Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) researchers have received €2 million from Enterprise Ireland’s Capital Fund for highly specialist equipment this past year.
Building on the phenomenal success of last year’s application, researchers recently secured an additional €830,000 for cutting-edge research and development equipment for the institute’s two Enterprise Ireland technology gateways – APT and COMAND.
APT, which provides polymer technology solutions for companies in the medical, composite, recycling and pharmaceutical sectors and is housed within AIT’s Materials Research Institute, was awarded the bulk of the funding, €600,000.
The equipment, which has applications in the pharmaceutical and packaging industries, consists of a planetary roller extruder, a 3D solid imaging system and a scanning thermal microscope with nano thermal analysis capabilities.
The funding will further enable Athlone Institute of Technology to address the needs of Ireland’s €2 billion plastics industry through world-class consultancy, upskilling, and new research and development techniques.
“This funding will help us to support companies interested in trying out cutting-edge technologies and novel polymer techniques – all of which advances our industrial partners’ own innovation agendas,” Dr Noel Gately, APT gateway manager, explained.
“On top of that, these state-of-the-art technologies will also be used to upskill companies – whether that be through short term training courses, master’s degrees or PhDs – where they feel there is a need or a gap in their knowledge.”
Welcoming the funding, Dr Ian Major, a principle investigator within the Materials Research Institute, said: “Planetary extrusion compounding is a new addition to our services and will enable us to produce new compounds from heat-sensitive polymers – such as bio-sourced bioplastics.