Pictured at the GTMA Manufacturing Solutions roadshow at LIT were Leigh Turnbull of Renishaw (left) and Blaise Hannigan of Schivo Picture: Diarmuid Greene
More than 500 hundred people with links to some of the leading technology suppliers from Ireland and the UK attended a major roadshow and seminar at Limerick Institute of Technology.
Organised by the Gauge and Tool Makers Association (GTMA), the day-long event at LIT on Wednesday was the biggest in the organisation’s 75-year history. It is also the first time that it has taken place outside of the UK.
GTMA selected LIT as the venue for the annual roadshow in the hope of introducing more customers and suppliers to each other from across the UK and Ireland.
The organisation says it also hopes the roadshow will facilitate the building of closer relations and profitable opportunities between both countries post-Brexit.
Julia Moore, chief executive of GTMA, said this year’s roadshow – the largest in its history – attracted a record number of 500 visitors and 80 manufacturing technology and engineering solution companies, filling the exhibition halls to capacity.
“Our aim, as a professional trade association is to assist businesses to grow by introducing more customers and suppliers to each other across the UK and Ireland,” said Ms Moore.
“I feel sure that many companies both sides of the Irish Sea are looking for more trading opportunities, and important events such as this held at LIT will provide the conduit for these business relationships to form and grow and establish links to open up opportunities for Irish companies to attend similar events we run for aerospace, automotive and the rail industries in the UK,” she added.
Professor Vincent Cunnane, president of LIT, said that hosting the event at a time of political and manufacturing change was a significant boost for the institute.
“Collaborations like this between GTMA and LIT have become more important than ever – both to capitalise on opportunities as well as to meet challenges.
“LIT is therefore delighted to be part of an event that not only allows us to build strong partnerships but facilitates an exchange of ideas,” he said.
“The ability to adapt to change is vital, and LIT will continue to play a leading role in ensuring that manufacturing in this region is at the cutting edge of contemporary thinking,” he added.
Charles Coughlan, chairman of PTMA – the Irish Prescison Turned Parts Manufactured Association – said Manufacturing Solutions 2017 gave its members the opportunity to view and source equipment, materials and services to maintain future competitiveness in a global market.
Meanwhile, a number of guest speakers addressed delegates at Manufacturing Solutions Ireland 2017.
Topics discussed included change and evolution in both manufacturing and trade, Brexit, Manufacturing 4.0 and Advanced Metrology.
Among the concerns addressed by delegates was how best to protect the bilateral trade, which is worth in the region of €60 billion, and supports around 400,000 jobs in both countries.
Deirdre McPartlin, senior advisor in the Enterprise Ireland Brexit Unit also provided information on the ‘Brexit SME Scorecard’, a new interactive online platform which can be used by all Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit.
The platform also gives details of the financial support available to help EI-exporting clients develop an action plan.
“By completing the online questionnaire, the Brexit SME Scorecard will provide companies with an assessment of their preparedness under six key pillars.
Those are - Business Strategy, Operations, Innovation, Sales and Marketing, Finance and People Management.
“The tool is a starting point for SME management teams looking to develop an action plan to help mitigate risks and leverage opportunities which may arise from Brexit,” she said.