Water Technologies LTD - MTU Cork Campus

Water Technologies Ltd (WTL) is a leader in industrial water treatment company providing services to clients across several sectors. The company wanted to develop a process to identify surfactants (substances that act as detergents and dispersants) using a simple spectroscopic test which would allow them to safely handle and replace legacy formulations. To this end, the company engaged with CIT under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher initiative.

Killian Barton, a researcher in the EI funded Technology Gateway, CAPPA (Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis) in Cork Institute of Technology proposed a project that would address the company’s need. This involved the preparation of a spectroscopic database of the surfactant materials already present in the company’s inventory against which legacy formulations could be assessed. The database was tested against a trial set of ‘unknown’ formulations and was seen to perform well, identifying each test sample. This database has subsequently been used on formulations where WTL have taken over management of an industrial cleaning process and are required to identify the formulations that were in use previously. This allows for time saving and safe handling of these materials.

As a result of this initial engagement, Water Technologies Ltd worked with CAPPA at CIT on more than 30 subsequent, short-term research projects relating to the company’s processes and products.

These include aspects relating to their performance in the dairy, drinks and pharma industries and each interaction was funded directly by WTL. The Innovation and Enterprise Office at CIT has provided contract management advice to CAPPA.

CAPPA and WTL are currently exploring several avenues for further studies based on the work to date.

Speaking of the value of this engagement to the company, Joe Harrington, Development & Formulation Chemist, WTL said, “CAPPA has provided our business with the ability to trouble shoot on site issues, develop new innovative product formulations, and continue to give our customers the confidence that we have a strong scientific resource when needed. Our experience with CAPPA has been very satisfactory to date. Always very helpful and accommodating.”

Equally, engaging with WTL on this project has afforded CAPPA the chance to develop the Centre’s internal capability.Killian Barton, Postdoctoral Researcher on the project said “Collaborating with WTL has provided valuable insight into the practical and technical challenges that are encountered in a range of industrial contexts and how the expertise in CAPPA can be adapted to provide useful and prompt support.”

Commenting on the relationship with WTL, Josette O’Mullane, CIT Innovation and Enterprise Manager said, “Water Technologies Ltd is a well established employer in Cork and we are delighted with this ongoing relationship, and with CAPPA’s expanding base of industrial clients.”

Published: 2019

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