EJ, a fifth generation family-owned company headquartered in Michigan, USA, has celebrated the official opening of its new production facility in Birr, Co Offaly.

The company has operated the facility on its two-hectare site in Birr since June of last year.

EJ provides a full line of access solutions for the infrastructure systems of municipalities, utility companies, airport and port authorities, and private industries.

Traditional materials of grey or ductile cast iron

In addition to traditional materials of grey or ductile cast iron, a continuously expanding array of innovative solutions are offered in composites, fabricated steel and aluminium. EJ supplies products worldwide to infrastructure projects in six continents.

The facility was officially opened by Dr Norah Patten, a leading Irish engineer who is bidding to become Ireland’s first-ever astronaut. She is an award-winning STEM advocate and is a faculty member at the International Space University.

As well as the official opening, EJ also announced the launch of its new range of access covers, manufactured from lightweight composite materials.

Padraig Freeman, vice-president of EJ, said: “Investing in our Irish facility allows us to serve local and European market needs from Birr.

"It demonstrates not only our commitment to Ireland but to our wider European customers. We are now exporting high performance composite access solutions to several European markets. IDA’s support enabled us strengthen our offering and diversify our production facility.”

Dr Vincent Cooper, composite product manager at EJ, said: “It is fitting to have Dr Norah Patten here today to speak about the use of advanced composites in the Space industry and the importance of quality research and product development.

Composites used extensively in space applications

"Composites are used extensively in space applications where high-strength, lightweight materials offer huge savings in fuel. In the construction industry, the benefits of lighter weight access covers include easier handling, reduced transportation costs and a better carbon footprint.”

Breda O’Toole, head of product development and transformation IDA Ireland, said: “It is great to see a leader in manufacturing sustain their investment in the midlands region.

"EJ in Birr is testament to what a strong team of talented people can achieve in a regional location. On behalf of IDA Ireland, I would like to congratulate the EJ team on successfully developing their manufacturing facility in Birr and wish them continued success.”