Expertise from Ulster University has transformed the in-house design capability of local engineers, Mechanical Installations and Maintenance (MiM), enabling the company to streamline product development and export to new markets.
MiM, based in Londonderry, provides heavy lifting services and engineers bespoke metal-based products for a wide range of sectors.
As part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Ulster University, the company has upgraded it traditional 2D design process to more technologically advanced 3D modelling. The KTP programme is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary of helping businesses to access knowledge and expertise from academia.
The 3D modelling capability allows MiM to generate virtual prototypes, which has dramatically shortened design cycles and improved information sharing, both internally and with clients.
The Ulster University KTP will help to redevelop LowerLoad, a heavy lifting device, using the 3D modelling design process. The innovative redesign will use steel meaning it could be used in sterilised environments including hospitals and restaurants. It will also streamline the device to a lighter flat-pack model which will reduce distribution costs, a practical improvement vital to the company's export success.
Stephen Clarke, KTP associate for MiM, said: "As a graduate in mechanical engineering from Ulster University, I was delighted to secure the KTP associate position and get the chance to use my expertise to help transform the business.
"The University has helped us to introduce new design software that has revolutionised MiM's in-house product design services. Since the beginning of the KTP just eight months ago, the company has secured over £50,000 worth of new sales and the future looks even brighter with the re-launch of the new and improved LowerLoad."
Amanda Fullerton, Business Development Manager at Ulster University added: "Through KTPs, Ulster University is helping to support local businesses that want to improve performance and profitability through innovation.
"The KTP with MiM shows how combining traditional engineering skills with the innovative application of university research, can increase efficiency, open new markets and drive business growth. Over four decades, KTP has supported businesses here and we are proud of the programme and its achievements."
The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme is funded in Northern Ireland by Invest Northern Irelandand