Metallurgy Research Centre

R&D projects

HIPERTURB Project (2017-2020)

The HIPERTURB project: "Development of investment casting process of nickel superalloys with enhanced weldability" is a H2020-JTI-CleanSky2 project. The Inconel 718 Superalloy is a nickel-based alloy that combines a series of excellent properties of high mechanical strength, fatigue, creep and good resistance to corrosion, allowing it to be used for a wide variety of applications. Its good weldability is also worth to be emphasized. Nowadays it is widely used in the aeronautical sector, especially, in turbine components, however, its use is limited to 650ºC. Above this temperature microstructural instabilities that cause a very significant descent of its properties are produced. The project is aimed at searching an improved alloy in terms of weldability and that can be used at temperatures above 650ºC. To achieve that, the strategies put in practice by project consortium will be aimed at modifying the chemical composition of the alloy, improving the smelting process (forms of cooling, mould...), new thermal treatments, etc.

RIB-ON PROJECT (2018-2019)

The overall aim of the RIB-ON “Innovative Stamping Die for Aluminium Ribs Hot Stamping” project is to develop and manufacture an innovative stamping die based on a modular/reconfigurable and low-cost approach to successfully produce different outer external wing rib models using new high performance aluminium alloys and tailored die steel and coating solutions. The die will serve to manufacture different shape/length aluminium ribs of FTB2 demonstrator ready to fly.

More information about Rib-On >>

LIFE ECO-SANDFILL project (2016-2019)

This European project financed through the LIFE 15program is formed by a consortium of Basque companies (Fundiciones del Estanda S.A., Ondarlan S.L.), two technology centres (Gaiker-Ik4 and Ik4-Azterlan) and the company Acciona Infraestructura.
The project is aimed at the valorisation of smelting sands in different construction applications, as well as in the smelting process in substitution to the virgin sand, with the final objective of advancing towards the zero dumping of the bulkiest residue of the Casting. /p>

RESLAG Project (2015-2019)

RESLAG "Turning waste from steel industry into a valuable low cost feedestock for energy" is a European project, financed by the H2020- WASTE (2014) program and formed by a consortium of 19 participants from seven European countries and Morocco. The main objective of RESLAG is to valorise and reuse the black slags of steelworks in 4 innovative applications: 1) Extraction of high value non-ferrous metals, 2) thermal energy storage material for heat recovery applications in Industrial sectors, 3) thermal energy storage material for solar energy concentration plants and 4) feedstock for the manufacture of refractory materials. The demonstration of each one of the applications is carried out through the design and construction of demonstrators at pilot level.


The PYRKAST project is part of the casting technology and more specifically in the development of new products to respond to the demands of high-speed rail braking systems: greater braking capacity, greater safety and reliability, greater Service life and lower inspection and maintenance costs.
The overall objective of the project is a new concept of premium quality brake disc, whose main attribute is the zero flaws concept and it has to serve to improve the positioning of PYRSA, a leading company, on a global scale. For the materialization of these premium brake discs has created a multidisciplinary consortium capable of responding to the challenges that arise in all key aspects required by the project: Steel metallurgy, simulation, smelting technology, Moulding, auxiliary materials, machining and advanced testing techniques.


The FLANGEROUTE project led by FORJAS DE IRAETA HEAVY INDUSTRY, S.L., is located within the scope of components’ manufacture, particularly, flanges for the wind sector mainly.
Due to the trend of cost reduction that is settling in this sector and the emergence and growth of competitors coming from Asian markets the research and development of new manufacturing and validation technologies is posed. These technologies must allow to integrate the knowledge and needs of the wind sector when it comes to the tower flanges, by means of the study and characterization of new materials, their selection process and new welding technologies in the sector.
The FLANGEROUTE project is the most outstanding one lead by FORJAS IRAETA in recent years, given its dimension, the scope and the novelty of its objectives, the technological leap that it implies at European and international level and its considerable budget. This project is the only one managed by the company that has been approved and is co-financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the call RETOS-COLABORACIÓN 2015 (challenges-collaboration) 2015 (RTC-2015-3720-3). That has been a very important milestone for the company.

