Is Artificial Intelligence Our Future?
Artificial intelligence is a source of science fiction entertainment for many with the recent release of movies like “Terminator”, “A.I” and “Ex Machina” but for others it is the reality of their day to day work. Horan Automation and Consulting is an organisation that programs and installs robots to carry out bespoke and specific tasks as requested by their clients. This makes them unique. Many manufacturing facilities buy in pre-existing production machinery but Horan Automation andConsulting’s engineers can actually design and create unique machines to carry out almost any task.
The invention of robots spans back to 400-350bc when a famous philosopher, mathematician, statesman, astronomer and strategist called Archytas created a steam powered wooden pigeon. The first digital and programmable robot was invented by George Devol in 1954 and was named the Unimate. It was sold to General Motors in 1961 where it was used to lift pieces of hot metal from die casting machines. This advance allowed for industrial work that would be too dangerous for operators to be carried out safely. Robots therefore filled a need for the manufacturing industry doing exactly what they were originally designed to, to carry out tasks that humans are not able to or do not want to do.
Robotics has evolved quickly since then, with exciting new technological developments in the past decades such as the internet, mobile phones and industrial automation. However, these advances concentrate on carrying out only certain explicit tasks and while they may exceed the capabilities of humans at that one task, overall they cannot compete with the human brain, yet.
When one thinks of the word robot what comes to mind? Presumably it’s a steel humanoid with red laser eyes. The term “robot” is defined in the dictionary as
“a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.” In other words if one looks around one can find many robots working away in the background. Most automated robots take the form of a robotic arm from one of the main brands such as Fanuc or Mitsubishi.
Robots and industrial automation has grown in popularity in recent years not only due to their capability to carry out dangerous tasks but also due the fact that they make manufacturing more efficient and more profitable. Automated systems can meet surges in demand by quickly and easily increasing production rates as well as executing tasks more precisely thus improving output quality. Automation also reduces the costs of waste and absenteeism due to injury (such as repetitive stress injury). Flexibility of production is greater due to increased capabilities of machinery and their scope to be reprogrammed easily.
At Horan Automation and Consulting the future of robots is a given and they help their clientsto realise the advantages of automation. The organisation works with many clients including high profile multinationals in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing, medical device and food industries. The kinds of automation projects commissioned by the engineering team at Horan Automation and Consulting could vary from building bespoke pick and place solutions using robots to designing and implementing a turkey complete line of automated machinery.
Conor Mullally, Project Manager at Horan Automation and Consulting, explains that their engineers possess a unique skillset enabling them to design and build bespoke manufacturing solutions for the manufacturing industry. Mullally comments “Technology and the automation industry moves so quickly that sometimes international machine suppliers are unaware of the individual needs of certain niche areas of manufacturing. Machines are churned out on a production line to serve themajority of the market, sometimes leaving clients with a manufacturing process that only operates to 80% of its potential. Horan Automation and Consulting steps in to bring the process to 100% by adding the bespoke automation elements that are not only specific to a client’s industry but specific to an individual client.”
Horan Automation and Consulting not only offers the building of bespoke machinery but also they use their fifty years of combined automation knowledge to source and supply pre-existing machinery. The client can enjoy a one stop shop for turnkey automation of their entire production line. Working in the world of automation has not caused the team to undervalue the importance of customer service however.
Gerry Horan, MD of Horan Automation, has remained steadfastly focused on his clients’ individual needs, regardless of their size or the industry they are in. “We carried out a recent customer survey that showed that localised customer service and machine maintenance is of the utmost importance to our clients” comments Mr. Horan.
“We ensure that after we install an automation system or machine that we allow operators and maintenance staff a bedding-in period of six weeks. During this time we make ourselves available to them for training. We also offer a maintenance service to clients if needed after the project is completed.”
Mr. Horan also praises the quality of the machinery the business supplies remarking “We only source the best quality equipment for our clients. We install and integrate the equipment and systems ourselves and offer twelve months of customer service assistance. Our machines are CE quality certified to the highest operational and safety standards.”
It is apparent that automation and the inclusion of robots is the future but what are the negative impacts of artificial intelligence? And what are the risks to mankind of such advances? The main fears of robots evolving into A.I. involve them wreaking havoc and being uncontrollable. For example if A.I was used in warfare and programmed to destroy, it would not possess human empathy or decision making skills and would be extremely difficult to deactivate. This could result in mass devastation.
