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.
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.