Although just one year in existence, Armagh start-up Lir-Med is already preparing to ramp up production for overseas markets.
The company manufactures guidewires from a purpose-built facility in Craigavon for use in medical procedures, including catheter and stint insertions.
By the end of the year, business director Geoff Baird expects the company to have increased staff numbers from three to 10, targeting sales in Europe, India, Turkey, China and Brazil.
“We’ll initially be selling to companies who manufacture medical device kits. We won’t be selling directly to the end user of our products,” said Baird.
The idea for Lir-Med arose out of a chance meeting between Baird – who already runs a distribution business for German industrial equipment – and Diarmuid McAlinden, a mechanical engineer specialising in guidewire production.
“Diarmuid came looking for me to source a piece of specialist engineering equipment to build a machine. We got talking and we discussed how we could possibly get together to create a new business. That was two years ago and we set up the company in July 2008,” said Baird.
Utilising McAlinden’s engineering experience and Baird’s business skills, Lir-Med is projecting a turnover of stg£1 million in its first financial year and between stg£5 million and stg£7 million within three years.
“The first year has been about kitting out the factory. We’ll be ready to ship product by the end of the summer. The initial push this year will be to get the company manufacturing and selling,” said Baird.
Baird is confident Lir-Med’s product offering will stand out in the highly competitive medical device market.
“What will set us apart is quality. The guidewire industry is a strong and established market — the product quality is high but not necessarily high in all areas,” he said.
“We believe that the equipment Diarmuid has designed over 20 years is capable of producing the best products on the market.
“We also believe that our competitors suffer from a high percentage of production wastage. Our percentage of production wastage is under 5 per cent and we’re looking to get it down to 3 per cent.”
Already, Lir-Med has the support of trade body Invest NI, which has provided financial backing and help with market research.
In November, Lir-Med accompanied Invest NI to the Medica trade show in Dusseldorf, where it secured significant production orders.
“A lot of companies committed to buying products from us at that exhibition. We’re sitting on an order book that will fill the first year of production,” said Baird.