Working 'hand-in-hand' with AIT enhances Mergon's international competitiveness
Mergon group provides innovative technical moulding solutions to the automotive, industrial and healthcare sectors in Europe and North America. The company was established in 1981 and employs over 400 people worldwide. Its headquarters are in Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath.
Mergon is one of the leading providers of blow and injection moulded products in the world. Its customers include BMW, Toyota, Bosch and Abbott. The company has engaged in a fruitful collaboration with Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) for nearly two decades.
“Our strong relationship with AIT has undoubtedly given us the edge in a very competitive international environment,” says Mergon CEO Pat Beirne. “We are very much seen as the ‘go to’ company when someone is looking for moulding expertise. Being able to tap into the deep reservoir of knowledge that resides within AIT has helped us maintain our reputation for capability and ongoing innovation.”
Automotive is a big element of Mergon’s business and it must respond to the major issues preoccupying the industry today. “The two critical areas currently are recycling and 'lightweighting,' which means doing everything possible to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. We have been collaborating with AIT to improve the quality and performance of recycled materials and also on using plastic materials and other components within these materials to achieve lighter parts,” says Michael Daly, group engineering manager.
“We are a large-scale, high volume manufacturer with a lot of automation. It’s difficult and disruptive to do small scale materials development and testing in house,” he adds. “AIT does a lot of scientific development and testing work for us. If something looks promising we can then schedule production scale trials at our facility. We work hand-in-hand.”
Breda Lynch, Industry Programmes Manager at AIT, believes the collaboration has been successful because it is underpinned by a strong strategic engagement. “Each project has harnessed applied research capabilities to meet the prevailing objective of improving competitiveness at the company,” she says. “Some organisations have a nervousness around working with a higher education institution because of deliverables or lead times. Mergon understands the process and leverages it to maximise the best possible outcome,” Lynch says.
Professor Clement Higginbotham, Director of the Materials Research Institute located in AIT, has worked closely on numerous projects with Mergon. “We’ve built up a huge amount of knowledge and expertise within AIT as a result of the projects we’ve undertaken. The benefits of such a collaboration cut both ways,” he says.
Publish date: 2014