Honours & Awards 2011

The 2011 Award Winners

Presidents Address

I would like to welcome you all here this evening, to our 30th Annual Honours and Awards Ceremony. We hold this annual ceremony to acknowledge and encourage excellence for those training for careers in Instrumentation, Systems and Automation.

This year we have six awards, four of which have been submitted by Third Level institutions, one from the membership of our section and one Society award.I would like to welcome the recipients and their families.

We are delighted each sponsor is represented here this evening, this clearly shows the industry’s awareness and support for promoting and awarding excellence.

I would like to thank University College Cork for allowing use this very elegant and historic Common Room. I hope you all have a very relaxed and enjoyable evening as we celebrate excellence in our industry.

I would like to wish you and your families a joyful Christmas and a prosperous new year.

Honour’s Degree Award

Recipient: Ms. Jennifer Gaughran School of Physical Sciences, Dublin City University

Nominated by: Dr. Enda McGlynn & Prof. Jens Ducrée School of Physical Sciences & Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), Dublin City University (DCU)


Ms.Jennifer Gaughran has recently graduated from theB.Sc. in Physics with Astronomy,degree programme. This nomination is based primarily on Jennifer’s outstanding 4th year project work entitled “Centrifugo-Pneumatic Valving using Dissolvable Films”, which is an excellent example of the application of physics in the development of cutting edge automation of applications in biomedical diagnostics and the life sciences. For this project work Jennifer had to utilize her core physics knowledge and abilities in the research intensive environment of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), an industrially-focused SFI-funded Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) based at DCU. The project developed instrumentation for the key element of flow control in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems.

Jennifer significantly improved the instrumentation and automation for centrifugal microfluidic “lab-on-a-disc” technologies which are well-known for their superb capability of liquid sample preparation and detection. With a concept adopted from optical disc drives such as CD-, DVD- or Blu-ray-players, a conceptually simple instrument essentially comprising of a reusable unit with a spindle motor and an optical detection unit called “pick-up” spins a microstructured disc. Instead of optically stored data represented by submicron-sized features (“pits and lands”), the microfluidic disc contains a network featuring cavities and interconnects representing reservoirs for loading sample fluids and reagents, transport channels and detection chambers for bioassays. The objective is to devise fully automated sample-to-answer instruments which take up for example, a patient’s blood sample, and precondition and analyze it, to provide a diagnostic result on the disease state of a patient at the point-of-care.

Because they determine key performance factors such as metering precision and flow control for automated and quantitative bioassays, valving structures are of paramount importance for such versatile lab-on-a-disc technologies. In this context, Jennifer has pioneered a completely novel, centrifugo-pneumatic valving principle which has by now become a core element of several microfluidic platforms developed with the industrial partners of the BDI.Bymeans of these novel dissolvable films valves, Jennifer’s work could significantly facilitate the instrumentation and optimize the performance of highly automated bioassays on the lab-on-a-disc platform. For the first time, these dissolvable films valves could reliably control sample preparation (blood filtration, metering and mixing) as well as the release of on-board stored liquid reagents to demonstrate highly integrated, multi-step biological immunoassays on an instrument derived from a CD player.Forall these reasons we feel that Ms. Gaughran should be considered for the Honours Degree award of the ISA – Ireland Section.

Degree Award

Recipient: Mr. Mark Casey Garranfort, Grange via Youghal, Co. Waterford

Nominated by: Dr. Liam McDonnell. Department of Applied Physics & Instrumentation, Cork Institute ofTechnology

Mark Casey completed the three year full-time B.Sc. in applied Physics and Instrumentation in June 2011 at Cork Institute of Technology and was first in class with a final year average mark of 76.8% and an award classification of Pass with Distinction. In two of his final year modules, Industrial Automation & SCADA and Programming for Measurement applications, Mark received outstanding marks of 98% and 97% respectively. Looking back at his earlier results, it is interesting to note that Mark obtained impressive marks of 92% in Industrial Automation during second year and 91% in Technological Mathematics in his first year.

 Marks industrial placement during his final year was at Conocco Phillips in Whitegate where he obtained a first class mark of 78%. Mark is now studying for his B.Sc. Honours in Applied Physics at Cork Institute of Technology.

 Mark has consistently demonstrated the highest level of academic achievement during his course. He is an excellent, hard-working student and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to nominate him for ISA Ireland’s 2011 Degree Award.

