Top tech giants in major €45m-plus R&D green-tech investment

14 Dec 2009

A total of 26 new jobs are to be created across four technology companies – Sanmina-SCI, Wexport, Merit Medical and Baxter Healthcare – in separate investments spanning R&D and green technology.

The investments are supported by Government through IDA Ireland and will significantly enhance the level of research, development and innovation (RD&I) and green-technology capabilities at the Irish operations.

R&D centre

Wexport, part of the LEO Pharma Group, is to immediately invest €10m, with plans for a further €10m at a later date, at its site in Little Island, Cork. It involves the establishment of a research and development (R&D) centre in bioprocessing technology in addition to a doubling of production capacity.

The investment will also establish the site as the Corporate Centre of Excellence in technology for the production of heparin (anticoagulant) and low molecular-weight heparin, tinzaparin, which is globally marketed in as Innohep and is LEO Pharma’s second biggest-selling product.

Merit Medical Systems, which produces proprietary disposable medical devices for use in interventional and diagnostic procedures in hospitals worldwide, is to invest more than €20m at its Galway facility for R&D of a new product and to extend the range of a number of existing products.

New products

This latest R&D will increase Galway’s product range and add complexity and depth to its existing products. The new products will make an important contribution to the work of healthcare professionals as they will contribute to the reduction of time a patient will have to spend in hospital.

Sanmina-SCI Corporation, a global electronics design and manufacturing services provider, is to invest €10m in its operation in Fermoy, Co Cork, for the expansion of its R&D into higher-value activities.

Fermoy is designated as a flagship facility within Sanmina-SCI for the design and manufacture of electronic medical devices and is one of the largest medical operations within the corporation. Sanmina-SCI provides product contract design, development and manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in technology-related industries. This investment will bring to 460 the number of people working on site at Sanmina-Sci in Fermoy.

CHP plant

Baxter Healthcare SA is to invest €5.5m in installing and commissioning a 3MW Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) in Castlebar, Co Mayo, over the next two years. The CHP plant will consist of two gas-fuelled CHP units, capable of generating 3MW of energy.

The CHP plant will consist of two gas-fuelled CHP units, capable of generating 3MW of energy, allowing the company generate 75pc of its annual energy requirements at a significantly lower cost. The company will continue to utilise the national grid for additional electrical intake during peak loads. The plant will transform the way in which the facility currently sources its energy, utilising natural gas from the national gas network rather than the current process of using medium-grade fuel oil in their boilers. The resultant thermal energy gains from the CHP plant will produce almost a third of the site’s thermal-energy requirements.

“Ireland’s commitment to research, development and innovation, particularly through the driving forces of the Government and IDA Ireland, has established the country’s international reputation as a successful European location for such high-value initiatives,” said the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan TD at the time.

“This has resulted in an increasing number of international companies locating strategic RD&I initiatives in Ireland in 2009 – these latest investments by Wexport, Merit Medical and Sanmina-SCI are excellent examples of this.

“Ireland is leading the field in the emerging green technology sector, supported by our ability to yield renewable energy from a variety of natural resources. This investment by Baxter Healthcare is in keeping with the Irish Government’s environmental and energy policies which aim to reduce carbon emissions and lower energy consumption,” Coughlan said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan TD

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years