Sustainability high on conference agenda

26 Jun 2006

Sustainable development and environmental responsibility are to be emphasised at the Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing (FAIM) conference which started in University of Limerick (UL) today.

The conference includes keynote speakers from Ford Motor Company Europe, Intel Corp USA, Enterprise Ireland and leading academics covering areas such as quality, productivity, sustainability and environmental responsibility.

The three-day conference, which originally started out in UL in 1991, has been held in centres across north America and Europe over the past 15 years and is Ireland’s largest manufacturing conference. More than 150 academic and manufacturing experts from over 35 countries are in attendance.

The theme of the conference is ‘Intelligent Manufacturing Now’ and it will address areas such as: engineering for sustainability; next-generation manufacturing; supply chain strategies; intelligent systems; concurrent engineering; re-engineering; engineering education; product and process design; and an extensive range of cognate areas and topics.

Tony Killeen TD, Minister of State for Labour Affairs at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, officially opened the conference. He commented: “For the next generations to prosper it is incumbent on us to adapt our current technologies to make them more efficient, as well as more environmentally and ecologically acceptable. We cannot care for the needs of people through engineering solutions without respecting the earth and using wisely its finite resources.

Dr Bill Gaughran, conference chairperson, said that the prime objective of the conference is to bring together international experts from the academic and manufacturing fields to share their research and experience so as to push forward the boundaries of research knowledge and manufacturing expertise.

“One of the key issues which will be discussed this week is sustainable development in the manufacturing industry. In the current climate of dwindling fossil fuel reserves, it is increasingly economical and responsible for manufacturing and allied companies to become ecological and Irish manufacturing industry representatives are keen to learn from innovative alternative energy projects being developed by their international colleagues, as indeed they are anxious to learn from us,” said Dr Gaughran.

He added: “The interchange of ideas and innovative strategies is always a major feature at FAIM conferences and this year will extend those opportunities.”

Elaine Larkin