SUSPIRE Project (2015-2018)

This is a European H2020-SPIRE project "sustainable Production of industrial recovered energy using energy dissipative and storage Technologies" which aims to provide an integral solution to the recovery of residual heat in a lost wax industrial plant which produces components for the aeronautical sector. To achieve this, solutions based on heat exchangers that incorporate phase change materials (PCMs) and heat exchange liquids that are resistant to high temperatures (HTFs) will be developed. The recovered energy is going to be used at three levels: 1) existing needs in the plant, 2) by third parties (more specifically a sports centre) and 3) it will accumulate in the ground for later use according to the climatic conditions. This system of heat recovery will also be integrated in the productive system of the company through a new management system based on predictive control models that ensure the highest productivity and, in turn, the greatest possible energy recovery.

OCEANIC Project (2015-2018)

This is a OCEANERANET-2014 project, emerged to respond to the concurrence of three factors in the performance and service life of the WECs (Wave Energy Converters): corrosion, fouling and proximity to the coast.
The phenomena of corrosion and fouling combined cause an accelerated deterioration of the skin pieces of any submerged machine and constitute, therefore, a serious problem that affects the durability of any subsea installation. Traditional anti-fouling solutions lay their effectiveness in the use of high toxicity elements, such as copper, while anticorrosion solutions are articulated around the use of the "connect to protect" principle, based on cathodic protection mechanisms. However, these two strategies are not applicable in cases where one of the following factors is involved:
- High strength steels. The application of printed currents causes unacceptable fragilization phenomena.
- Moving components. Drag phenomena reduce ion transport significantly by limiting corrosion protection.
- Coastal waters. Both for environmental responsibility and for the regulations in force, the use of copper near the coast must be eliminated.
To respond to this situation for which there is currently no environmentally responsible and economically competitive solution, the Oceanic consortium proposes to develop a solution that integrates anti-corrosion and antifouling coatings in a same component. Therefore products with low-emission anti-corrosion-antifouling coatings will be developed.


With the aim of improving the competitiveness of the industry through energy efficiency, IK4-AZTERLAN participates in the collaborative project BEROA-GO focused on the development of coatings for capturing radiant energy from parts and equipment working in high temperatures. The purpose of this project to recover and retake the heat radiation emitted by these elements.
After having made a first approximation to propose possible solutions and analyze the technical feasibility of the same, the project is in its second phase: the design of the heat collector, the development of coatings and substrates and, at the same time, the estimation of the impact of this collector on the industry. For the year 2018 is planned the development of a first prototype of the system.
The BEROA-GO project, financed in the ELKARTEK program of the Basque Government (support for collaborative research in strategic areas), is coordinated by Tecnalia and has the participation of a leading team of researchers from the technological centers Ik4-Azterlan, Ik4-Cidetec, Ik4-Ikerlan, Ik4-Tekniker, CIC Energigune and the UPV/EHU.

HARDALU Project (2015-2017)

The HARDALU project "Fluidised Bed Heat Treatment Furnace for HPDC engine blocks and other transport components offering new opportunities for lightweight, cost competitiveness and energy saving" is a H2020-SME Instrument project, led by Hormesa and with a high contribution by IK4-Azterlan. These are main objectives of the HARDALU project:
- To enable the application of T6/T7 thermal treatments to conventional HPDC parts, particularly to block motor blocks - To drastically reduce the time of conventional treatments T6/T7
- To settle optimal treatments in fluidized bed for main automotive components
- To exploit the high heat transfer associated to fluidized bed
Improvements in mechanical properties can allow new applications and re-design of parts to use less metal and to continue achieving the mechanical requirements.

