The Irish Medtech Association, the Ibec group that represents the sector, this week revealed the results of a major survey on advanced manufacturing at the “Manufacturing the Future Conference 2019”, at the Salthill Hotel, Galway.
Amongst the key findings of the survey are:
More than 80% of companies said automaton of manufacturing was critical to their future success
Two-thirds of companies are already implementing automation in their manufacturing process
96% of businesses are planning to launch new products and hire more staff
Irish Medtech Association Senior Executive, Adrienne McDonnell said that manufacturing is a vital part of the Irish economy with more than 4,000 businesses employing in excess of 250,000 people.
“Today we’re bringing together international experts for the ‘Manufacturing the Future Conference’ and more than 250 industry leaders. Ireland is recognised as a leader in manufacturing with the greatest number of Shingo Prizes for operational excellence, per capita, in the world.
“However, as we look to the future, we need to embrace new technologies to remain global leaders. In particular 92% of respondents in a recent survey identified robotics as important, 83% identified AI and data analytics, with 79% focusing on additive manufacturing and 3D printing.
“More than four out of five members said that automation of manufacturing was critical and two thirds of Ibec members surveyed said that their company was already implementing automation. As many as 57% said their approach to adopting new technologies was business driven, but one of the greatest barriers they identified is difficulties integrating new technologies identified by nearly half (49% ).
“The group has identified a major gap in the innovation ecosystem, while recent investments in manufacturing research have been a positive step, a large-scale centre is needed to compete. IDA’s recently announced new Advanced Manufacturing Centre will help companies de-risk the commercialisation of advanced manufacturing and support collaboration between SMEs, FDI multinationals and technology providers.
“The Irish Medtech Association are calling on the Government to take leadership and invest ambitiously in the a large-scale centre that supports collaboration to help manufacturers take new technologies from proof of concept to commercialisation.
“This is needed a critical piece of national infrastructure. Centres like Tyndall (ICT ), NIBRT (biopharma ), and Teagasc (agri-food ), have already paid dividends for other sectors. Manufacturing accounts for nearly a third of Irish GDP; to realise the sector’s potential we need the right business environment or Ireland risks losing out to competitor economies that are already investing ambitiously.”
Irish Medtech Association Board Member and DePuy Synthes Plant Manager Gary Hartnett said Ireland is a location of choice for global manufacturers and a great place to start a businesses.
“The sector is optimistic about growth potential for manufacturing with the businesses surveyed indicating that are investing in new equipment and technologies.
“As many as 89% are investing in R&D, 96% are launching new products and services and an incredible 96% planning to hire more staff. However, these jobs, investments and future innovations are at risk if we don’t have a discrete manufacturing centre of scale to help the manufacturing ecosystem stay ahead of R&D trends to compete internationally,” he said.