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PPRC Collaboration with Orpic
Visitors from Oman with Professor Brian Falzon (Head of School), Dr Bronagh Millar, Mr Alan Clarke and Mr Mark Kearns (PPRC Technical Managers) and Dr Peter Martin (PPRC Director).
Naema Al Hamadani receiving her Certificate of Attendance on the month long “Introduction to Polymer Processes, Products & Markets” from Dr Peter Martin (PPRC Director).

The School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering’s Polymer Processing Research Centre is delighted to be working in close collaboration with Orpic, the Oman state oil company, on the development and delivery of a bespoke, tailored training programme for a number of its technical and commercial members of staff. 

Pictured right with the visitors from Oman are Professor Brian Falzon (Head of School), Dr Bronagh Millar, Mr Alan Clarke and Mr Mark Kearns (PPRC Technical Managers) and Dr Peter Martin (PPRC Director).

The course, which commenced in mid-April, covers a range of subjects including polymer chemistry, material processing and characterisation and world marketsand high-end applications of polymeric materials at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels.  During the course, participants will undertake classes and practical work in the Centre’s extensive suite of laboratories as well as make industrial visits to a number of local manufacturing companies.

Pictured right is Naema Al Hamadani receiving her Certificate of Attendance on the month long “Introduction to Polymer Processes, Products & Markets” from Dr Peter Martin (PPRC Director).

For information on PPRC run training courses, please contact the PPRC Business Manager, Ms Denise Price by email to d.price@qub.ac.uk or by telephone to 028 9097 4700.

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PPRC Hosts the British Plastics Federation (BPF) Rotational Moulding Conference 2018
Industry Presentations
Industry Presentations
Technical Workshop
Technical Workshop

The Polymer Processing Research Centre, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering hosted the British Plastics Federation (BPF) Rotational Moulding Conference in the Ashby Building, Stranmillis Road on 16th May 2018.  Attended by over 100 delegates from over 30 companies and 6 countries, the day began with a series of industry presentations and table-top exhibitions, followed in the afternoon by three Queen’s University technical workshops highlighting the rotational moulding research and development taking place in the School.  Delegates got a chance to hear and see the latest trends in Rotomoulding Industry 4.0, material and process developments as well as a summary of the work to date on EU Interreg ‘Renewable Engine’ projects.   

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Renewable Engine Cross-Border Research and Innovation ‘R&I’ project
Renewable Engine Partners
Renewable Engine Partners

Queen's University Belfast are delighted to be involved in a major four-year research project which aims to ramp up the commercialisation of new products and processes across the renewable energy sector. ‘Renewable Engine’, a ground-breaking cross-border research and innovation ‘supercluster’ which will deliver focused research and innovation support to companies specialising in renewable energy and advanced manufacturing, is now currently underway – to find out more check out this video summary.

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Congratulations to past PPRC Director Gerry McNally on his receipt of the Max Rainey Memorial Medal
Mr Gerry McNally
Mr Gerry McNally

A prestigious honorary Award in recognition of Gerry's services to the polymer sector locally, nationally and internationally.

The Max Rainey Memorial Medal was conceived in honour of Max Rainey OBE by his son John Rainey MBE the Chairman and co-founder of the Denman Group, along with his late father.  Max was a skilled engineer, entrepreneur, and pioneer of the local polymer sector.

The Max Rainey Memorial Medal is more usually associated with the Max Rainey Prize, that was initiated at the Queen's University Belfast's, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2013.  The Prize is awarded each year to a Stage 3 or Stage 4 student on the undergraduate Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or Product Design Engineering pathways.  The winner must achieve the highest mark in their individual research project on a topic related to the design and manufacture of polymer products or the development of polymer materials. 

So it is a mark of Gerry's exceptional and unique contribution to the sector over forty plus years that this Medal was presented by John Rainey himself at the Inaugural Denroy Autumn Lecture at Riddel Hall in front of an audience of around 100 people on Monday 4th September 2017.

