The NGCF is backed by a team of operators and software, electronic and mechanic engineers who all work to keep the NGCF centrifuges spinning.
The NGCF is led by Conleth O'Loughlin who has been involved with geotechnical centrifuges for almost 20 years. His first post-PhD position was at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) in UWA, where he learnt the ropes of centrifuge modelling before returning to his home country to establish Ireland’s first and only geotechnical centrifuge. However, the lure of UWA and Perth enticed him back to COFS in 2012, where he took up his current position as an associate professor and took over the role of centrifuge manager from Christophe Gaudin.
In 2017, Conleth took over the directorship of the NGCF from Christophe and now uses his considerable experience to lead the NGCF into the future in addition to pursuing his main academic interests in offshore anchoring, soft soil characterisation and foundation systems for offshore renewable energy devices.
John Breen is the Lab Manager and Chief Electronics Engineer who joined COFS in 1998 and has managed the instrumentation/electronics laboratory for most of this time. From the early days in Ireland, John has been involved in the design and testing of electrical/electronic and mechanical industrial equipment in many different industries. In addition to his supervisory role, John has specialised in electronic hardware design, such as the design of the DigiDAQ Data Acquisition system – a purpose-built DAQ system for centrifuges.
His broad knowledge of power electronics through to instrumentation electronics makes John well suited to managing electronics projects from conception to successful completion. In 2017, John stepped up and took on the important task of managing the day-to-day running of the centrifuges, in addition to being in charge of the technical workshop.
Manuel Palacios joined COFS’ geomechanics laboratories in late 2010 and naturally gravitated towards the geotechnical centrifuges. He quickly built a relationship with the electronics staff and the existing centrifuge technicians, which resulted in Manuel being appointed chief centrifuge technician in 2012. Manuel has a passion for new technologies and has been key in introducing tablet computing, 3D printing and HD action cameras (GoPros) into everyday centrifuge operations.