While using robots for warfare is a potential future threat, robots can still interfere in our day to day lives in the present. The automation of production lines could contribute to job losses and this is a very real issue following a recent global recession. When asked about the negative effects of automating a manufacturing facility, Gerry Horan commented “We have been automating production processes for many decades and the issue of job losses is uncommon. Engineers usually
choose to automate a process that is not fit for humans to perform, such as the constant handling of bread straight out of the oven at two hundred degrees or moving heavy materials. Robots are recruited to enhance the production process rather than replace human operators. In our experience, if a robot does replace an operator it is because the operator’s job was unsafe in the first place and they are usually promoted to managing the robot’s tasks or deployed to another role
in the organisation.”
According to Mr. Horan, automation is simply a way for an organisation to modernise their facility and increase their output merging robots with humans. Robots are specialists at a certain task but ultimately do not replace the complex human brain and need to be managed by humans. Historically speaking, human employment has evolved over the centuries from industrial jobs during the revolution in the 18th century, to the high demand for construction skills in Ireland in the 1990’s and 2000’s before the housing crash.
The demand for specialised skills is cyclical and a future increase in automation will no doubt create more highly skilled jobs in engineering, design, IT and computer programming. In conclusion, A.I and the automation of industry is nothing to be afraid of, rather, like Horan Automation and Consulting, it’s time for society to acquire automation skills and get ahead of the curve.
If you would like to find out more about Horan Automation and Consulting visit their website: www.horan.ie,
email email@example.com or call 052 9152414
For Immediate Release
Author: Emma Lacy
Phone Direct: (052) 9152414
• ISME magazine
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• Manufacturing Ireland magazine
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• Radio interview at Tipp fm
Discover the latest solutions that will help your business improve and grow. Irish Industry faces major challenges to meet climate action targets. Sustainable technology in the transport sector and businesses in general has provided for significant savings on costs and improvements in efficiency.
At the National Sustainable Transport & Business Conference, emerging technologies, potential opportunities for your business and Case Studies of the benefits of successful implementation of Sustainable Business and Transport initiatives will be presented.
Hosted by Tipperary Green Business Network in conjunction with the Tipperary Energy Agency and the EPA Green Business Programme, the Sustainable Transport and Business Conference will feature key insights from thought leaders and service providers. The keynote address will be given by Laura Behan, Head of Climate Change Unit, Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport and other speakers on the day include Rodger O’Connor, Gas Network Ireland, Dave Fitzgerald Dairygold, Paul Kenny, Tipperary Energy Agency, Verona Murphy, Irish Road Haulage Association, Lis O’Brien & Ailbe Burke, LIT, James Hogan, GreenBusiness, Conor Molloy AEMS ECOFleet, Ian McDonnell, Alternative Fleet Ltd., Raoul Empey, SEAI, Anne Murphy , IBEC , Thomas Ryan, IFA, Andrew Aveyard, Future Renewables ECO Plc, and Barry O’Donovan ABP Group.
Sustainable Transport & Viable Business Exhibition and Conference will feature:
• Key insights from thought leaders and
• Case studies from business and sectoral
leaders on the benefits of sustainable
transport initiatives and more sustainable business practices.
• Seminars on the latest industry, transport and business issues.
• Exhibition area featuring solution
providers, Research and Innovation,
Sustainability, Business Technology,
Sustainable Energy Technologies.
• BIG shiny toys and much more…
If you are a supplier looking to showcase your business at the National Sustainable Transport & Business Conference please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Conference is sponsored by Calor, Future Renewables Eco PLC and Gas Networks Ireland and is supported by the Local Enterprise Office, Tipperary, (LEO) and Tipperary Co. Council.
For more information on Tipperary Green Business Network, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Green Business programme, visit http://www.tgbn.ie http://www.tippenergy.ie and http://www.greenbusiness.ie
Register at bit.ly/GreenTipp17
Limerick Institute of Technology and QUESTUM Acceleration Centre are pleased to announce an exciting new short programme "Stress Test the Business Idea"
‘The Stress Test’ is a new exciting programme coming for the first time to QUESTUM in Clonmel, Tipperary’s first
Enterprise Acceleration & Research Centre. QUESTUM aims to support the development and growth of emerging
international businesses. A modern business development programme, ’The Stress Test’ takes the latest concepts,
models and start-up thinking to ensure that participants have the practical tools with which to run the following tests:
Tea Day in aid of the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland, Friday 5th of May, 10am - 1pm. Venue: AIB Bank, Clonmel
AIB Clonmel are delighted to be hosting this tea day in order to raise much needed funds for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. We would invite you all to generously support this worthy cause by calling to AIB Clonmel on Friday 5th May from 10am to 1pm to make a donation while sampling goodies baked by staff of AIB Clonmel and kindly donated by local bakeries.
