In an era where Derry is exporting its graduates at an alarming rate, an established Waterside engineering firm is hoping to buck the trend and offer skilled workers the chance to hone their skills and contribute to groundbreaking projects locally.
Working quietly but steadily in the background at Carrakeel Industrial Estate in Maydown, Mechanical Installations and Maintenace Northern Ireland (M.I.M.N.I) has all the positive echoes of the great age of industry.
Here is a company who are determined to stay here and invest in the future of the North West
As a Derry based firm they’ve enjoyed a successful 20 years in business and employ between 40 and 50 people in the local area. They’re also determined to invest in the future of engineering by welcoming local graduates as they perfect their engineering expertise.
Mechanical Engineer Stephen Clarke who joined the firm last year after graduating says M.I,M.N.I realise that keeping young engineers in the North is key to growing the economy here.
With a solid reputation in first class prominent landmarks, the company have completed bespoke work all across Northern Ireland, including the Peace Bridge in Derry, the Foyle Bridge Gantry, the redevelopment of Ravenhill into the Kingspan Stadium as well as the famous Sewing Wheel Sculpture.
Stephen Clarke says he’s over the moon to have secured a job with such a prestigious firm and is now overseeing the project work of students who come through M.I.M.N.I’s doors.
“I started working in MIM-NI back in July last year, recently graduated from the University of Ulster, First Class in Mechanical Engineering, I was primarily brought into MiM-NI to help advance change within the company,” says Stephen.
Since then, change has happened, particularly in relation to the development of a new and innovative product at the company’s site in Maydown.
The ‘LowerLoad’ has the potential to revolutionise the industry. The product allows for the movement of tall pieces of equipment within areas of restricted headroom and through doorways. LowerLoad can lower tall, heavy products, transport them and then lift into a vertical position once at the required location.
The product, according to Stephen and his colleagues, avoids injury to manpower. damage to equipment, provides a secure, controlled lift and move and removes the need for any further lifting equipment.
Ultimately M.I.M.N.I see the LowerLoad as being a faster solution for numerous workplaces with less manpower involvement therefore saving time and costs.
The vision for the LowerLoad is that it might eventually be used across a number of different areas with particular relevance for electrical panel manufacturers, electrical contractors, biomass boiler manufacturers and installers, wood pellet boiler installations, hospitals, hire companies, machine installation companies
stainless steel manufacturers, large bank safes and moving tall equipment.
“I was employed to help the company expand into new markets and primarily become more competitive in their industry,” says Stephen. “One of my main goals was to analyse and relaunch the LowerLoad.
Identifying that not only would it be an exciting project for a final year student, but also with having been a final year engineering student himself just a year before, Stephen wanted to create a fun project that students would enjoy.
“Enjoyable projects are vital as they get the most motivation from people. I believe that involving students shows innovation from the company’s perspective as well, as M.I.M.N.I having students
involved in product development and a real life project, will in fact encourage them to stay in Northern Ireland once they graduate. I personally believe that with getting the two final year students involved, it will help market and sell the product more efficiently this time.”
The students working on the project agree too. Speaking at the publicity event around the project on Friday, Engineering student Conor Shuttleworth said: “MIM-NI has been very helpful in this project, between funding of materials, workspace, man hours and expertise, I found all in surplus supply.
The project that MIM-NI and the University of Ulster tasked me with was much more enjoyable than an academic research Final Year Project. To design, review and build a potential product gave me lots of experience when it came down to making decisions. The project helped me see the wider picture when it comes to sales and how other products and engineering scope has an effect on how well the product does of in the market. I would like to thank MIM-NI and Stephen Clarke for their continued support and being on the other side of the phone or email for me when I needed it.”
Student Niall Duffy added: “Doing my final year project in partnership with MiM has added valuable experience to my studies of Mechanical Engineering. Having a company with such experience to guide us through our
final year has been a major advantage. Also having such an innovative product as LowerLoad as a prototype has set the benchmark for this Final Year Project.
M.I.M.N.I as a company has invested immensely in the surrounding areas and have worked hard to gain a foothold in their Engineering and by working along with us students, has been able to integrate youth with experience, to provide service of high quality engineering throughout Northern Ireland.
Being able to Design, Review and develop the current prototype of LowerLoad, helped from the outset. Also with MiM’s knowledge of materials, it has helped me with this dissertation and to be able to see a final product, after all those tough weeks of research is fantastic.
In relation to the project, I would like to thank Stephen Clarke, and the team at M.I.M.N.I for their guidance throughout this project. It has given me an amazing experience that will help me further my studies as an engineer.”
Stephen Clarke added:”As a company, we feel it’s important to establish strong links locally and at a time when we’re hearing about people leaving the city, and jobs being lost, here is a company who are determined to stay here and invest in the future of the North West.”