Dr Noel Harrison holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is currently a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and Programme Director for the Mechanical Engineering Degree and Master’s programmes at NUIG. He teaches undergraduate students specifically on additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, materials in AM, and design for AM. His research group specialises in advanced manufacturing and materials in manufacturing, and specifically advanced computational mechanics, experimental testing, 3D microscopy and defects and he also holds granted US and EU patents on novel medical device technology based on AM, which was licenced to an orthopaedic medical device company in 2019. He has represented Ireland (via the NSAI) at the recent ISO/ASTM Additive Manufacturing Standards plenary meetings in the US and Europe.
Engineers use their skills in science, mathematics and technology to design and make things that improve our lives and help solve problems for society. The “make” or making stage of this job is key, and typically involves the manufacturing of parts or assembling of devices. Engineers are constantly developing new ways to manufacture parts, and in recent years a major breakthrough came when 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) was invented. So far there are seven different types of 3D printing, and we can print plastics, metals, concrete, paper, food, clothes and even living organisms! Our work in I-Form focuses on how we can use these new 3D printing methods and materials to make current products better, or cheaper, or lighter, or with less waste, and also how to design new products that, until now, could not actually be made. I-Form brings together the brightest minds in engineering, materials, technology and data to address the challenges in 3D printing, and to ensure that companies currently manufacturing in Ireland can access and benefit from what 3D printing can offer them and their customers.