Depuy Synthes facility ranked by World Economic Forum among best globally

The Depuy Synthes facility in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, is one of nine named as the leading factories globally for embedding new technologies such as internet of things into modern production.

An Irish medical device manufacturing facility has been named as one of the top nine most advanced factories in the world due to its use of internet of things (IoT) technology.

The Depuy Synthes facility in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, which produces replacement hip and knee joints, achieved the ranking for using the technology to make old machines talk to one another. The result has been a 10 per cent reduction in operating costs, and a 5 per cent drop in machine downtime.

The plant is one of nine named by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the leading factories globally for embedding new technologies such as IoT into modern production. The facilities were selected from an initial list of more than 1,000 manufacturing companies based on their successful implementation of so-called “fourth industrial revolution” technologies.

Depuy Synthes, which employs more than 1,000 people at the Ringaskiddy plant, is a subsidiary of healthcare giant Johnson and Johnson. It manufactures orthopaedic products including hip and knee replacement joints.

The company first established operations in Cork in 1997. It carried out a €53.2 million expansion at the plant three years ago.

“The fourth industrial revolution doesn’t always mean newer, more expensive machines. Rather it can mean better communicating with and responding to the technologies you do have,” a spokesman for the WEF told The Irish Times.

“By implementing simple internet-of-things devices across a range of machines that were never intended to ‘talk’ to each other, the Depuy Synthes factory created real-time digital twins of its factory equipment to monitor performance,” he added.

New technology

Depuy and the other companies whose factories have been rated by the forum, have all agreed to open their doors to other companies to share their experience of merging new technologies with older ones.

Previous studies by the forum have revealed that more than 70 per cent of businesses investing in technologies such as big-data analytics, artificial intelligence or 3D printing do not take the projects beyond pilot phase due to unsuccessful implementation strategies.