Metallurgy Research Centre

Technology Transfer Projects


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.


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.

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.


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.


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 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.


Ramón Suarez
Metallurgy Processes R&D Director

Susana Méndez
Metallurgy Processes R&D Coordinator

Aitor Loizaga
Industry and Foundry Projects

Fernando Santos
Institutional Projects

Jon Garay
Steel research area

Enara Mardaras
Corrosion research area

Asier Bakedano
Aluminium research area

Lucía Unamunzaga
Evironment research area

Garikoitz Artola
Forming research area

Argoitz Zabala
Artificial Intelligence research area

Jose Manuel Gutiérrez
Calculus Center