As western manufacturers look to reshoring opportunities, Irish business CW Applied Technology aims to help manufacturers navigate this transition and meet air purity regulations.
CW Applied Technology is one of eight start-ups chosen to take part in this year’s Bord na Móna Accelerate Green programme.
The programme is Ireland’s leading sustainability programme designed to scale-up companies who are developing products and services based on green innovation in response to climate action and sustainability challenges.
“Our ambition in this area is to grow both our range of environmental disinfection and air purification products and our turnover significantly within the next three years”
The current cohort of businesses employ over 70 people with turnover of more than €5m.
The eight start-ups will be at the upcoming Accelerate Green conference entitled ‘Ireland’s Sustainable Future’ on 1 June 2023 at the Tullamore Court Hotel. Click here to learn more.
CW Applied Technology is a dynamic electronic business based in Shannon, Ireland that has developed a green solution available for room disinfection which is critical to the electronics manufacturing industry and could play a vital role in the anticipated reshoring activity by manufacturers.
The reshoring prerogative
“Much of western electronics manufacturing has been outsourced to the Far East over the last 30 years,” explained CW Applied Technology founder John O’Connell.
“Against the background of both supply shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a secular shift in the international order towards geopolitical rivalry between the United States (the US) and China, reshoring of production has become a topical issue in the recent EU policy debate. This is motivated by a number of factors such security of supply concerns, by the need to increase the strategic autonomy of the EU economy in response to the ongoing shifts in the international order and reduction of climate impact of long hauling by air and sea.
“Reshoring can be difficult and not just for economic reasons. Our aim is to help companies to navigate this reshoring as painlessly as possible. The outsourced electronics manufacturing in the EU alone is greater than €450bn. Our aim is to grow our turnover through reshoring of a particular niche of the outsourced electronics manufacturing market where we believe we can add most value.”
In particular, the business is addressing the issue of air quality, a growing concern for all developed countries.
“Legislation is beginning to appear in some European countries and it appears only a matter of time before the EU begins addressing the need to ensure indoor air quality standards are set in legislation and implemented,” O’Connell explained.
“We carried out significant development and manufacturing work during the pandemic to make a green solution available for room disinfection based on UV-C. Our Muv-X Room UV Steriliser has been independently assessed at an FDA laboratory and confirmed as highly effective against SARS-Cov2 and CPE. Chemical free, it leaves no residues and the room is useable immediately after the Muv-X has finished its cycle.
“We have also partnered up with a Polish company who manufacture air purifiers and have designs in the pipeline for our own air purification product developments. All our products in this area use Ultraviolet-C lighting for purification. The global ultraviolet disinfection equipment market1 was valued at $1.3bn in 2019 and is projected to reach $5.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 17.1% from 2020 to 2027. Our ambition in this area is to grow both our range of environmental disinfection and air purification products and our turnover significantly within the next three years.”
Manufacturing at its heart
John O’Connell and Josephine Lynch, CW Applied Technology
O’Connell has been in the electronics industry for 30 years and for the 10 years prior to completing a management buyout from Connor Winfield Corporation he had been managing director of Connor Winfield Ltd.
“My over-riding motivation in wanting to establish CW Applied Technology was to use the skills we have in electronic design and manufacturing for SMEs and start-ups. The start-up ecosystem in the electronics industry had weaknesses we could help resolve. Access to design and manufacturing services can be difficult for start-up companies, particularly early stage companies not backed by significant finances early on. I also realised, based on growing a small custom manufacturing business within Connor Winfield that the SME sector had specific needs within this sector that we could serve.”
Josephine Lynch who was manufacturing manager with Connor Winfield has been product manager since the foundation of CW Applied Technology.
O’Connell says the start-up ecosystem has come on in leaps and bounds.
“I think the eco-system is 100 times better now than it was 20 years ago and continuing to improve every day. The New Frontiers system is excellent as are the many accelerators now up and running.
“We felt we could positively impact the ecosystem also and began what we called our Ideation Sessions for start-ups and innovators. Our intention is to help hardware start-ups with anything that’s currently proving difficult for them. The idea is that, on a Saturday morning, starting at 10 am and concluding at 12 noon, we invite into our creative space room in Shannon an entrepreneur/inventor/ start-up company who start by having one minute to explain to a panel of 12 invited guests what it is they have invented or want to bring to market.
“After that minute, our facilitator will ask them a series of questions aimed at clearly setting out what their currently difficulty is and what they want to achieve from the session. The facilitator then sets out how she proposes to run the session and organises the team of 12 into sub groups to start to review the issues etc. The 12 invited guests are leading business and engineering people from companies both local and national who give up their time free of charge on a Saturday morning to help the next generation of start-ups and innovators. A number of innovators have said they have benefitted from the sessions and one said: “ I learned more in two hours than I could have hoped to learn in two years.”
O’Connell said the business will need to raise funding in order to achieve what it plans to do over the next three-to-five years.
“I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned is the importance of focus, and in particular to focus on what is working and doing more of that. It’s easy to get distracted by what is going wrong. Everyone has those ‘events’ but being able to focus on the path through difficulties by concentrating on what is going well is critically important. Probably my biggest mistakes have been in underestimating myself and also allowing myself to be distracted by negative people. I’ve got much better at ignoring those people but it was a hard earned lesson.”
His advice to fellow founders is that resilience is key. “There will always be setbacks and plans get disrupted and sometimes the issues arising can seem insurmountable bur they rarely are. Keep going, plan your way through it, learn from every experience and constantly improve. I’m not sure who said it but I think there’s huge value in the quote: ‘Stop thinking about what you could have done different. Look ahead and don’t make the same mistake twice’.”
Main image at top: John O’Connell and Josephine Lynch, CW Applied Technology
To learn more about attending the Accelerate Green conference ‘Ireland’s Sustainable Future 2023 on 1 June at the Tullamore Court Hotel click here