Leading healthcare company, MSD, has announced it is to invest €40 million this year in its manufacturing facility in Ballydine, Co. Tipperary, as part of a total spend of €75 million over the last three years to enhance the site’s facilities. Pictured at the announcement are: Ger Carmody, Site Lead, MSD in Ballydine, and Ger Brennan, Managing Director for Human Health at MSD Ireland.
Leading healthcare company, MSD, has announced it is to invest €40 million this year in its manufacturing facility in Ballydine, Co. Tipperary, as part of a total spend of €75 million over the last three years to enhance the site’s facilities. The spend in 2017 includes the installation of a new spray drying facility at the plant - a technology used in a number of new products to increase their solubility and improve how the medicines are absorbed by patients.
MSD Ballydine develops and supplies the active ingredients and final formulated product for a range of innovative medicines at its manufacturing and R&D facilities. The plant, which last year marked 40 years in operation, exports to over 30 countries around the world with primary markets being Europe, USA and Japan.
According to Ger Carmody, Site Lead at MSD in Ballydine, “This investment reflects the growing importance of MSD Ireland’s operations to our global network, and is a fitting way to mark 40 years of MSD in Ballydine. As a leading healthcare company, our growth and development has been built on continually embracing new ways of working, as well as the latest cutting edge technologies. Our highly-skilled local workforce is now leading the way in the development of new medicines, including MSD’s new treatment for hepatitis C, which is being manufactured in Tipperary for patients around the world.”
Great Event: Boston Scientific Manufacturing Excellence - Coaching as a tool to release employee potential
Last Thursday we had another very entertaining Manufacturing Excellence Event, very kindly sponsored by Boston Scientific. The theme of this event was "Coaching as a tool to release employee potential" and Graham O'Regan was our tutor for the morning. And what a tutor he was!
He gave the attendees a full a fantastic insight into the world of coaching and corrected some common misconceptions. Some very interesting one to ones ensued as part of the exercises given - we all learned just how unobservant we really are when it comes to noticing changes in our fellow humans!
Two more Manufacturing Excellence Events are planned for Friday the 30th of June and Friday 20th of October - venues and subjects to be decided.
Some interesting links:
Link to INSIGHTS personality preferences website: https://www.insights.com/1/home.html
Link to ICF a downloadable report summary: https://coachfederation.org/2016study?_ga=1.115456454.1171977081.1443594353
Link to ICF video that gives summary of latest study: https://vimeo.com/180873616
Link to Burning Ambition YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfn6vD4yyC4
There are 10 tickets to be won to the Retail Retreat on Wed 10th May in Croke Park. This event, organised by Retail Excellence Ireland is one of the most significant events in the Irish retail calendar where a line-up of world class speakers will present on key areas of relevance to retailers.
To be in with a chance to win a ticket, simply email email@example.com and let us have your suggestions as to how retail trade can be boosted in your town or village. Leave brief details of your business and how we can contact you. 10 winners will be selected against a criterion of innovation, originality and feasibility. Winners will receive a ticket worth €275. In addition, the overall winner will receive an additional prize to attend the Retail Excellence Dinner on the 9th May and a tour of the Croke Park, as well as overnight accommodation in the Croke Park Hotel.
The competition is open to the owners/ managers of indigenous retail outlets across County Tipperary. Please note that travel expenses to and from the event is at the winner’s own expense.
For further details of the Retail Retreat go to
You don’t have to share to enter, but we would appreciate if you would spread the word.
Rules of Competition
1. The competition is open to the owners/ managers of indigenous retail outlets across County Tipperary
2. Travel to and from the Retail Therapy Event in Croke Park is at the
3. No cash alternative will be given in lieu of prizes
4. Winners may be asked to take part in competition publicity including
being photographed by the media and names may also be published
on the LEO Facebook page and Website
5. The closing date for entry is Tue 2 May 2017 and winners will be
notified by email by Friday 5 May
6. The judge’s decision is final
Merry's of Cashel Road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary are purveyors of the world's most awarded Irish Cream Liqueur. The also bottle 400 brands of various spirits and wines. Currently Merry's export to 35 countries with their products.
Last Friday we visited Merry's to see their many products, their production process, and meet with Don, Michael, and the staff.
While in Merry's we spoke about the very high standards required in the production of their products and the expected impact of Brexit. The UK is a supplier of ingredients for Merry's but EU sources are also at the ready to ensure continuity of supply.
Robert A. Merry & Co. Ltd.,
T: 00353 52 612 5264
F: 00353 52 6127248
Chamber News & Events
Read some of our past events and posts,