Metallurgy Research Centre

  • 4 de febrero de 2020

AZTERLAN takes part in the development of a new machining plant of AAPICO PORTUGAL

The Technology Centre, specialized in metallic materials and their transformation processes, also participated in the conception and setting-up of the SP21 nodular foundry plant of AAPICO PORTUGAL (former SAKTHI PORTUGAL), dedicated to the manufacturing of cast iron components for the automotive sector.

AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Centre collaborated in the design, development and launching process of the new machining plant of AAPICO PORTUGAL (former SAKTHI PORTUGAL), located in Trofa. The new production plant, named after AAPICO MACHINING, has an operational surface of 9.000m2 and currently runs 4 fully automated machining cells.

With a production capacity of 3M parts/year, the new facility is oriented to perform the machining operations of all the castings manufactured by AAPICO PORTUGAL. That way, the internationally well-known foundry company has successfully integrated machining operations into its manufacturing process. “Before that, machining was an outsourced process for SAKTHI (AAPICO), because it was not part of their capacities as they are focused in foundry. However, the growing quality and delivery requirements coming from the automotive sector have pushed the company into this direction”, assures Paco Vega, AZTERLAN expert for the implementation of machining cells.

During the last 3 years and with the strong collaboration of AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Centre, AAPICO has been able “not only to build and launch a whole green-field machining line, but has also obtained the homologation of their clients that belong to the high-demanding automotive sector”. It has been an ambitious project because of the working efforts and strict deadlines, as well as for its high technological content.

The experience of the project run in Trofa is the second one with similar characteristics that the Basque Technology Centre has shared with the Portuguese company; AZTERLAN also took part in the conception and launching of the SP21 nodular iron foundry plant located in Agueda (Portugal). “That experience allowed us to reflect our view of the Foundry of the Future, the connected foundry of efficient processes oriented to the zero-defect production and the integration of advanced metallurgical control technologies developed by AZTERLAN (Thermolan® System) and production process technologies (Olimpo System)”.

The strategy followed in the development of the new machining plant has been to, progressively, implement the different machining cells, aligned with the settling of the new know how that the company was generating and acquiring. As a first step, pre-machining process was implemented. “The initial project envisaged reaching the final machining of components, without the specific operations requested by the customers. Anyway, thanks to the achievements obtained during the process, we took on a new challenge: to assume the full machining of parts, delivering the components ready for assembly. We have recently successfully completed this last challenge”.

The participation of AZTERLAN has covered all phases of the project, including the validation of the machining cycle or the selection and fine tuning of the equipment according the different material requirements. “Our expert knowledge on foundry materials and transformation technologies has made possible such a challenging multi-disciplinary project. It has been a great opportunity to develop new learnings for our Technology Centre as well”.


Machining cell at the AAPICO MACHINING facilities.