Athlone ITs Materials Research Institute hosted the annual open day for its industrial polymer research centre, APT on Thursday the 8th of September 2016. APT is a member of the Technology Gateway network, funded by Enterprise Ireland and its core remit is to provide companies in the plastics space with R&D support and state of the art polymer processing facilities. The event was well attended with over 90 participants being briefed on emerging technologies and trends in the plastics industry by a range of industrial and academic speakers. The free event, held annually, also showcased a range of suppliers and service providers for the plastics industry, including First Polymer Training, Precision Extrusion Technologies, Zwick and the NSAI. Throughout the halfday event, participants from companies such as Boston Scientific, Trend, Athlone Extrusions, IPC, Oxymem and DeltaQ had the opportunity to attend talks on topics such as polymer compounding and standards for the medical device industry, research supports for Irish industry from Enterprise Ireland, fibre spinning and Dr Luke Geever, a Principal Investigator in APT described several case studies of R&D programmes being carried out by Irish industry in association with AIT. Dr Declan Devine, Director of AITs Materials Research Institute, encouraged the companies present to continue to set the agenda for AITs polymer research “APT is very much an industry focused centre and already has significant buy in and engagement from stakeholders in the Irish plastics sector, it’s only through this type of engagement that AIT can ensure its providing the facilities, R&D support and graduate profile that the industry needs”. Alejandro Espiago from Irish Manufacturing Research in Mullingar spoke about Additive Manufacturing for polymers and this was followed up Michael Hopkins Jnr describing the Additive manufacturing research currently being carried out at APT in association with several Irish Companies. Dr Sean Lyons, Centre manager of the APT Gateway also gave delegates a tour the APT centre, and while in discussion with industry colleagues, outlined the importance of the polymer centre “the dedicated team and facilities in place in APT are available to provide the Irish plastics sector with cutting edge equipment matching their own processes, that way we can help drive material and process innovation with industrial collaborators, lead root cause analysis for troubleshooting when our clients encounter challenges and crucially, provide graduates with advanced degrees to the sector with hands on process and materials science experience”. On the day the delegates had the opportunity to see industrial scale medical tube extrusion, twin screw compounding, injection moulding, fibre spinning, 3D printer filament production and fused deposition modelling (FDM) additive manufacturing first hand in the APT facilities. Pictured is Paddy Doran, APT discussing the production of filament for 3D printers with Joe Lawless, Head of Department of Civil, Mechanical and Polymer Engineering & Trades at AIT.