Engineers Ireland’s Engineering Excellence Digital Series
Engineering Excellence Digital Series, held in association with ESB, recognising Ireland’s Engineering Community in 2020.
Ireland’s engineers make an enormous, but sometimes hidden, contribution to society. Since 2010, Engineers Ireland has worked to address this through the annual Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards. One of this year’s category winners was the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing I-Form for their ‘Contribution of Engineering to the COVID-19 response’.
In March 2020, as Ireland went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) was beginning to impact front-line workers in the Irish health service.
In response to this critical shortage, researchers at I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, used their engineering expertise in additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing – to provide essential PPE to frontline staff, and to support other aspects of the health service.
Under I-Form director Prof Denis Dowling at UCD and I-Form deputy director Prof Dermot Brabazon at DCU, the I-Form team worked around the clock to 3D print 5,000 face shields for doctors, nurses, and care-home workers across Ireland. Researchers used their engineering skills to develop a process flow that maximized throughput across the available bank of 3D printers, while ensuring repeatable quality.
These engineers are also using their 3D printing expertise to address the clinical need for ventilator parts, breathing devices and other protective equipment, in the event of a second wave of COVID-19.
Engineers Ireland encouraged engineers from all over the country to enter our series and tell their story of their engineering endeavour achievements. In turn, we are now sharing their stories with the public and highlighting the wonderful diversity of work and excellent projects achieved in 2020.
The winners, which came from three, free-to-enter categories, show the level of talent, skill and hard work demonstrated by the engineering profession in a range of settings, whether that is through keeping our healthcare workers and their patients safe during the Covid-19 crisis; or engineering, building and infrastructure work or those who are developing innovative and sustainable solutions for society.
You can read more about the other winners here. As you will see there are 5 award recipients, there will be a public vote for the overall best project in December.