ALPRE PROJECT (2015-2017)

The ALPRE Project: "Development of high-performance aluminum alloys for the design and manufacture of lightweight automotive components through low pressure technology" is financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness within the Call for challenges-collaboration.
IK4-AZTERLAN leads within the ALPRE project the development of a metallurgical control predictive system based on thermal analysis: Thermolan-Al for the prediction of the structure in real part concretely: Hub Manufactured by FAGOR EDERLAN and tires manufactured by MAPSA. The EDERTEK Center and the University of Mondragón also participate in the project. The objectives of the project are:
- Weight reduction of components such as tires and Hub.
- Increased mechanical properties of vehicle chassis safety components.
- Developing predictive tools that improve productive efficiency
- Reducing manufacturing costs
The achievement of these objectives will position the participating companies in the disposition to offer to the final customers products with greater mechanical characteristics than the current ones, allowing a lightened redesign of the pieces.

ACTIMAT PROJECT  (2015-2017)

The ACTIMAT project is a Elkartek project: "New materials for the strategy of intelligent specialization in advanced manufacturing", which brings together a total of 15 technological centers and Basque universities with the common objective of developing knowledge in the Scope of the new materials.
Following the strategy defined in materials, this project focuses on the concrete development of materials essential mainly for the transport sector, although they also have repercussion in other sectors:
- Reinforced composite and metallic materials, light and economical for the development of more resistant and light structures.
- Active materials for the development of sensors and actuators, focused on the development of damping systems.
- Modification of the materials present in dissimilar joints, metal/metal, metal/ceramics and metal//polymer, to guarantee a direct union in the molding process and even to reduce intermediate steps in the current processes of union.
- New materials (metals and polymers), processable through the new technologies of additive manufacturing (FA), that allow to develop new tools and more agile molding tool that allow the development of shorter series for automotive and reduce Costs.
- New Materials Nanoporous Functionalized For safety and maintenance.


"The Factory of the Future" is an innovative and deeply transformative project, whose objective is to raise the technological and competitive level of the companies, improving their good international positioning and generating new jobs qualified in the future Nearest. This pilot project aims to extend in the coming years to other companies in the sector of metallurgical transformation in Bizkaia.
From the technical point of view, the project addresses three fundamental challenges: 1) Integration of 4.0 technologies for the development of more stable industrial processes, aimed at manufacturing "zero defects". (2) Production of smart Casting that makes it possible to eliminate or minimise operations that do not add value. (3) Development of simpler and linear processes "Lean Manufacturing". Economically more profitable processes.


Frontiers II is a collaborative project with a high content of basic research oriented, which seeks to deepen and advance the development of strategic research in the field of surface treatments through the integration of Scientific-technological capacities of the different R & D agents of the Basque, in order to generate knowledge and create a critical mass of activity in this field of knowledge. Likewise, the project aims to use this knowledge to develop, in the medium term, multifunctional surfaces that allow to propose innovative solutions to the most important scientific-technological challenges visualized for the next years in the Area of surface treatments in the Basque, in order to promote competitiveness and innovation in Euskadi and, therefore, to promote its economy, thus contributing to the welfare of its society.

ACCOMIN Project (2014-2016)

The Accomin project: "Development of actuator components made by alternative metal injection molding (MIM) process" is a FP7-JTI-CleanSky project. The objective of the project has been to demonstrate that some components of small size and complex geometry that are part of the actuators of aircraft’s flight control system can be manufactured using MIM Manufacturing technology (Metal Injection moulding).
The MIM allows to manufacture complex parts in a reduced time compared with the machining, which is the traditional method of manufacture of these components, and it is a technology of manufacture used in sectors like the automotive, medical and military, but however not It is integrated in the aeronautical industry.
The project, currently successfully completed, has identified and manufactured through the MIM manufacturing process 4 actuators components which have been validated technically and economically.


