NWRC unveils innovative new Industry 4.0 Centre

By Aoife Curran

North West Regional College (NWRC) has officially opened a unique Industry 4.0 (i4.0) Centre today at its Springtown Campus in Derry ~ Londonderry.

The i4.0 Centre is the latest addition to the college’s portfolio of innovation and skills centres, with a focus on supporting SMEs and local businesses in the areas of industry 4.0, automation and robotics. This modern facility is equipped with the latest technology for innovators to realise new product development and innovation for their business. The i4.0 Centre boasts a teaching lab space with specialist high-tech equipment, suitable for courses in a range of areas of automation and robotics, electronics, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart manufacturing and 5G technology.

Dr Fergal Tuffy, Business Support Centre (BSC) Manager said the opening of i4.0 is an important milestone for the college.

He added: “NWRC, with funding from the Department for the Economy (DfE), has, in the last number of years, invested in innovation and skills centres as part of the College’s plan to support industry to embrace new technologies and skills, as articulated in DfE’s 10X vision. Through our existing facilities of Foodovation, Product Design Centre, DIAL (health and care), and XR Hub (augmented and virtual reality) we have helped businesses and entrepreneurs to develop and enhance products, processes and services, underpinned with the necessary skills to do so. The industry 4.0 Centre at Springtown is the latest investment, where we will be supporting businesses and providing training in an exciting technology area, to meet the future business needs, and I’d encourage businesses and stakeholders to engage with the College to leverage this and our other facilities.”

Cathal Ferry, i4.0 Centre Manager, was delighted with the launch attendance.

He added: “This launch event, in partnership with Smart Nano NI and Connected NI, provided attendees with an opportunity to have a tour of the Centre and view some of the latest state-of-the-art equipment such as the Festo i4.0 factory automation training system, the MiR 250 autonomous mobile robot and UR10e collaborative robot. These technologies allied to the augmented and virtual reality equipment of our XR Hub and additive manufacturing equipment of our Product Design Centre (PDC), can be utilized to support businesses and entrepreneurs. The attendance here today shows the interest that there is in the sector and I’d encourage businesses or learners alike to engage with the Centre, to leverage our facilities and gain new knowledge and skills.’’

Leo Murphy, Principal & Chief Executive, NWRC added: ‘’I am delighted that NWRC is officially launching its Industry 4.0 Centre. This is part of a wider multi-million pound refurbishment project at the state-of-art Springtown campus. The campus recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and we are delighted to continue supporting and responding to industry demands and advancements in technology by investing in this first-class technology and training facility. We look forward to working with learners, businesses and entrepreneurs in this exciting new addition to our offer.’’

Congratulating North West Regional College, Mark Gubbins on behalf of Smart Nano NI said: ” This is a significant development in our aim to build capacity in manufacturing skills along the Derry~ Londonderry / Belfast corridor. North West Regional College is taking an important role alongside the other academic and industry members of the Smart Nano NI consortium in supporting innovation and regional growth by investing in these state-of-the-art facilities.

‘’The new facility will nurture new skills that will benefit and be shared by businesses across a range of sizes, each with the potential to innovate, to adopt new technologies and to compete in national and international markets.”

For more information about the i4.0 Centre visit https://www.nwrc.ac.uk/business/innovation-centres/i40-centre or call Cathal Ferry on 07436581257

NWRC unveils innovative new Industry 4.0 Centre
Pictured at the opening of the Industry 4.0 centre at NWRC are: Leo Murphy, Principal and Chief Executive of NWRC, Dr Mark Gubbins, Director of Development, Seagate Technologies, Belinda Tunnah, Department for the Economy, Jennifer McKeever, Chair of NWRC's Governing Body. Cathal Ferry, i4.0 Centre Manager, and Dr. Fergal Tuffy, NWRC Business Support Centre Manager. (Pic Martin McKeown)