AIT receives EI funding for technology solutions.

Noel Gately, Centre Manager with APT research staff and students

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), which was named ‘best in class’ for research across Ireland’s technological higher education sector, has been awarded €1,137,940 in Enterprise Ireland's Technology Gateway Network funding. The aim for this funding is to purchase highly specialist equipment for its two technology gateways – Applied Polymer Technologies (APT) and Connected Media Application Design and Delivery (COMAND).

APT, which provides polymer technology solutions for companies in the medical, composite, recycling and pharmaceutical sectors, has been awarded the bulk of the funding, €973,189, for seven pieces of highly specialised equipment. Among them is a 3D scanner, micro-moulder and a free-former machine – the first of its kind in the Republic of Ireland.

The equipment will enable AIT to better serve the needs of Ireland’s €2 billion plastics industry, particularly in regard to upskilling, research and development techniques. Wellman International, Europe’s largest PET recycler, is an example of a company provided with innovative polymer materials under the APT Gateway. It has allowed Wellman International to greatly enhance its R&D capabilities, and trial large numbers of new formulations.

Dr Noel Gately, APT Technology Gateway Manager, says, “Receiving this funding is a huge endorsement of the work that we’re doing and will enable us to support companies interested in trying out new technologies and techniques.”

COMAND, which works to develop and deliver engineering in the connected media space, will receive €164,751 in capital funding to facilitate the purchase of a distributed machine learning and analytics tool. COMAND has worked with a range of SMEs and Multi-nationals across the IT, software and connected media fields.  One example is the development a new product/service offering to allow real-time monitoring of the daily activities of elderly people by the Smartcarers app, with small sensors placed on household objects and in rooms around the home.

Welcoming the news, Anthony Cunningham, COMAND Technology Gateway Manager, said: “This specialist equipment will enable our industry partners to develop and verify artificial intelligence and data analytics solutions across the edge and cloud.”