Professor Stuart Hampshire and Joe Doyle, director and senior research officer at the Materials Ireland Research Centre (MIRC), scooped the EUR15,000 award from Shannon Development for the planned commercialisation of their Glazejet project.The winning duo spent three years developing technology for a single-step industrial digital inkjet printer and ceramic inks for the automated production of glazed multicolour ceramic prints on materials such as flat glass and ceramic tiles.
Based on campus at the University of Limerick, the Materials Ireland Research Centre is a commercial technical research and development organisation that focuses on the needs of the materials and related industries. The winning business plan is for the production of printers and inks on an industrial scale for the European glass and glazed ceramics markets.
"Winning this prize will give us the initial capital we needed to commercially exploit the technology, help us get publicity in the marketplace and will help us forge better links with Shannon Development," Doyle told ElectricNews.Net.
"Millions of square metres of ceramic tiles alone are printed on each year in Europe. The market potential for this 100 percent Irish product is huge and we intend to start commercially exploiting it this year," he said.
The new inks created by Hampshire and Doyle consist of ceramic powder dispersed in wax which changes from a solid at room temperature to a liquid at higher temperatures. The new ink has a longer shelf life, better stability and can be used to print on non-absorbent material.
Two other projects from the University of Limerick and one from the Institute of Technology Tralee each received awards of EUR1,000. The three runner-up prizes were given for a new method of drug delivery, an optical data transmission system and a health information product designed to help young children manage their asthma.
Entries for the campus innovation award were assessed on the strength of the project idea, the commercial potential of the idea, a business plan and the potential of a company start-up within twelve months.