Ballygawley’s Tyrone Fabrication Applauded in Prestigious InterTradeIreland Awards

Engineering firm, Tyrone Fabrication Ltd (TFL), based in Ballygawley and Toomebridge-based manufacturing company, Copper Industries, were elevated to ‘Exemplar’ status by InterTradeIreland. The award recognises exceptionally high levels of innovation and collaboration between a company, a graduate and an academic institution as part of InterTradeIreland’s FUSION programme.

The Northern Ireland companies, which undertook FUSION projects to develop innovative, new products, were two of only five SMEs on the island to receive the accreditation at a prestigious event held in Carton House in Maynooth. The other companies acknowledged were Novegen Ltd, Dublin; Complete Laboratory Solutions, Galway; and Aspira Ltd from Cork.

Between them, the five FUSION Exemplar companies have reported sales of more than £1.5M and savings of over £65,000 during their FUSION projects, with projected sales of upwards of £5.75M and savings of £466,000, over the next three years.

InterTradeIreland’s technology transfer and innovation programme, FUSION, partners companies north and south with a third-level institution and provides them with the specialist expertise of a high calibre graduate, who works directly in the organisation, to deliver a new product or process improvement project. Through the programme, Tyrone Fabrications employed graduate, Dominic Mullins and Copper Industries employed graduate, Anthony O’Connor. Both organisations benefitted from services and support from Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Tyrone Fabrication’s collaborative FUSION project enabled the development of a range of Hybrid Power Units, aimed at providing a constant power supply to telecoms base stations, especially in remote locations.

Discussing the benefits of FUSION, Michael Montague, general manager at TFL, explained: “Without the assistance from the FUSION project, we would not have had the time or resources to be able to dedicate a full time member of staff to R&D and successfully bring this project to market. In addition, we simply didn’t have the necessary skills or in-house expertise to turn the initial idea into reality.

“This has been a rewarding experience for TFL and will generate a significant increase in revenue for us in the future, along with additional efficiency savings for our business. In addition, by employing Dominic on a full-time basis, it created another new and vitally important job role within the company. We have no hesitation in encouraging other local companies to apply for the InterTradeIreland FUSION programme and take advantage of the opportunities it offers.”

Copper Industries’ FUSION project facilitated the design and development of a prototype electrically heated cylinder with a built in control system. This product is now aimed at the domestic market, particularly where Oil Fired Central Heating (OFCH) is not suitable.

Managing director of Copper Industries, Charlie Shivers, explained: “Participation in InterTradeIreland’s FUSION project was a profitable experience for Copper Industries. Our project was fully delivered within the timeline, in fact, ahead of the schedule.

“As well as developing an entirely new product for various markets, we also enhanced other products through our newly acquired skills and learning and we streamlined our company’s systems and increased market share, specifically in Ireland.

“Before FUSION, we carried out around 20% of our business in the Republic of Ireland, our nearest market; in 2016 this increased to 45% and this year, we hope, and expect, to hit 60%. We have secured key customers, both shops and individuals, with whom we hope to develop relationships on a long-term basis. We would not have achieved this without the FUSION project.”

Speaking at the event, Margaret Hearty, director of programmes and services for InterTradeIreland, said: “These ambitious SMEs are a testament of what can be achieved through enterprise and innovation and North South collaboration. It is important that we recognise their success, which we hope, in turn, will encourage other SMEs to participate in the FUSION Programme, to improve their productivity, increase their revenue potential and to create real jobs for graduates. I am delighted to congratulate all of our Exemplars on their achievements and I wish them every success in the future.”

InterTradeIreland is the cross-border body that supports SMEs with funding, information and advice and helps businesses to identify and develop trade and business opportunities across the island.

For further information on InterTradeIreland and the business supports available, please visit