Metallurgy Research Centre

  • 27 de noviembre de 2015

IK4-Azterlan works on the “Factory of the Future”, an important project that will develop the technologial and competitiviness level of the metallurgical sector.

The project "Factory of the Future" was officially presented on the 26th of November at the facilities of IK4-Azterlan Metallurgical Technical Center. The event was chaired by Mr. Imanol Pradales, Economic Development Deputy from the Biscay Council, along with Mr. Ramon Suarez, Director of Engineering, R&D and Metallurgical Processes from IK4-Azterlan.

The participation of the General Managers and technicians from the three foundries involved in this ambitious project (Betsaide S.A.L., Fuchosa S.L. and Fundiciones Garbi S.A.) was accompanied by representatives from the main local institutions, the most relevant local technical schools and various communication media.

Three major companies located in Bizkaia focused in the development and manufacturing of high added value cast components that export most of their production to very demanding applications from several industrial sectors, such as automotive, railway, ship building, wind energy, ……. all of them with extraordinary technical requirements.

The “Factory of the Future” is an innovative and transformative project aimed to raise the technological and competitiveness level of the companies, improving their international position and generating as well new skilled jobs in the near future. The intention of this pilot project is to be expanded further on to other companies from  the metal-mechanical sector of Biscay.

The budget for the period 2015-2016 amounts to a total of 3,960,000 ¤ , with the specific  economical support of 640,000 ¤ from the Department of Economic Promotion of the Council of Biscay.

The three involved companies as well as IK4-Azterlan Metallugical Technical Center have compromised important resources to the development of the project which include first level technical teams, investments in advanced data collection and processing systems, equipments for predictive and metallurgical controll tools, along with the interest of incorporating new skilled profiles oriented to the Industry 4.0.

From the technical point of view, the projects deals with the following challenges:

Integration of the 4.0 technologies for the development of more robust industrial processes, aimed to the “zero defect” production      The ultimate goal is to get that the companies develop industrial processes close to the ideal of "zero defects". This will allow large savings in production costs and internal audit controls, improving the technical level from competitors, which will attract more business and new customers. This is a very critical point in terms of competitiveness and productivity.

This requires to increase the knowledge level, to have better control tools and data analysis models and to develop smarter and more efficient management systems.
The new technologies play here a key role, which include TEIC (Electronics and Informatics) and a group of technologies that are now known as 4.0 Technologies (artificial intelligence, cyber-physical systems, collaborative robotics, computer vision, Big Data, additive manufacturing, etc.)

Production of Smart Casting that enable the elimination or minimization of not add value operations
Well controlled and stable casting processes are allowing to develop advanced design concepts that improve the performance of the factory, eliminating or minimizing deburring fettling and finishing operations that do not add value to the final products. These non added value operations are the result of inefficiencies in the process, associated to hard and very physical work that makes a less competitive process.

IK4 Azterlan is transfering to the foundries the knowledge and the capabilities to develop advanced tooling designs. The Eidocalc software, the “2-D riser” and the “self braking” technologies  are part of the knowledge transfer that is being developed along the project.