Post Graduate Award

Recipient: Mr. Pietro Zucca, College Green Dublin 2, Dublin

Nominated by: Prof. Peter T. Gallagher School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin

Mr. Pietro Zucca is a PhD student in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) supervised by Prof. Peter T. Gallagher of the School of Physics and Prof. Linda Doyle of the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. The aim of his PhD is to understand the effect of the Sun on telecommunications systems in Ireland and further afield. In order to do this, he has been responsible for setting up and testing a remotely controllable radio spectrometer to observe the Sun at radio frequencies in the range 10-400 MHz.

The radio spectrometer was set up at TCD’s Rosse Solar-TerrestrialObservatory (RSTO),which was established at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Ireland in September 2010. Mr. Zucca has led the installation of the three Compound Astronomical Low-Cost Low Frequency (Callisto) spectrometers and the associated antennas and control systems. The receivers are fed simultaneously by a bicone and a log-periodic antenna. Nominally, frequency spectra in the range 10-400 MHz are obtained with 4 sweeps per second over 600 channels. The system has now been fully tested and allows scientists in Dublin to remotely control the operations of the antennas at the RSTO. Once data is obtained at the site, it is automatically made available to the international science community via the RSTO website, www.rosseobservatory.ie.

Mr. Zucca’s primary contribution was to design the antenna mounts and the motorized antenna motor. The motor, thanks to specifically designed tracking software, is able to point the radio antennas to the Sun, tracking its motion during the day. Then, the radio spectrograph records the solar emission and automatically delivers the data to the website.

Mr. Zucca had an important role in the development of the observatory hardware, the observatory website, and has recently submitted a paper to Solar Physics gives a completedescription of the instrumentation at Birr.

In just over a year since starting his PhD project, Mr. Zucca has made an important contribution to the development and testing of the radio spectrometers at RSTO. Indeed, his expertise in instrumentation, control, and remote operations has been essential to the success of the project.

 Technology Achievement Award

Recipients: Ms. Romania Dirimanova 

Nominated by: Mr. Declan Lordan, Douglas Automation, Mr. Peadar Walsh, Jones Group

Iarnrod Eireann through a large team in the New Works Control Section have developed an automation system which interfaces with 25 year old technology and gives the benefits of current day technology to the Code Signaling System across Irelands railway system.

Since 1984 one of the most important signaling systems in Irish Rail providing safety for the railway traffic has been the Continuous Automatic Warning System (CAWS) and Automated Train Protection (ATP). The purpose of the system is to assure that the train drivers obey line side signals and speed restrictions.

Since 2003 Iarnrod Eireann have been in the process of modernisation under the National Development Plan encompassing a 20 year strategy framework for the railway. The methods and equipment for Train Control used on Iarnrod Eireann rail network were examined with a view to invest in a project aimed at replacing and enhancing the legacy track side and onboard Train Control subsystems. As part of the implementation of the National Development Plan a new modern Code Generating System aimed to replace the existing obsolete track side Train Control coding equipment was designed by Iarnrod Eireann specialists. This system is based on contemporary traffic management technologies and is expected to satisfy today’s and future demands and needs of Iarnrod Eireann.

The benefits which Iarnrod Eireann have received because of this new system include a significant improvement in the reliability of the system by removing all electromechanically based elements, a reduction in design and testing time by up to 5 times, the flexibility to interface different signaling safety systems, achieve maintainability through diagnostics and technical support, provide cost effectiveness in all stages of design, installation, and maintenance; with a reduction to 1/25th the previous time taken to test a section of track.

The technology also brought the following benefits – the system achieved the Highest Safety performance – Safety Integrity Level 4 rating; facilitated most of the testing process to take place in an office environment; and facilitated the transition process to minimise disruptions to railway traffic as the new system could work in parallel with the old existing system.

A large project team was required to work in close co-operation during the development, testing, installation, validation, operation, training and documentation. The system is fully transparent to the existing on-board equipment and can be easily deployed on newly built track sections, or onto the existing Iarnrod Eireann main lines equipped with coded track circuits. The proposed designed for use in Iarnrod Eireann, is a high performance track side code-generating system intended for coding of the track circuits on company lines where Continuous Automatic Warning System (CAWS) and Automated Train Protection (ATP) onboard equipped traction units are operated.

