Building Your Business
PLATO EBR Company Torc Product Development Featured in Irish Times

26 November 2014

PLATO EBR Company was featured  on taking an industrial design background to manufacturing in the Small Business: Inside Track

Declan O’Duil of Torc Product Development, based in Lurgan, Co Armagh, employs five people. The company won Best Industrial Product for its medical training product Truman Trauma Surgical Training Manikin at the Institute of Designers in Ireland Design Awards last year.

Declan O’Duil: his company won Best Industrial Product for its medical training product Truman Trauma Surgical Training Manikin at the IDI Design Awards last year

Declan O’Duil: his company won Best Industrial Product for its medical training product Truman Trauma Surgical Training Manikin at the IDI Design Awards last year


 

What is special about your business? Torc Product Development is unique in that we take an industrial design background to our manufacturing. This allows us to give each unit we manufacture the attention of a prototype model. We can revise models and production for periodic improvements and bespoke ranges for our customers. Much of our recent work has been human-anatomy based and here we have successfully combined modelling by hand alongside digital 3D printing.

 

What sets your business apart in your sector? We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in plastic casting processes, with a particular focus on high quality, soft silicone materials. We have almost perfected a method of making very complex rubber shapes and processes for assembling these. This means that we are now in a position to compete on price while retaining exceptional quality. We are also able to take a more versatile approach to projects than other businesses for example we recently started wax casting for a foundry. You’ll also find some complex mechanical assemblies and even an engine driven device in the workshop at the moment.

 

What was the best piece of business advice you have ever received? I can’t think of any particular phrase but I learned a lot about how to keep my head under pressure and motivate staff from my former partner Mike Evason. He created a fantastic working environment that I hope I replicate.

 

What’s been the biggest challenge you have had to face? It has to be transforming the company from a busy design workshop into a functioning factory. A mentoring scheme offered by the Department of Employment and Learning Northern Ireland at Belfast Metropolitan College introduced me to a workspace improvement programme called the 5 Ses – Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise, Sustain. I could never have anticipated the effort required to implement the programme or the emotional attachment I had to some of the early projects.

Your major success to date? Winning Best Industrial Product for the Truman Trauma at the Institute of Designers in Ireland Design Awards last year has to be a highlight. It is great to get some professional external appraisal every now and then and it has been very positive for the company. It was fantastic to see such exceptional quality Irish design on display at the awards and I’m looking forward to the Irish Design 2015 initiative, which will have some shows worth visiting.

 

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