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Future of Manufacturing Q4 2022

Manufacturing continues to be a key driver of Ireland’s economic success

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Rachel Shelly

Head of Medical Technologies, IDA Ireland

Over 70 years, Ireland’s manufacturing industry has earned its reputation as a trusted destination for a global supply of products ranging from life-changing medical devices and pharmaceutical products to advanced microprocessors and large-scale industrial equipment. 

Irish-based manufacturers directly employ over 260,000 people — more than 80% of whom are located outside of Dublin, positively impacting towns and regions all over Ireland in terms of job creation, payroll, capital expenditure and sourcing of materials and services. An important additional benefit is the multiplier effect of the jobs and spending with Irish-based companies supplying products and services to the manufacturing industry.

Strengths in manufacturing

Ireland’s track record has been built on a history of stability and consistency when it comes to industrial policy; good availability and access to manufacturing, engineering and quality/regulatory skills; a dynamic innovation ecosystem that actively collaborates; and partners with the manufacturing base.

The foundations are strong; however, the manufacturing sector faces significant disruption. Accelerated by the advancement of new technologies, the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing geopolitical uncertainty, agility and resilience in manufacturing and across the supply chain have never been more critical.

The rapid shift towards Industry 5.0 can be a game-changer for increased productivity and competitiveness, faster and better decision-making, more sustainable work practices and closer collaboration across the entire value chain. Being positioned at the forefront of this evolution — through the adoption of Industry 5.0 technologies such as automation, robotics, AI and cloud computing coupled with a skilled workforce — is essential.

The foundations are strong; however, the manufacturing sector faces significant disruption.

Evolutionary examples

Ireland is responding to this disruption and rapid evolution in manufacturing. The expansion of NIBRT (National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training) into cell and gene therapy, the delivery of the new Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) and the recent targeted DTIF (Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund) call for advanced manufacturing projects are key examples.

Construction is complete on the new national Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) in Limerick which will launch in early 2023. Led by IDA Ireland and directly aligned to the Irish Government’s Industry 4.0 strategy, the AMC is an industry-led and industry-informed national centre that enables Irish-based manufacturers to access, adopt and accelerate new technologies which solve real-world challenges and drive future competitiveness.

Global manufacturing leader

The centre’s objective is to position the discrete manufacturing base at the forefront of digital transformation and to ensure that Ireland continues to build on its international reputation as having a vibrant, collaborative, competitive and digitally enabled industry base — ideally suited to delivering the next generation of manufacturing.

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