Midlands Enterprise event hears about wonders of virtual technology

All part of Local Enterprise Week

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly



As a part of the Local Enterprise Week 2018 and the Engenuity Midlands Engineering Cluster Networking Event Series, SMEs from the Midlands got to explore New Tools and Technologies during a tour of the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre in Mullingar, followed by a line-up of high-profile speakers giving different perspectives on the topic.

The Networking Conference on the topic of New Tools and Technologies for engineering and manufacturing companies and industry stakeholders took place on Monday 5 th March, over 2 locations in Mullingar.

It featured an array of high profile speakers and delivered a mix of case studies of best practice in the industry set in the real-world environment, as well as practical supports that will help facilitate business and process improvement in SMEs, leading to optimised use of all available resources - fixed assets, software systems, people, technology, knowledge and financial.

The event kicked-off with the tour of the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre facilitated by the CEO, Barry Kennedy. The participants had the opportunity to view some of the latest technologies in additive printing, such as printing of bone implants with Titanium power, carbon printing, as well as other technologies, such as cobotics, virtual & augmented reality and more.

The event continued at the Mullingar Park Hotel, where Paul Madden, MD of Neueda Technologies Ireland, which is establishing a new operation in Athlone, spoke about his experience of continuous improvement and innovation at Neueda Technologies, Vistaprint & Ericsson and his work with the SD Learning Consortium.

Giving a highly insightful presentation, Pat Beirne, CEO reflected on Mergon’s philosophy of innovation and continuous improvement and highlighted some of the company’s key experiences and learnings in these areas. Mergon is an Irish owned company with operations in Castlepollard, Czech Republic and USA.

Established in 1981, Mergon works with leaders in the Automotive, Industrial and Healthcare sectors to design, manufacture and assemble components that make their products succeed in their chosen markets.

This was followed by insights delivered by Terri Treacy & Sinéad Kilcline, Tax, KPMG. They highlighted opportunities to avail of tax incentives linked to research and development activities, such as the R&D tax credit and the Knowledge Development Box.

They also highlighted some fantastic opportunities available through new key employee engagement programmes involving
share options, such as the KEEP share option scheme. Lorraine Danaher, the Midlands Regional Skills Manager informed the audience of a range of targeted and tailored supports to address shortage and asymmetry of skills, such as the skillnets
training opportunities, skill supports delivered by the Educational Training Boards and the Athlone Institute of Technology, changes introduced to the Springboard programme offering great opportunities to upskill, as well as opportunities for companies to host traineeships and apprenticeships.

One of the key resources in every company are its people. Availability of relevant skills is therefore vital. This was the 3rd in the series of Midlands Engineering Network events organised on behalf of Local Enterprise Offices in Westmeath, Longford, Laois and Offaly. The Network and the events form part of the Engenuity Programme, which is an integral part of effort to promote market-led innovation, stakeholder collaboration, best practice transfer and product and trade development among the Midlands Engineering Cluster. This was identified as a priority in the Action Plan for Jobs and is funded by the Competitive LEO Fund managed by Enterprise Ireland.