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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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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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BPF Rotational Moulding Seminar: Innovation
BPF Flyer

Dr Mark McCourt from the Polymer Processing Research Centre will be speaking on Combining Rotational Moulidng with Robotics at the BPF Rotational Moulding Seminar.

9th May 2017 | Worcestershire County Cricket Club, New Road, Worcester, WR2 4QQ

The BPF Rotational Moulding Group seminar for 2017 will focus on the subject of innovation.  Discover new techniques and new ideas with this one day event that will provide delegates with an exploration of important topics, including rotational moulding in military applications, innovative materials and applying R & D principles for developing novel products for our industry.

With over 100 delegates expected, this seminar provides a valuable networking opportunity for the Rotational Moulding community. The seminar is only £10 + VAT to all BPF Rotational Moulding Group members* and costs only £60 + VAT for all others.

On the day prior to the BPF Seminar, Matrix Polymers will be hosting an event focussing on how to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.  To find out more about this event view the flyer that can be found here

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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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School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering QUB & Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre Breakfast Meeting, 12th April 2017

You are invited to a breakfast meeting at the QUB Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC) Ashby Building, Stranmillis Road, BT9 5AH on Wednesday 12th April 2017, 8:00 am - 11:30 am to hear about the expertise, capability and have a tour of facilities available in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the PPRC. 

This will be of interest to all agri-food companies that have a requirement/interest in: 

  • Innovative packaging
  • Product design and development
  • Injection Stretch Blow Moulding
  • Troubleshooting
  • Process Control and 3D-printing
  • Factory Design
  • Energy Recovery
  • Agri food waste valorisation 

We would like to make you aware of the School broad range of expertise covering manufacturing, processing and materials characterisation capabilities including our thermoforming and polymer moulding technology, robotic assembly, and advanced materials characterisation laboratory capabilities in thermal, mechanical, rheological and microscopic analysis of metallic, polymer and composite materials.

The PPRC in particular, was established within the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at QUB in 1996  to conduct and support leading edge, industrially exploitable, fundamental and applied R&D.  During this time substantial investment has been made in establishing and maintaining state of the art processing and analytical facilities and processing expertise at QUB in rotational moulding and polymer extrusion and extending into injection moulding, blow moulding and thermoforming.  Research in various aspects of polymers, including their processing.  Research staff in the Centre work side by side with industrial and academic partners from across the world in developing new processes and innovative products and provide input to the implementation of new technologies.

You will be very welcome to join us on the 12th April to what we hope will be an informative event that gives you a better idea of capability within QUB in these areas.

Click for further information: SMAE Agri-food Breakfast Flyer

Could you please indicate if you are coming to the event by emailing: before Wednesday 5th April indicating if you have any dietary requirements.

Many thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Ann McMahon

Business Alliance Manager Agri-food and Nutrition Sciences

Research and Enterprise Directorate

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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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