The equipment uses information inputs from telegrams circulating over SSI trackside data lines (TDLs). From these telegrams the information related with the signal aspects, position of the points and status of the track circuits is extracted, safely processed and used as a base for producing the corresponding codes required for the operation of the Train Control systems. The new code generating system does not change the method of the operation of the existing Train Control equipment installed on-board of the traction units operated by Iarnrod Eireann.

The implementation of the system is a successful demonstration of how using units with lower SIL a system with higher SIL can be developed because of the requirements applied and methodology followed during the development process. Because of the modularity and flexibility of the system, it can be easily expanded when requirements increase. The inherent information capacity is very big and permits exchange of great volumes of data between the different levels of the system.

Pioneer Award

Recipient: Mr Pat J Boner, P J Boner & Company

Nominated by: Mr. Patrick M Boner, P J Boner & Company, Mr. Eoin O’Riain, Readout

PatJ Boner has been actively involved in Instrumentation and Automation all his working life, Pat was born in Dungloe, Co Donegal before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland at the age of 12, after completing his school education, he began an Electrical apprenticeship working with the Scottish National Coal Board. Pat excelled in his early years and was selected to move to the Instrumentation Apprenticeship after his first year. In this year he was selected to represent Scotland in the National Apprenticeship awards. Soon after completing this apprenticeship he moved to Birmingham, England to take up employment with ICI in the metals division as an Instrument Technician, within 6 months he was promoted to Shift Instrument Artificer age 23. Pat then worked with GKN Forge & Press Works before being offered a job with Honeywell,which would involve moving to Dublintotake up an employment opportunity as a Service Engineer covering all 32 counties. After 4 years with Honeywell, he joined GEC Elliott in 1974 as Area Manager for GEC Elliott for both Sales & Service in Ireland.

 In 1978 Pat founded P.J. Boner & Company to provide a quality Instrumentation Service along with the supply of Instrumentation & Weighing Goods from International manufacturers to the Irish market. The company started from Pat’s house in South Dublin, starting with just three employees working from the front room before moving to a much larger premises in 1983,and with it additional employees including Instrument Technicians, Panel Builders, Apprentices and Administration staff.

 From its foundation, P J Boner & Company started working with many of Irelands most prestigious companies with quality being at the forefront of every job undertaken and completed. Pats expert knowledge of Instrumentation and weighing was a primary factor in the initial development of contracts with some of Ireland’s best known companies, some of these contracts that are still standing to this day, 33 years later. By the late 1980’s Pat had seen a market for the automation of batching systems in Ireland and began programming, installing and commissioning some of Irelands most complicated, accurate and fast systems for concrete, feed & process.

 Through this time and up until present day, P J Boner & Company employed staff in the Instrumentation, Weighing and Automation fields, all interviewed, inducted and guided by Pat in the development of their trades and up to the high standards that are expected by all at P J Boner’s which has been instilled through Pats years as Managing Director.

 Pat retired from day to day management in 2009 after working in the Instrumentation Industry for 50 Years, with 31 of those years involved running one of Ireland’s most successful instrumentation companies and giving employment to hundreds of Technicians down through the years. He has taken up the role of Company Chairman to assist with the continuing success of the business.Pathas been a member of the ISA for 34 years and was present at the initial founding of the ISA Ireland section in 1977.

Society Award - Emerging Leader Award

Recipient:MrAndreMichelSkilpad, Quebec,Canada.

 Nominated by: Mr. Dave Adler ISA Indianapolis Section

Andrehas 25 years of successful automation project delivery in a wide variety of industries and projects.Andre has been a member of ISA since 2001 and has been active at the Section, District, Division and Society level of the ISA. Andre is currently the President-Elect of the ISA Montreal Section, where he has heldroles ofSecretary and Professional Development Chair. In these roles Andre has developed partnerships with REAI (the organization of Automation Manufacturers in Quebec) and RVA (Rendez Vous of Automation).Ata District level Andre has held the role of Leadership Development Chair and participated and presented at the 2011DistrictLeadership Conference in Toronto and 2010DistrictLeadership Conference in Montreal.Within theFoodand Pharmaceutical Division (FPID)of ISA,Andre has been very active helpingtodevelop and roll out a program of web-based seminars on Pharmaceutical Automation while also being the Newsletter Editor for the last 4 years.

At a Society level Andre has been an information member of the ISA106 standards committee on Procedural Automation for Continuous Process Operations, which addresses topics such as physical, procedural and application models, lifecycle management best practices, and training and certification best practices. Andre has also been involved in the ISA Expo and Automation Week eventsassession and track organiser for Human Asset