is to converge all of these technologies to produce an integrated, automated and highly efficient manufacturing environment. Simply stated, “this is putting the knowledge economy into manufacturing.”

This project will develop a toolbox of supports to build future global competitiveness of NPA region manufacturers giving them a new influx of innovation, technology and novel processes. This will open up new and promising opportunities and reduce the competitive and knowledge gap through the introduction of new processes, techniques, knowledge and skill and will demonstrate the benefits to be gained through the application of these supports to position NPA manufacturing industries as world leaders in their sectors and building sustainable competitive advantage.


Partners

The partners are:

  • South West College, Northern Ireland – Lead Partner;
  • UiT – The Arctic University of Norway;
  • Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland;
  • Luleå University of Technology, Sweden;
  • Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre, Ireland;
  • Local Enterprise Offices Cavan and Sligo, Ireland.

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Seated (L-R): Dympna McCarron (Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre); Asa Ericson (Lulea Technical University Sweden); Wei Deng Solvang (Narvik University College, Norway) Standing (L-R) Guðmundur Oddson (University of Iceland); Padraig McNamee (SWC); Malachy McAleer (SWC); Sakari Pieska (Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland); Liam Kiely (Sligo Local Enterprise Office)

Representatives from partner organisations across the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme descended on Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh (N Ireland) recently to discuss the implementation of the newly approved TARGET Programme. The TARGET Programme has as its objective to deliver state-of-the-art manufacturing supports to local businesses and is funded under the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme 2014-2020. Grant assistance is received through the European Regional Development Fund and managed through the Special EU Programmes Body.

The two day event bought together delegates from Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland; Narvik University, Norway; Lulea University of Technology, Sweden, University of Iceland; Sligo Local Enterprise Office; Cavan Local Enterprise Office and Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre, at the home of lead partner South West College, in Enniskillen. Manufacturing companies in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) Region face considerable challenges in terms of retaining competitiveness, adopting new technology and processes and their capacity to innovate. Malachy McAleer, Director of South West College explained that “the aim of this project is to develop the tools to allow manufacturing companies in the NPA Region to adapt and embrace the next generation of technology and innovation”. He described how “each of the partner organisations have specialist skill sets focused on ensuring that the local and regional manufacturing base will be globally competitive and innovative through the utilisation of the advanced technology and digital manufacturing techniques available through the partnership”.

Padraig McNamee Head of Technology at South West College told the delegates how “the key to the next generation of manufacturing in the NPA regions is the targeted application of innovation and the embracing of new processes and practices such as design, product development, prototyping, automation, electronics, data communication, ICT and quality management”.   Mr. McNamee went on to explain how “this then needs to be aligned with key market analysis skills such as trending, testing and integrating products into a whole cycle of service delivery so as to build the competitive advantage and value proposition of manufacturing firms.

The key is to converge all of these technologies to produce an integrated, automated and highly efficient manufacturing environment. Simply stated, this is how we aim to put the knowledge economy into manufacturing”. Vincent Reynolds, Local Enterprise Cavan described how “the project results will reduce the competitive and knowledge gap of participating manufacturing companies that participate in the programme through the introduction of new processes, techniques, knowledge and skills”. He went on to say that “the programme will demonstrate the benefits to be gained through the application of these supports and position NPA Manufacturing industries as leaders in their sector thereby building sustainable competitive advantage”. This €2.1 million project will run for 36 months.

For further information contact:

Elaine Reynolds

Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre,

Dublin Road,

Cavan

T:+353 49 4377277/

E: elainereynolds@cavanitc.ie            

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