This project is proposed as a multisectoral approach to promote the introduction of additive manufacturing in different industrial sectors by analyzing this alternative to develop new products that are much more competitive than current ones. It is about developing capabilities to manufacture components through these technologies and generate common shared knowledge, through new products that represent a substantial competitive improvement for the consortium companies, and other entities in their value chain. All this will be possible thanks to the development of the raw materials (specific alloys for each application). Considering the current trends and the reality of the different sectors, the project will focus in automotive, aeronautic and medical sectors. These are, precisely, the market niches where additive manufacturing is being applied, also, the markets where maximum industrial impact is envisaged.
In the specific case of this project, the user-companies of the consortium represent entities that historically have been cutting-edge when it comes to R & D and remain so. They also have a great market knowledge as well as knowledge on European trends and represent the reality of Basque industry sectors: CIE, Amaya, Telleria, ALFA, Aciturri, Createch, Metallied and Sisteplant. In addition, we have the collaboration of AFM due to the great sectoral interest that the project brings when it comes to advanced manufacturing.

INNGAS PROJECT (2014-2016)

Growing ecological awareness is generating more stringent environmental policies. The automotive sector, which causes 15% of CO2 emissions, must face regulations (Euro 5, EURO6) which aims to impose on manufacturers a limit of 100 g CO2/km. The rear axles that support the gas tanks of this segment are built in irons and steels, so the study of a hybrid from aluminum and carbon fiber could make it easier for the manufacturer to achieve the goal in weight for the vehicle.
The INNGAS project seeks to develop an integrated solution in the chassis of a vehicle with the potential to be the base of a C and D segment, which provides: 1) state-of-the-art pressure gas tanks 2) Handling According to the segment, with no decrease in performance due to the gas tanks 3) Safety 4) cost.


Project financed through the Programa Retos Colaboración 2014 (Collaborative Challenges Program 2014) is formed by a consortium of two industrial companies (Carmusa and Montorretas S.A.) and IK4-Azterlan. The project consists of developing lead-free pellets that are harmless to the environment and the poultry as well as capable of securing the ballistic properties of conventional ammunition and, in turn, compatible with current weapons.


The development of the AD HOC Anchorage Project (INNPACTO 2012) opened some very interesting working lines for IK4-Azterlan, which align with its strategy of specialization in the study of the advanced mechanical response of high strength alloys for heavy industry components.
"Advanced mechanical response" means the field that exceeds the static linear models used in engineering and delves into the heterogeneous behavior of large-thickness welds, the mechanics of the fracture, the progression of damage caused in materials by dynamic loads and the influence of environmental factors in the modification of the properties of the materials.
The specific research routes for AD HOC Anchorage project are:
- The influence of the thickness, the geometry of the cord, the base metal and the contribution metal in joints welded by heavy boiler arc.
- The level of sensitivity of structural steels with an elastic limit higher than 800 Mpa (base metal and welded by flash) to the presence of cracks, both at room temperature and at low temperatures. This study has been developed based on the principles of the mechanics of elastoplastic fracture, taking as a reference the CTOD parameter.
- The response to mechanical fatigue of high strength steels (base metal and welded by flash), based on studies of uniaxial fatigue.
- The influence of water immersion and the application of a cathode-ray potential in the failure mechanism of high strength steels (base metal and welded by flash) for submerged applications.

SENTRY Project (2014-2015)

The SENTRY project: "Sustainable Dismantling and Recycling of Metallic Airstructures" is a European FP7-JTI-CleanSky project. The objective of the project was to carry out a differentiated recycling of the alloys with which the panels integrated in the fuselage of the aircraft are manufactured, to ensure that the materials used are not diverted to products of lower added value and can be re-incorporated into the original application. Nowadays, although the panels are composed of different materials, the recycling process is done jointly. This means that the reuse of the raw materials is not completely efficient.
The initiative has the participation of three technology centres integrated into the IK4Alliance AZTERLAN, GAIKER, and LORTEK. IK4-Azterlan brings its expertise in the field of aluminum metallurgy applied to recycling. World-leading companies such as Dassault Aviation (French aeronautic company) and IAI (Israel), the Constellium (French aluminum metallurgical company) and Elsa (Dutch), specialist in aircraft recycling at their end of their service life, have an important role in the project.


