Midland Steel in Mountmellick has been recognised for its innovation capabilities by cross-border body, InterTradeIreland.
The family-owned manufacturer which supplies offsite reinforced steel products to building projects in Ireland and the UK is one of only four business in Ireland to be awarded Exemplar status.
The firm participated in InterTradeIreland’s Innovation Boost programme – which supports business development and innovation by partnering companies with third level institutions and high calibre graduates.
InterTradeIreland also provides funding to the business to help pay for a graduate, who works directly with the firm to deliver new products or processes.
Midland Steel was matched with graduate Conor Dolan and the academic team from the Northern Ireland Technology centre at Queen’s University in Belfast.
This collaboration has helped Midland Steel to develop new and innovative processes to cement its position as a cutting-edge industry leader in its sector.
Tony Woods, Managing Director explains “Our focus is on innovation and efficiency using the latest technology. With the Innovation Boost programme, we are building more forward-thinking efficient systems and methods into the business.
“We are now in the process of adding an automation process which will be the first of its type in our industry in the western world. The Innovation Boost programme has made us more responsive and robust.”
Graduate Conor Dolan has now secured full-time employment with the firm.
““It was great to come into such an open-minded business that embraces technology,” he said.
“If an SME works with an academic partner, it can bring in a different type of expertise which really benefits any business.
“For example through the Northern IrelandTechnology centre at Queen’s we had access to 3D printing, and advanced robotics. Plus as a graduate too, it’s an opportunity to come into an SME and make a real difference.”
InterTradeIreland’s Assistant Director, Alan Morrow adds “Midland Steel is an example of an innovative company that we are proud to support.
“It’s a great illustration of why Innovation Boost works in terms of bringing business, a graduate and an academic together to leverage further innovation. It’s easy to apply for and InterTradeIreland supports you throughout.”
“Midland Steel is one of four SMEs in Ireland this year to achieve Exemplar status. Together the four businesses awarded ‘Exemplar’ status have reported sales of over a quarter of a million euro and savings of €640,000 as a direct result of their Innovation Boost project.
“During the next three years, combined sales are projected to grow to upwards of €1.5 million, with predicted savings of over €2 million.”