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Donegal students to showcase at National Ploughing Championships

Students design new 'loader' product for farmers

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Design students at the National Ploughing Championships

IT Sligo student, Patrick Masterson, from Mountcharles, Co-Designer of the Rear End Loader.

Four Mechanical Engineering students from Donegal have invented a new product for farmers that will save money, save time and make life a whole lot easier and safer.

And such has been the reaction to their unique idea that they will showcase their product this week as part of the People’s Choice Award at the National Ploughing Championships Innovation Arena.

Patrick Masterson, Brian Griffin, Dylan McBrearty from Mountcharles and Cormac Donnelly from Donegal Town, designed the product as part of their third year project at IT Sligo.

The Universal Rear End Loader enables farmers to carry and move large heavy objects such as round bails, using any tractor. Up until now, farmers have had to use front loading devices which required expensive model specific loaders. On top of that expense, front loaders also need adapters that cost thousands extra. This meant loaders were financially out of reach for small or part-time farmers. 

The idea was so good, they were encouraged by lecturers to enter Enterprise Ireland’s competition to find the best Irish invention for agriculture. The team were successful in their application and will now showcase as part of the People’s Choice Award in the National Ploughing Championships Innovation Arena. 

Over the past two years the students carried out extensive research, attending agricultural and machinery shows and interviewing farmers across the country. From their research the team discovered a gap in the market for a cost effective rear end loader which would be universal to all tractors. The product was then designed and produced at IT Sligo’s engineering workshops with the guidance of technical staff and lecturers. 
The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena allows Irish Inventors to showcase their products at the ploughing championships which attracts high profile agricultural engineering companies from around the world.

This is a great opportunity for the four IT Sligo Students to introduce their innovative product to the world marketplace and investors.

Head of Faculty of Engineering & Design at IT Sligo, Una Parsons praised the students: “We wish our students the very best of luck at the Ploughing Championships and hope they win an award, which they thoroughly deserve.

"This recognition on a national scale is testimony to the rich heritage in producing high achieving entrepreneurial students within the Mechanical Programme at IT Sligo. Year after year our students are winning awards through innovation and enterprise thanks to the expert support of our expert academic and technical staff.”

The People’s Choice Award competition takes place over three days at the National Ploughing Championships from September 18 - 20 and the winner will be announced on Thursday. September 20 at the National Ploughing Championships.