Industry 4.0 Highlighted at Engineering Expo

16th May 2019

Self-lighting stairs, electric quad bike, and even a robotic bartender were all on show at the 2019 Engineering and Technology Expo at IT Sligo last week in association with AbbVie.  Over 1000 people visited the expo which is the largest of its kind in the region, offering an opportunity for students and professionals to see the latest in engineering and technology.

Fifty-five companies from all over Ireland and the UK, exhibited at the expo from a range of engineering and technology industries.  The expo not only gives companies an opportunity to showcase their products to potential clients, but also the opportunity to view some of the emerging talent from the faculty of Engineering and Design at IT Sligo.

With nearly eighty students demonstrating their projects at the event, there was a lot for companies to see.  At the entrance to the expo, some of the larger inventions included; a double round bale lifter, a retro fitted electric car and an ingenious device to shake off algae from oyster bags whilst protecting the shells.

Inside the expo the hall was filled with innovations in all things Industry 4.0, connecting manufacturing to the “Internet of Things”, robotics and automation.  Visitors were greeted by AbbVie’s impressive robotic display made by local firm Ward Automation.

Bernard Murray, Engineering Manager with AbbVie in Ballytivnan, who were main sponsors of the Expo said:

“AbbVie is delighted to support this year’s IT Sligo Engineering and Technology Expo and help play our part in identifying and nurturing the engineers of the future. As a global biopharmaceutical company, which is expanding its footprint in Sligo, AbbVie has to be proactive in its support of STEM in our local communities and showcase the exciting engineering-related career paths available to students in the northwest.”

Overall there were four awards presented at the Expo to the best projects.  The winners were: Computing Programme Award: Mark O’Shea – Carraroe, Sligo who designed an Augmented Reality experience to help people with anxiety to prepare for presentation; Metatronic Programme: Michael Haran,– Drumcliffe, Co Sligo for his Automated Capping Machine, Electronic & Computer Engineering:  Ryszard Kaczor –Grange, Cork, designed an augmented staircase lighting system using piezoelectric sensors.

The Mechanical & Precision Engineering award was won by four students from Mayo, Clare and Cavan, for their Seaweed De-watering screw press.  This tool speeds up the process of seaweed drying for use in the production of food and beauty products and has already gained interest from companies.  The winning team were: James Reape – Foxford, Co Mayo, Joey Pigeon – Claremorris, Co Mayo, Allan Mulqueen – Thomastown, Co Clare, Peter Tierney – Kilaleck, Co Cavan.

Head of Faculty of Engineering & Design at IT Sligo, Una Parsons has been impressed by the growing standard of students over the past five years of the Expo:

“We are proud that we educate students that satisfy the needs of industry across a broad range of programmes including; civil engineering, mechanical engineering, precision engineering & design, mechatronics, electronic & computer engineering and a broad variety computing programmes. The industry selected awards for the top student projects is a great highlight at the event each year. Many of our graduates have gone on to leadership positions in some of the top companies in Ireland and around the globe.  I want to thank our main sponsors AbbVie and all the companies who exhibited and helped make this Expo such a success.  I would also like to congratulate all our students for their brilliant projects, and especially praise this years winners.”

The event also hosted a range of talks including How and What to Prepare For Your First Competency Interview, How we will work alongside robots in the future, AbbVie Automation Techniques  and How Industry 4.0 is affecting the world we live in.

With a growing demand for engineers across all industries in Ireland and overseas, the Engineering & Technology Expo is a great opportunity for students and companies to shape the future of this exciting industry and to showcase the Northwest Region as a leader in the next Industrial revolution.  If you are interested in a career in Engineering or computing please visit

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