Copper Industries

Copper Industries and Dundalk Institute of Technology Fusion Programme recognised as an Exemplar of Innovation.

Copper Industries DkIT Case Study

Copper Industries and Dundalk Institute of Technology Fusion Programme recognised as an Exemplar of Innovation - Thomas Hunter McGowan (CEO – ITI), Anthony O’Connor (Graduate), Paul Durcan (Academic-DkIT) and Margaret Hearty (Director of Services – ITI). Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Manufacturing company, Copper Industries, based in Toomebridge was awarded ‘Exemplar’ status by InterTradeIreland. The award recognises exceptionally high levels of innovation and collaboration between a company, a graduate and Dundalk Institute of Technology as part of InterTradeIreland’s FUSION programme.

The company, a manufacturer and supplier of hot water cylinders, calorifiers and combination units, was one of five SMEs recognised by InterTradeIreland at an event held in Carton House in Maynooth. Between them, the five FUSION Exemplar companies have reported sales of more than £1.5M and savings of over £65,000 during their FUSION projects, with projected sales of upwards of £5.75M and savings of £466,000, over the next three years.


About the FUSION Programme

InterTradeIreland’s technology transfer and innovation programme, FUSION, partners companies north and south with a third-level institution, in this case Dundalk Institute of Technology, and provides them with the specialist expertise of a high calibre graduate, who works directly in the organisation, to deliver a new product or process improvement project. Through the programme, Copper Industries employed graduate, Anthony O’Connor and benefitted from the services and support of Dundalk Institute of Technology. The collaboration enabled the design and development of a prototype electrically heated cylinder with a built in control system. This product is now aimed at the domestic market, particularly where Oil Fired Central Heating (OFCH) is not suitable.


How FUSION helped Copper Industries to grow

The main project was the introduction of a new energy efficient thermal storage unit which was taken from concept right through to production with the new product being in the market place within the first 9 months of the program.

Through this programme the company developed a hot water storage product using computer aided simulations to improve design and efficiencies coupled with new manufacturing processes. These have greatly enabled the development and analysis of new designs and allow the company to explore custom designs for specific customer requirements in a reduced turnaround time.

In addition the company, academic supervisor and graduate focused on significant process improvement programmes in key technical areas within the company. These include the following areas;

  • Seam and induction welding
  • Thermal spray booth
  • Computer modelling of internal fluid dynamics
  • Injection process for thermal stores
  • Anti Corrosion coatings

Managing director of Copper Industries, Charlie Shivers, explained:

Participation in InterTradeIreland’s FUSION project was a profitable experience for Copper Industries. Our project was fully delivered within the timeline, in fact, ahead of the schedule. As well as developing an entirely new product for various markets, we also enhanced other products through our newly acquired skills and learning and we streamlined our company’s systems and increased market share, specifically in Ireland.

Paul Durcan, Academic supervisor, DkIT, highlighted the benefits to the academic institution:

Working with Cooper Industries through a Fusion programme gives the academic an opportunity to put the theory into practise and to better understand the technical challenges in the implementation phase. Such challenges may not be adequately addressed in the theoretical models. A real-life application of technology such as this project provides an excellent case study which can bring the theory to life for the next cohort of engineering students.

For further information on InterTradeIreland and other business supports available, please contact neil.mcloughlin@dkit.ie.

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  • Neil McLoughlin
  • Technology Transfer Manager