Tyndall National Institute has welcomed the launch of CONFIRM, the new Science Foundation Ireland research centre for manufacturing of the future. CONFIRM will enable research in Smart Products, manufactured by smart machines, underpinned by smart production systems, and all integrated through smart supply chains. Led by Prof Conor McCarthy, University of Limerick, with Tyndall’s Head of Speciality Products and Services, Graeme Maxwell, as Deputy Director, the CONFIRM Centre will contribute to the global advancement of Smart Manufacturing. Adding active intelligence to manufacturing is critical for the long term competitiveness of Irish industry. Within CONFIRM, Tyndall will help develop new technologies to enable Ireland become a world leader in smart manufacturing across multiple sectors.
Tyndall’s Head of Speciality Products and Services, Graeme Maxwell, explains: “Tyndall will apply its decades of expertise in hardware to this transition to smart manufacturing. Through the development of low-power and efficient sensor systems for real-time monitoring of manufacturing processes and products, CONFIRM will enable automated decision-making on the factory floor.”
The manufacturing sector is critical to the Irish economy with 220,000 people employed in direct manufacturing (11% of the total workforce). This number is doubled when indirect jobs are included. In 2015, Ireland’s manufacturing exports were valued at €112 billion. CONFIRM will ensure Irish manufacturing’s competitiveness and sustainability into the future.
Tyndall, together with the other CONFIRM partners, is already heavily engaged with global players in Ireland across Medical Technologies, ICT, Pharma/Biopharma, Food and Engineering and these are recognised areas of manufacturing strength in Ireland. Smart manufacturing will transform all aspects of the supply chain, and will change how companies structure their manufacturing operations and cooperate with suppliers and customers. CONFIRM will help deliver advanced capabilities for industry in the areas of customer-centred manufacturing, optimised real-time decision-making, increased product quality and new business opportunities. This will help enable companies to compete globally and boost Ireland’s reputation as a leading international manufacturing location.
The CONFIRM team comprises 36 investigators from 8 academic institutions (University of Limerick, Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, Athlone Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Limerick Institute of Technology and Maynooth University). The team also includes 42 industry partners, and 20 collaborators from leading international manufacturing groups. The industry partners form a critical component of the CONFIRM team representing the full value-chain of the discrete manufacturing sector in Ireland, including product manufacturers (medical devices, electronics, and engineering products), as well as a diverse range of providers of solutions and services for the manufacturing sector.