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New Smarter Factory Technology Gateway to Propel Irish Companies into a Digital Future

Pictured: Mark Whelan, Technology Gateway Programme Manager, Enterprise Ireland; Jim O’Hagan, Smarter Factory Technology Manager, Technological University of the Shannon;  Karen Coughlan– Manager, Southern Regional Assembly and Dr Liam Brown, Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation, Technological University of the Shannon pictured at the TUS Gateway to Innovation: Launching a New Era in Technology Advancement in the Radisson Limerick today.
Pic. Brian Arthur.

The new Smarter Factory Technology Gateway (SFT) launched today (April 4, 2024) at the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Moylish Campus, is already providing an investment of €1.8 million in the Midwest and paving the way for enhanced enterprise and business security. 

The SFT is poised to support Irish companies in navigating and embracing the challenges faced by the digital landscape. 

Serving as a vital conduit between industry and academia, namely TUS, the SFT will forge collaborative ties with cutting-edge research institutions, bridging the gap between students, academia and enterprise. The data furnished by the gateway will empower businesses, fortifying them against digital threats and challenges in real-time, fostering smarter and more integrated operations.  

As technology continues to advance and digitalisation takes centre stage, the gateway aims to capitalise on the region's smart specialisations, particularly in advanced manufacturing, ICT, digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. These efforts will lead to tangible improvements in real-time systems, energy efficiency, and operational efficacy.  

Smarter Factory Technology Gateway Manager at TUS, Jim O’Hagan, remarked, "Our gateway will enhance the products, operations, efficiencies, and digital transformation of Irish manufacturing businesses through innovative research projects, funded by Enterprise Ireland grants. Through our advanced approach, we are poised as a catalyst for innovation and will be pivotal in meeting the evolving demands of customers, positioning companies for sustained growth and competitiveness.”

Explaining that the SFT will accelerate the development of future talent and innovation in the region Marina Donohoe, Head of Research and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland said, “New insights from smarter data will deliver many benefits for Irish businesses, such as improved quality, increased capacity, cost reductions and more sustainable operations. This important initiative will also lead to impactful innovation and will support businesses on their sustainable and digital journeys, to support innovative enterprises as they navigate the increasingly diverse and evolving digital landscape, and shape the future of manufacturing.”

Businesses can readily engage with the gateway through initiatives such as the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher schemes or funded research programmes. 

The SFT stands as a beacon of excellence in the realm of Industry 4.0 and 5.0, spearheading digital and sustainable transformations to bolster innovative enterprises and shape the future landscape of manufacturing.

The Smarter Factory Technology Gateway is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midlands Regional Programme 2021-27


Notes to Editor 

Smarter Factory Technology Gateway 

The Irish Government, through Enterprise Ire - (EI) + the EU established and co-funds the Smarter Factory Technology (SFT) Gateway, based in TUS, to support Irish Companies adapt to new business challenges. This SFT Gateway is now one of 17 co-funded Gateways established in Ireland, each with its own specialty area to support Irish businesses nationally. 

The SFT Gateway focus for Irish based companies is to conduct research projects into such areas as digital transformation, AI, VR, data analytics, digital twins, real-time system improvements, energy efficiency, operational improvements. The intended outcomes are to develop their exports, digitally transform and improve its business, where these projects will be deemed as critical in meeting their evolving customer demands. The SFT Gateway can support the projects utilising researchers in the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS).  

About TUS

Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) is a multi-campus technological university spread across seven campuses throughout Ireland’s Mid West and Midlands regions, which was established on 1 October 2021 with the merger of Athlone and Limerick Institutes of Technology. With principal campuses in Limerick and Athlone, TUS benefits from an already strong and vibrant history of education.  The highest employability rate in the country for level 8, honours degree graduates, belongs to the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS). According to the most recent HEA (Higher Education Authority) Graduate Outcomes Survey, 86.9% of 2022 TUS honours degree graduates are in employment, nine months after graduation, the highest percentage in the country. As many as 96.4% of TUS engineering, manufacturing and construction graduates are in employment on graduation, out-performing the national average by almost 11 per cent.

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