The Bernal Institute has significant strengths in manufacture and process engineering. In manufacturing we have significant expertise in composite materials, an area where we lead a national research centre, the Irish Centre for Composites Research (IComp), where the the research agenda is driven by the industry members. This approach has had a positive impact on many sectors including aerospace, automotive, transport, renewable energy generation and construction. Projects at IComp range from designing and producing manhole covers to developing bio-composite materials for space applications within ESA’s clean space initiative.
The expertise in composite materials is reflected in recent work with a pharmaceutical company, where the engineering expertise within IComp was successfully utilised to diagnose the cause of damage to a powder offloading system. This application of engineering expertise underpinned an investigation that led to significant savings (€10 million). The successful investigation ensured an uninterrupted supply to the market and patient, safeguarding the reputation of the manufacturing site as a reliable and efficient supplier of quality product. The investigation is now considered a landmark in the resolution of what was an extremely significant issue. Regulatory authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration commended the investigative approach undertaken to understand clearly what happened.