IMaR, The Intelligent Mechatronics & RFID Technology Gateway at IT Tralee, in collaboration with Kostal Ireland in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick and Astellas Ireland, in Killorglin, Co. Kerry have secured just under 1/2 million euro in research funding for two projects under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Program.
Kostal Ireland, employing in excess of 800 people, was established in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick in 1981, opening a second facility in Mallow, Co. Cork in 2001. Kostal Ireland manufactures automotive electronic systems and a range of technologies for end users.
While completing an Innovation feasibility conducted by IMaR researchers for Kostal, a need for the semi- automation of complex tasks within the production line was recognised. The proposed project has secured funding from Enterprise Ireland for the research and development of an innovative flexible robotic system, capable of integrating into the current manufacturing process of an automotive manufacturing plant such as Kostal Ireland with a minimum of set up time and training.
‘While this project will undertake the research, design and development for collaborative robotic systems within the field of automotive component manufacture, the research will begin by investigating the assembly processes for E-Car charging systems,’ explained Dr. Daniel Riordan, Centre Manager at IMaR IT Tralee.
Industry partner Astellas Ireland Co. Ltd provides 324 highly skilled jobs in its facility in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. Established in 1990 to manufacture, package and supply a range of treatments globally, Astellas Ireland is committed to R&D investing 1/5 of its annual sales to innovation.
This Killorglin operation in partnership with IMaR has secured funding to implement an innovative IoT based waste management system incorporating RFID to facilitate environmental monitoring and the consolidation of different pharmaceutical waste. This will fully satisfy legislative and regulatory requirements. The overall plan will comprise of two phases, firstly streamlining the waste tracking and recording processes by using a hardware solution to capture records automatically. These records will then be stored electronically with the option of retrieving data on demand.
Mr. Andrew Shields, Project Investigator describes the second phase: ‘It would provide innovation by creating a data warehouse with data portal and business decision support systems. This would allow analytical techniques to be applied to further increase efficiencies for example by analysing data to forecast waste creation hot spots, patterns and trends and refining production processes to negate wastage.’
“When Astellas contacted IMaR with the issue of tracking the Hazardous waste onsite, we found their approach to the issue very analytical and we are very satisfied with the high professional standard and valuable support provided during the project. We feel that the reliability, dedication, and partnership that IMaR personnel have shown during this project is a credit to the institute,’’ explains Mr. Eamonn Foley, on behalf of Astellas Ireland Co. Ltd.
These projects are a measure of the capabilities within IMaR Technology Gateway at IT Tralee demonstrating how innovative research can benefit Irish industry partners in the development of products and services and overall Irish economic growth.