Pictured is Dr Norah Patten with Lindsey Malpss-Skop, with EJ president Tracy Malpass and son Mathew with Padraig Freeman, Managing Director M
EJ, a fifth generation family owned company, headquartered in Michigan, USA, celebrated the opening of its new innovative composite manufacturing facility in Birr last week.
Operating on EJ's two hectare site along the Roscrea road, the new production facility was officially opened by Dr Norah Patten, a leading Irish engineer, who is bidding to become Ireland’s first-ever astronaut. Providing products to world-wide infrastructure on six continents, EJ were delighted to launch their new range of access covers, manufactured from lightweight composite materials.
Welcoming everyone to the event, Dr Vincent Cooper, Composite Product Manager at EJ said it was fitting to have Dr Patten at the official opening to speak about the use of advanced composites in the space industry and the “importance of quality research and product development”.
“Composites are used extensively in space applications where high-strength, lightweight materials offer huge savings in fuel. In the construction industry, the benefits of lighter weight access covers include easier handling, reduced transportation costs and a better carbon.”
With the help from Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, the Irish Composites Centre (IComp), based at the University of Limerick, EJ carried out an extensive research programme to devise how best to manufacture composite access covers using best in class materials and processes. The results was the industry’s first independently certified range of composite products to meet the latest European product standards, which complements the wider range of cast and fabricated steel access covers by EJ.
Tracy Malpass, the President of the EJ, was “absolutely delighted” to be in Birr for the facility’s official opening. Outlining the history of his family’s business, Mr Malpass enthused that it was “an extremely important day” in the life of the company. Acknowledging the contributions of a wide variety of people and agencies to the project, he personally thanked them for the success of the project.
Speaking at the event, Padraig Freeman, Vice President of Product and Market Strategy at EJ said “investing in our Irish facility allows us to serve local and European market needs from Birr”. “It demonstrates not only our commitment to Ireland but to our wider European customers. We are now exporting high performance composite access solutions to several European markets. IDA’s support enabled us to strengthen our offering and diversify our production facility.”
Officially opening the facility, Dr Patten, who’s the Projects Manager at IComp, managing ongoing composite research projects, said it was a “great pleasure” to at the event before giving an interesting presentation entitled ‘Sewerage to Space’, where she examined how composite material can be linked with space.
Breda O’Toole, Head of Product Development & Transformation IDA Ireland, enthused it was great to see a leader in manufacturing sustain their investment in the midlands region. “EJ in Birr is testament to what a strong team of talented people can achieve in a regional location. On behalf of IDA Ireland, I would like to congratulate the EJ team on successfully developing their manufacturing facility in Birr and wish them continued success.”
Local TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, TD, outlined that the facility was a “fabulous example” of how the values of a company can extend across the world and come down to Birr.
“EJ have proven to be a tremendous company……. They have faced challenging times but they have decided to innovate, to disrupt, to challenge what is happening in the market and show that they could rise to the challenge. I also think the partnership they formed with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland has proven that this is a right and correct approach.”
Extending her congratulations to all involved in the project, Deputy Corcoran Kennedy acknowledged everyone’s hard work and dedication to the project. “This is a classic example of how a company in the right place, at the right time, can do the right thing,” she enthused before Dr Cooper invited the guests to visit the composite manufacturing facility to see first-hand the innovative work being carried out at the Birr site.