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An Outstanding achievement for Hugh Henry and IPC through the KTP Programme with Queen's University Belfast
Hugh Henry

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between IPC Mouldings (IPC) and Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded the top grade of ‘Outstanding’.  Hugh Henry, now employed as a Project Engineer at IPC Mouldings, was the KTP Associate and this grade is a direct result of his work throughout the two year project. 

KTP is a UK-wide programme that helps businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base.

The programme works as a three-way partnership between a business, an academic institution and a recent graduate. Whilst employed by the academic institution, the graduate works at the company and throughout the course of KTP, brings new skills and knowledge to the business through their chosen project.

Hugh’s project, as part of KTP, was to enhance the existing expertise in high value manufacturing, by embedding knowledge of new and emerging high performance polymer materials for moulded products.

Speaking about his time with KTP, Hugh said: “I started KTP in October 2014, shortly after I graduated.  My role within IPC involved the knowledge transfer of technical processes, the research and innovation of new polymer materials, as well as the development and improvement of the new product introduction process."

“KTP provided me with an opportunity to further my knowledge and skills, which ultimately will benefit IPC through business development and growth, an increase in revenue, as well as adding value to the services they provide to clients.”

When asked about his final grade, Hugh adds “To achieve the highest grade of outstanding was fantastic – for me it was the icing on the cake, after working so hard.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with IPC and very pleased with my new role as Project Engineer.”

Joanne Liddle, Managing Director of IPC Mouldings, said: “Throughout the entire KTP Programme, Hugh has shown his ability to successfully complete projects through hard work, commitment and determination, which has resulted in an increase in revenue for us.  The final accreditation of outstanding is well deserved, and we as a company are very proud of what Hugh has achieved.”

When asked about the KTP programme, Joanne said, “KTP is an excellent programme.  The scheme provided us with a channel for improving our company processes, as well as helping with business development and growth.  We would definitely consider using KTP in the future.”

KTP is co-funded by Invest NI in partnership with Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.  The purpose of the programme is to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will ultimately grow the UK economy.

Speaking about Hugh’s time with KTP, Lorraine Marks, KTP Manager at Queen’s University in Belfast said: “Hugh showed a lot of potential throughout the course of the KTP programme. He was a pleasure to have on the scheme, and the accreditation of oustanding was very well deserved.  We wish Hugh well in his future endeavours.”

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Ballytherm FUSION Programme
Brendan McBarron, Eoghan Doonan, Mark Billham and Bronagh Millar
Brendan McBarron, Eoghan Doonan, Mark Billham and Bronagh Millar

PPRC were visited by Eoghan Doonan and Brendan McBarron of Ballytherm Ltd.  Brendan recently joined Ballytherm as a Fusion Graduate working on a joint project with PPRC.  Ballytherm are based in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan and manufacture Rigid Polyisocyanurate Insulation Board.

If you would like further information on applying for a FUSION Programme, please visit the InterTrade Ireland website.  

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Joint NIACE/PPRC Talk
Hans Plug
Hans Plug

There will be a talk on Tuesday 27th June 2017 (10.00am to 12.00pm) at NIACE Centre (Conference Room) by Hans Plug, Project Director Hybrid Composites at DSM.

Hans will describe a Dyneema, Carbon fabric;

Addition of small amounts of Dyneema fiber to the carbon composite (in the form of a hybrid fabric) results in:

2x higher impact resistance;

2x higher vibration dampening;

10% lower weight.

This combination of properties should make the material interesting for areas which are dynamically sensitive but don't require the full stiffness of carbon fibre. (e.g. an automotive mounting bracket, or impact resistant member).

For further information on Dyneema Carbon Fiber Click Here.

