World-leading research centre in smart manufacturing opens new headquarters in Limerick

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

World-leading  research centre in smart manufacturing opens new headquarters in Limerick

The €3.1m Confirm headquarters was officially opened at a virtual event

A world-leading research centre in smart manufacturing has officially opened its new multimillion euro headquarters in Limerick.

Confirm, which is hosted by University of Limerick, has launched the bespoke 1,619 square metre digital manufacturing facility which is located in the UL Digital District - at the Park Point complex Castletroy.

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, attended a virtual launch of the €3.1m facility this Friday morning.

"The opening of the new digital HQ provides an important hub for digital and smart manufacturing in Ireland, which will support the transformation of industry through excellent research, providing for our future skills needs in this important sector and enabling the general public to see the future of manufacturing. The Centre extends far beyond it’s fantastic new facility through its partnership across the higher education institutions and its significant industry and international collaborations," he said.

Since it launched in October 2017, Confirm has established an extensive researcher network that spans nine Irish Higher Education Institutes led by University of Limerick and including the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, Limerick Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Tralee, along with those in key international institutions.

Confirm is dedicated to fundamentally transforming industry to a smart manufacturing ecosystem by integrating intelligence within products, machines, production systems and supply chains.

As such, the Centre is focused on delivering research excellence to inform the future of manufacturing, while underpinning industry through research, talent and collaboration. Confirm believes in creating a community of practice where industry, researchers, and the general public can learn about smart manufacturing and industry 4.0.

To date, Confirm has secured €47 million in research from industry, government and from non-exchequer sources.

The new centre hosts 130 researchers, 12 operational and management staff with a number of additional positions available in the coming months. The new facility includes a large test-bed to house Ireland’s future factory demonstrators, an eight- metre diameter Virtual Reality Cave, a 10GB internet access, the first 5G Digital Manufacturing Network in Ireland, and a Digital Manufacturing lab to include 3D printing and non-contact 3D part scanning.

This facility will be the centrepiece of Confirm’s research network and through a dedicated Community of Practice area – will link researchers, industry partners and the general public together to raise the profile of manufacturing in Ireland and Internationally.

Congratulating the Centre on the opening of its new facilities Minister Harris, TD said: "The opening of the new digital HQ provides an important hub for digital and smart manufacturing in Ireland, which will support the transformation of industry through excellent research, providing for our future skills needs in this important sector and enabling the general public to see the future of manufacturing. The Centre extends far beyond it’s fantastic new facility through its partnership across the higher education institutions and its significant industry and international collaborations," he said.

Speaking at the virtual launch, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland said: “I’m delighted to participate in today’s virtual launch of the bespoke digital manufacturing facility at University of Limerick which provides the headquarters for the Confirm SFI Research Centre. This facility will provide the hub for delivering excellent research, developing future talent through vital training, and supporting industry by providing access to expertise in the
area of smart and digital manufacturing. I congratulate everyone involved at the University of Limerick in establishing this critical national facility.”

Director of Confirm Professor Conor Mc Carthy added: “I’m delighted to open Confirm Centre Headquarters today. Confirm HQ is our brand-new digital manufacturing research facility located at University of Limerick’s Digital District and at the gates of Limerick city.

Commenting on the centre, UL President Professor Kerstin Mey said: “Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, industry was very cognisant of the importance of research impact. The past period has shown that the sharing of knowledge and insights across disciplines and geographic boundaries can be of huge benefit to a community as a whole. During this time, Confirm completed and created a new dynamic space to highlight the value of collaboration and sharing of expertise, facilities and connectivity in smart manufacturing. UL and its hosting of Confirm is leading the way in the fourth industrial revolution and therefore
amplifying its strength in research."

UL Vice President for Research, Professor Norelee Kennedy added: “The hosting of Confirm builds on the University of Limerick’s long history of involvement in manufacturing by bringing together the various aspects of manufacturing research, education and industry engagement. We are delighted to host the centre and to work with our colleagues internationally, nationally and in the Mid-West to ensure Confirm becomes a global leader in the field of smart manufacturing and that it delivers cutting edge research in the field of manufacturing."

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