Designing custom plant equipment: TI principal design engineer explains how we meet customer needs


Padraig O’Neill, principal design engineer at Tyrone International, explains how he creates bespoke plant equipment designs to meet varied customer needs.

With a long history in the plant equipment sector, Tyrone International’s principal design engineer Padraig O’Neill is able to leverage deep experience to meet the needs of customers who process a wide range of materials on very different sites.

Padraig started in the industry aged 16, with a summer job at a plant manufacturer in Northern Ireland, where he was able to build on his interest in all things mechanical to get a toehold in industry.

“I was always interested in engineering: taking things apart, breaking them, fixing them again,”

Padraig said.

After leaving school Padraig took a full-time job building plant machinery before moving on to university. 

“I went to Queen’s University in Belfast to get a degree as an electrical engineer and from there I rejoined the industry and moved into management,”

Padraig said.

Bespoke designs for customer needs

Moving to Tyrone International was a natural move for Padraig, whose brother Barry O’Neill is the company’s managing director, as he was able to bring his significant industry experience to a venture seeking to challenge how plant equipment is delivered.

“You move about, I became an engineer, went into management and then became a director, and then when Barry and Fintan started up Tyrone International they asked me to come on board,”

Padraig said.

Today, Padraig spends his time working to understand the specific needs of Tyrone International customers in order to ensure that the plant equipment they get exactly meets their needs, from tonnage to materials being processed to the nature of their site. 

“The majority of my time is spent on the design. I do speak to the customers quite a lot, but the design is the most labour intensive part of the process. You do need to get the customers input, though; that’s very important,”

said Padraig.

Tyrone International’s plant designs are bespoke engineered to each individual customer’s needs because every customer faces different challenges.

From the drawing board to delivery

Moving from initial concept to final design takes from six to twelve weeks, depending on the complexity of the job.

“How you set a plant up varies a lot, depending on the customer. Their sites all differ and the material they might be processing will be different. We start with an initial design concept and from there go to a full detailed design process,”

said Padraig.

Padraig said that, from experience, he understands what challenges he is likely to face, whether that is physical constraints on the site, water volume and or others.

While there are individual factors that need to be considered, all of Tyrone International’s equipment is designed to work in a range of tough environments, including rural, suburban and urban sites.

“Recycled waste varies so much so it can be hard to gauge so you have to make machines that are adaptable and can cover a variety of materials coming in,”

said Padraig.

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