IDEAM Cluster to assist manufacturing SMEs in all aspects of digital transformation and Industry 4.0.

Pictured at LIT's Moylish campus to announce details of the IDEAM Cluster Initiation were, Dr. John Cosgrove, Head of Graduate Studies LIT and ACORN Research Team Leader, Jamie Meehan, Educational and Outreach Manager IDEAM Cluster, Harriet Cotter, Manager Regional Technology Clustering Fund, Enterprise Ireland and Snr RDE, Ciaran O'Loughlin, LIT, and Dr. Liam Brown, Vice President Research, Development & Innovation, LIT. Picture: Alan Place
Pictured at LIT's Moylish campus to announce details of the IDEAM Cluster Initiation were, Dr. John Cosgrove, Head of Graduate Studies LIT and ACORN Research Team Leader, Jamie Meehan, Educational and Outreach Manager IDEAM Cluster, Harriet Cotter, Manager Regional Technology Clustering Fund, Enterprise Ireland and Snr RDE, Ciaran O'Loughlin, LIT, and Dr. Liam Brown, Vice President Research, Development & Innovation, LIT. Picture: Alan Place

“The IDEAM Cluster will enable the AIT - LIT Consortium to co-operate and engage further with SMEs, providing a means to increase their educational and research remit in all aspects of digital transformation and Industry 4.0. Working jointly as part of the AIT - LIT Consortium can bring many new opportunities for manufacturing SMEs to augment their digital journey.”

Those were the words of Dr Liam Brown, Vice-President for Research, Development and Innovation, Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), at the launch of the IDEAM Cluster in December.

The IDEAM (Irish Digital Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing) Cluster, designed to assist manufacturing SMEs in all aspects of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 will help more than 70 manufacturing SMEs, from the Mid-West, Midlands and all over Ireland increase productivity, improve competitiveness and expand into international markets.

The cluster received the maximum allocation of €406,520 from the Regional Technology Clustering Fund, which provides a platform for engagement between enterprise and regionally-based academic institutions to drive productivity and competitiveness across the regions and is overseen by Enterprise Ireland.

“Working jointly as part of the AIT - LIT Consortium can bring many new opportunities for manufacturing SMEs to augment their digital journey.”

Dr Liam Brown, Vice-President for Research, Development and Innovation, Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT)

Dr Brown explained, “Business clusters have proven to drive regional economic development performance, due to the significantly greater increases in innovation and technology applications, and commercialisation of these applications. IDEAM will act as a catalyst for bringing together the key stakeholders from industry, academia and government to make a real impact on the development of the advanced manufacturing and digital transformation sector in the Mid-West, Midlands and Ireland as a whole.

“Working jointly as part of the AIT - LIT Consortium can bring many new opportunities for manufacturing SMEs to augment their digital journey.”

The Irish digital technology sector is thriving with annual sales of over €6.5 billion with more than 1,000 companies operating across a wide number of industries. The manufacturing sector in Ireland employs 205,700 people directly and 400,000 people across all skills levels. More than 80% of companies have said that automaton of manufacturing was critical to their future success with robotics, AI and data analytics, additive manufacturing and 3D printing IN4.0 digital technologies being implemented.

It has been well documented that companies involved in clusters have greater access to resources, skilled labour, talent, capital, knowledge, and institutions. Business clusters have proven to drive regional economic development performance, due to the significantly greater increases in innovation and technology applications, and commercialisation of these applications.

“The cluster business model is based on an industry-driven, academia-fuelled, government-supported approach to solve industry pain points and connect the wider community.”

Jamie Meehan, Educational and Outreach Manager

IDEAM will therefore:

  • Enhance the development of the cluster,
  • Improve SME productivity, competitiveness and internationalisation,
  • Nurture critical mass, R&D and talent and skills gap,
  • Act as the nucleus between the triple-helix community,
  • Impact GDP, start-up creations and employment opportunities,
  • Stimulate systemic change through high levels of collaboration and building trustful relationships.

Jamie Meehan, Educational and Outreach Manager, IDEAM Cluster, stated, “The cluster business model is based on an industry-driven, academia-fuelled, government-supported approach to solve industry pain points and connect the wider community.”

Mr Meehan added, “The global industry is growing unprecedentedly and now is the right time to make the Mid-West, Midlands and Ireland a world-class one-stop-shop that will assist Manufacturing SMEs in all aspects of digital transformation and Industry 4.0. An advanced manufacturing and IN4.0 digital transformation cluster can pioneer Ireland on an international scale to attract start-ups, investments and develop indigenous SMEs in this sector. Everyone must work more collectively and build trust towards specific goals with a strategic focus.”

“Collaboratively working and backing industry in the region is one of our main objectives as we continue to develop programmes to specifically meet industry needs and up-skill our students to prepare them for industry employment. The IDEAM Cluster will help to ease industry pain points and open new doors for SMEs to become more competitive and productive.”

Dr John Cosgrove, Head of Graduate Studies and Acorn Research Team Leader, LIT

Dr John Cosgrove, Head of Graduate Studies and Acorn Research Team Leader, LIT, added that, “Collaboratively working and backing industry in the region is one of our main objectives as we continue to develop programmes to specifically meet industry needs and up-skill our students to prepare them for industry employment. The IDEAM Cluster will help to ease industry pain points and open new doors for SMEs to become more competitive and productive.”

Harriet Cotter, Manager Regional Technology Clustering Fund at Enterprise Ireland, said Enterprise Ireland was delighted to be funding the institutes of technology to develop capability in clustering amongst industry in their regions. “IDEAM will add to the eco-system for manufacturing and ICT companies in the Mid-West region. LIT have specialist capability in the area of manufacturing 4.0 and given the relatively high number of traditional manufacturing companies in the region, this cluster can only benefit the individual companies and create a positive economic impact regionally and potentially nationally,” she said.

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