The project Hotprocess It is focused on the development of hot stamping technology and, more specifically, in its application to automotive components.
The main innovations posed by the project Hotprocess They focus on the development of products in which the incidents of metallurgical nature, including limitations on the behaviour of corrosion, are minimised. To considerations in terms of product, it is necessary to add those that relate With technological development, as factors in terms of productivity are decisive in the very development of this manufacturing technology. The main innovations that are associated with the development of the project are summarized as follows:
- Optimisation of the thermal map of the silhouettes in the warm-up stage.
- Elimination of the incidents presented in the coatings Alsi of Steels Usibor.
- Development of a system of monitoring of the atmospheres of protection and its relationship with the quality of the manufactured product.
- Experiment with new coatings, so that the corrosion resistance is clearly optimized.
-Develop a manufacturing methodology capable of producing parts for the automotive sector with low hardness zones.
- Identify and reduce at least two of the operations that do not add value to the hot-stamped parts.


The project INNOBRAKE - Improvement of the response of the brake discs to the mechanization has been financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) under the INNPACTO program. The main objective of this project is the development of manufacturing processes of casting components that minimise the problems associated with the generation of residual stresses.

ECOFAB PROJECT (2012-2014)

The ECOFAB project - New Eco-Efficient processes for Basque strategic industrial sectors is an industrial cooperation project in which outstanding companies from the main industrial sectors of the Basque Country (smelting, forging and machining) are involved. It is financed by the Basque Government under the ETORGAI Program and it aims to control the eco-efficiency and environmental impact of the main industrial processes.


The INNOSAND project - Development of an Innovative Sand Molding System, financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) under the INNPACTO program, is a research project applied to the development and implementation of an innovative system of horizontal molding for the manufacture of sand moulds with highly optimized properties and costs.

HIMAT PROJECT (2011-2013)

The HIMAT project- lightweight parts with Hybridization of Materials for zero emissions vehicle is a strategic project financed by the Basque Government (ETORGAI program). Its main target is to develop energy-efficient cars through the union of dissimilar materials that have a significant lower impact on the environment.


The project SOUNDCAST - Vacuum-assisted high pressure die castings with reduced porosity at low cost is a project in the frame of the programme Research for the Benefit of SMEs (FP7-SME-2012-1, N° 315506). In this project an optimum solution for the reduction of porosity in aluminum high pressure die castings will be developed by adaption of a vacuum system at a very competitive price. The development of an alloy of recycled aluminum presenting improved mechanical properties reduces significantly the cost of the raw material and extends the die life, while the castings present an excellent ductility and weldability.

IPRO (2009-2011)

The project IPRO - Intelligent Foundry Business Process is financed by the programme EUROSTARS. The objective of the project is to provide the foundry enterprises with an integral process control system, which allows after capturing all the variables involved in the manufacturing of a part to determine the optimum parameters of each area of the production process in order to avoid the appearance of defects.

ENEPRO (2009-2011)

The project ENEPRO - New control system of the energy consumptions in the foundry is a project financed by the European programme MANUNET (ERA-NET), whose main objective is the development of a system for the optimization of the energy consumptions during the production process for the foundry sector.


The COOLMOLD project - New manufacturing concept of high-sized parts is a project framed within the High-Performance Manufacturing research area of Etorgai 2013 call (Basque Government). Its budget is close to 4.4 million euros. The purpose of the project is to control the cooling of certain areas of high-thickness parts, of both cast iron and steel. The goals to achieve are: increase in productivity and improvement of mechanical properties by accelerating the cooling process of this type of parts.