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Northern Regional College Visit PPRC
Students Tensile Testing
Students Tensile Testing
Sheet Extrusion Process
Sheet Extrusion Process

Ruth Barr and her students from Northern Regional College visited the Polymer Processing Research Centre to undertake part of their assignment in “Testing Engineering Materials”.  Dr Bronagh Millar and Troy Patterson assisted the students in carrying out tensile testing of various polymer and metallic samples.  Whilst the students were here they also had a demonstration of the sheet extrusion process with Mark Billham.

The visit was hosted by the Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC) which delivers elements of Queens’ input to the ConnectEd Programme which, in addition to providing technical support to local industry, seeks to develop and build upon links between the Higher Education and Further Education sectors in Northern Ireland. 

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PhD Opportunities at the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queens
PhD Banner

The School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queens is seeking to appoint motivated individuals to undertake research programmes at PhD level across a range of disciplines.  More information on our extensive research portfolio can be found on or web page here.

If you are interested making positive changes to society through scientific advancement and in improving your earning potential as a practicing engineer, please take a look at our current PhD vacancies by clicking here.

If you need more information on any of these fantastic opportunities please contact the lead academic directly.

Please also check your eligibility for funding before you make a formal application.

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School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Host Visitors from Kogashima College, Japan
Delegation of academics from Kagoshima College.
Delegation of academics from Kagoshima College.

A delegation of academics from Kagoshima College, Japan visited SMAE on 23rd March 2017.  They were here as part of a fact finding visit to the UK replicating a trip that was made more than 150 years ago by Japanese engineers who having studied in the UK, returned to Japan to become leaders in their field.  Following from their visit the visiting academics will apply for funding to send a group of students to the UK in 2018 to study Engineering and to develop their English language skills.

The visit was hosted by the Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC) which delivers elements of Queens’ input to the ConnectEd Programme which, in addition to providing technical support to local industry, seeks to develop and build upon links between the Higher Education and Further Education sectors in Northern Ireland.  PPRC have been working with South Eastern Regional College (SERC) on a number of initiatives including hosting visits from local engineering students as well visiting students and academics from Japanese institutions with which SERC have had long standing relationships.

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Could your company benefit from a dedicated PhD Researcher?

The Renewable Engine project is holding briefing events to inform companies in the Energy, Manufacturing and Engineering sectors on how they can access industrial research support and technology development grants through the project.

Renewable Engine is an EU project which is lead by South West College.  Briefing events are being held as follows:

Wednesday 5th April 2017, Queens University Belfast

Tuesday 11th April 2017, South West College, Dungannon

Wednesday 12th April 2017, Institute of Technology, Sligo

Click here for further information on the briefing events and how to register.

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PPRC Staff Attend K Show Dusseldorf
PPRC Staff at K Show
Graham Garrett, Alan Clarke, Mark McCourt and Mark Billham

Four members of staff from the Polymer Processing Research Centre based in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering attended the K Show in Dusseldorf recently.  The K show is the world’s biggest plastics trade show and conference and is hosted by Messe Dusseldorf GmbH. The show boasts 171,245 sq metres of exhibition space with 3,320 exhibitors from 59 countries. Based on previous year’s figures, visitor numbers were expected to be in the region of 220,000 from 108 different countries.

The complete plastics world was represented at the show from material suppliers, machinery suppliers, to finished and semi-finished product suppliers.  Large global companies through to small family owned companies were also represented.

A lot of the companies that exhibit at the K Show use it to launch new developments in materials or processing machinery.  A common theme across a lot of these new launches was “industry 4.0” with remote access, monitoring and control capability being improved so that companies could offer “industry 4.0 ready” machine and processes.

Another theme at the Show was “additive manufacturing” with a number of companies offering 3D printing production machines producing finished products as opposed to prototype only machines.

The Staff, Alan Clarke, Mark McCourt, Mark Billham and Graham Garrett would be happy to discuss their visit and the “new” processes that they discovered at the K Show in greater detail with any interested party just contact us via our Location & Contacts Page.

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Contact Information

Polymer Processing Research Centre
Queen's University Belfast
Ashby Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AH

Tel: 028 90974700

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