It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of James (Jim) Byrne, founder and former Chairman/Director of VA Technology, following a battle with cancer. Those who were fortunate enough to know and work with Jim have lost a mentor and friend.
After beginning his career with Chrysler, in 1975, Jim joined Black & Decker, where he began working with automation and his interest in robotics was sparked.
On returning to England he joined Unimation Eur Ltd, heading up engineering development and manufacture of the Unimate robots. This company was eventually acquired, and Jim became Managing Director of Prab Robots International. A few years later he took ownership and Versatile Automation Technology Ltd, or VA Technology as we now know it, was formed in 1995.
Jim built VA Technology on the cornerstone of transforming investment casting from an art-form to a controllable, technology-based process. Today, the expectation of repeatable, high quality shell production has been changed from occasional to normal, and there is no doubt that Jim’s vision and drive has played a key role in this revolution.
He played an active part in the ICI and EICF, contributing his considerable expertise at numerous conferences and seminars throughout the global investment casting industry, and was proud to be inducted into the ICI’s Hall of Honour in 2016.
Jim was passionate about the future of engineering, attracting the new generation to join this industry and stimulating interest in all things innovation. He saw value in developing and adopting the most advanced technologies available both for the benefit of the business, but also to benefit society as a whole.
He had time for everyone and was always engaged and interested in the people he met. He brought those personal qualities (not to mention his vast experience in business) to the company. Jim’s wealth of knowledge leaves behind a huge legacy to the investment casting industry, and his spirit of innovation and “Can Do” approach will forever be the foundation of VA Technology.
He leaves behind a loving family and our thoughts and condolences go out to them.