The knowledge connection for business

Client: NWRC and Micon Distribution Collaborate
Knowledge Provider: North West Regional College
Sector: Advanced Engineering

NWRC and Micon Distribution Collaborate

Driving innovation at North West Regional College. NWRC has been at the heart of life in the North West for more than 100 years

About the Company

Micon Distribution Limited is a leading UK and Ireland Distribution to the fireplace and stove industry. The company provide a platform though which over 30 leading manufactures distribute the products. With an experienced warehouse team there is a smooth efficient flow of goods both in and our all times.

About the Knowledge Provider

Working under the banner that ‘Assisting your business is our business’ the NWRC’s Business Support Centre (BSC) continues to make great strides in supporting the business development requirements of companies across the region. This reflects the Centre’s focus on innovative, intelligent engagement with industry that is relevant both to learners and to the economic needs of businesses. The Centre delivers a range of support services, including bespoke training and skills development, innovation and applied research & development.

 To deliver its support, the BSC is able to draw on a range of support programmes, including Connected, Innovation Vouchers, InnovateUs, Skills Focus and KTPs, but according to Fergal Tuffy, Technology Innovation Manager in the BSC, it is the outputs from support that matter to client businesses, not their source.

 “We meet with businesses; identify the sort of support they’re looking for and then develop and implement solutions. Usually the companies we work with don’t need to know the exact nature of the programme that we are drawing on to support them. All they need to know is that we are here to provide the support they need.”

About the Case

Engineering and Product Design is key area of expertise for NWRC. For Micon Distribution Ltd, Connected has helped to acquire over £70K of additional funding from Innovate UK and Invest NI to develop an innovative new project within the stove industry. The company is now participating in a two-year Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with a local graduate.

“Connected was vital in terms of funding myself and an engineering colleague to go to Micon Distribution, see what their needs were, and develop a funding application for that,” says Dr Tuffy. “What we’re looking to achieve through this Knowledge Transfer Partnership is accessible, quality research that will lead to the development of a world-leading stove that will enable Micon to expand their business and compete more effectively on a global scale.” 

Michael Farnan, managing director of Micon Distribution, says their aim is to become world leaders in the stove market, so it is an exciting time for the company. Their plan is ultimately to design and develop the most efficient stove in the world – with the longest burn time.

We want to establish a research and development department,” says Michael. “This is a ground-breaking project including 3D CAD design with simulation studies into airflow and electronic control elements for the new stove and is an excellent opportunity for our company and the graduate. We are grateful to the funders, such as Connected, DfE, Invest NI and InnovateUK, as without their help we would never have been able to turn our innovative ideas into a reality.”

 “Throughout this whole project we remain in close contact with Micon Distribution and through the support of Connected we can pick up on the next stage of this innovation road and navigate the next best route of collaboration.” Fergal Tuffy.


Knowledge Provider



Fergal Tuffy



028 71 276170