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IDEKO’s turnover was €9.8 million in 2021, driven by its model of technology transfer to companies

IDEKO’s turnover was €9.8 million in 2021, driven by its model of technology transfer to companies
  • The research centre approved its 2021 accounts at the General Meeting, held last Friday, 6 May. 
  • 48% of the income recorded last year came from contracts with the private sector, while the remaining 52% originated from its own research activities.
  • These figures strengthen the consolidation of the entity's customer portfolio and support its technology transfer to industry model.     

The IDEKO research centre, specialist in advanced manufacturing technologies, is maintaining its business growth and strengthening its technology transfer to industry model with a nearly €10 million turnover last year; 48% of which came from contracts with companies.

Specifically, the centre, a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), had an income of €4.7 million from R&D projects with companies in 2021, principally from the machine tool, aeronautics, steel, oil and gas, and energy sectors. While the remaining €5.1 million (52% of the total) stems from its own research activities.

As regards its own research projects, 29% of the overall income of the centre was from programs driven by the Basque Government, 15% from initiatives promoted by different European institutions and 8% had their origin in projects financed by the General State Administration and the Mondragon Corporation.

Moreover, the research centre carried out all this activity without losing sight of scientific production and while continuing its information dissemination activity, with 33 indexed publications in total, of which nine were Q1, a ranking that indicates the excellence of the publications, and it reached the figure of 40 active patents, 7 of which were granted during the financial year.

The results obtained by IDEKO over the past year were approved last Friday 6 May at the General Meeting of the research centre. The event, which was chaired by Xabier Alzaga, president of IDEKO, was again carried out in mixed format, in-person and remotely, by means of a streaming videoconference. The meeting was attended by worker members, representatives of user-member companies, as well as representatives of collaborator-member companies of the centre.

During the meeting, the IDEKO president valued the results recorded by the research centre in 2021, despite the situation of uncertainty experienced during the two years of the pandemic, and he wanted to especially thank the contribution “of all those people that form part of the centre”, for their resilience, their capability to adapt to the needs at the time, providing a relevant response and adding value to customers through innovative and differentiating technological solutions that are helping them recover from the crisis.

Nerea Aranguren, Managing Director of the research centre, for her part, stressed that 2021 had been “positive” both from the point of view of research and the technology transfer to company projects, and highlighted that the data obtained over the past financial year was “a new milestone in the consolidation of the technology transfer model built by IDEKO and the stability of its customer portfolio”.

Commitment to talent

Commitment to people and talent continues to be one of the principal pillars of the centre’s work. As regards human capital, the research centre ended 2021 with a workforce made up of 127 people of which 29% are doctors, a figure to which 8 more will be added in the near future, all of whom are currently completing their doctoral thesis at the centre. Thus, the number of workers at the entity slightly grew with respect to 2020.

In addition, IDEKO is continuing to reinforce its commitment to human capital and research training by adding two new doctors to its workforce. Two researchers presented their thesis and obtained the maximum grading after their reading. The first was aimed at the development of a New Technology Assessment and Selection Model in a Manufacturing Research Centre, while the second was focused on the analysis of the influence of feed drives on the structural dynamics of large machines.

In the innovation and new development section, IDEKO has continued research in the field of additive manufacturing for which it has equipped its laboratory with a new laser cladding head on a robot, in order to carry out validation tests and characterisation of wire and laser fusion additive manufacturing.

Specialisation and the circular economy, keys to the new plan

The 2021 results also demonstrate support to its commitment to technological specialisation in the industrial area undertaken by the entity. In this regard, within the framework of its new strategic plan, the research centre has defined the research challenges that it will have to address in the next four-year period.

Developed within the framework of IDEKO's new Strategic Plan, the entity's research plan seeks to generate solutions that raise the competitiveness of its customers, technologies that give rise to new business lines and products that allow new actors in the value chain to be approached. In this way, the IDEKO research centre has defined the strategic lines that will delimit its new research plan for the next four years with the aim of moving forward to manufacturing transformations and giving a response to the needs of industry.

Specifically, the entity specialising in Advanced Manufacturing has placed artificial intelligence applied to manufacturing, machines and precision processes, simulation and digital twins, active and intelligent components, processes for strategic parts and sectors, robotics and additive manufacturing as the seven research challenges to be addressed as a priority in the next four-year period. In a cross-cutting way, all these challenges will incorporate the perspective of environmental sustainability and the principles of the circular economy.

IDEKO - Asamblea General 2022

Strategic alliances and collaborations

During 2021, IDEKO has also continued its alliance and collaboration policy in order to sustain progress in all its fields of specialisation. The BRTA technology alliance continues to be the main strategic ally of IDEKO. However, over recent years the research centre has reached new strategic agreements and collaborations for its four research groups -Dynamics and Control, Manufacturing Processes, ICTs and Automation and Design and Precision Engineering-. The latest associate to be added is the Hagenberg Software Competence Center in Austria, in the area of ICTs and automation.

Furthermore, in this current year, IDEKO has managed to strengthen its positioning as a centre specialising in advanced manufacturing with its integration in the Spanish Federation of Research Centres, Fedit. As Aranguren affirmed “forming part of Fedit allows us to continue strengthening our position as a benchmark research centre at national level in the development of advanced manufacturing technologies, with a special focus on the areas of artificial intelligence applied to manufacturing and precision machines and processes”.

A cooperation agreement has also been established to boost artificial intelligence in industrial manufacturing. With the aim of accelerating digitalisation of production environments, the IDEKO research centre, the Aeronautics Advanced Manufacturing Centre (CFAA) of the University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, the IMH Campus, advanced training centre, and the Basque Centre of Applied Mathematics BCAM have joined forces and capabilities in order to create the AIMS Classroom (Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing for Sustainability), a collaborative environment that seeks to promote the application of artificial intelligence solutions in the industrial manufacturing sector located in the Bizkaia Technology Park. As part of this project, which will function as a branch of the Guipuzcoan research centre, IDEKO will provide specialised personnel with the aim of putting their knowledge in the field of advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence technologies at the service of this new space.

In parallel to these strategic alliances, the research centre is also continuing to sign agreements with companies in order to pursue synergies between the needs of industry and the research aims of IDEKO, as well as to encourage specialisation and technological transfer, commitment to innovation, industrial competitiveness and vocational training. Within these agreements, talent and human capital carry special weight, areas in which beneficiary companies have preferential information on research personnel trained in the research Centre, so they can have priority in their recruitment.

Excellence in precision engineering

As regards milestones, next month IDEKO will again participate for another year in the International Machine Tool Biennial 31BIEMH, from 13 to 17 June at the BEC, Barakaldo, Bizkaia. The centre will have space in Hall 1, stand C14-B15, where it will exhibit its commitment to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in manufacturing. Another development on display will be able a robot cell with a multi-camera vision system that increases the precision of automated processes. Moreover, it will also exhibit different composite part solutions, both glass fibre and carbon fibre, as well as innovative solutions for chatter suppression in processes, on the machine and workpiece. 

Furthermore, the research centre will play a leading role in the CIRP, the main Advanced Manufacturing forum that will take place for the 71st time this year from 21 to 27 August, also in the Barakaldo BEC.

The assembly, organised by  Ideko, Tekniker, Mondragon Unibertsitatea and the University of Zaragoza, is part of the commitment of the Elgoibar entity to reinforce alliances with the principal international actors in industrial manufacturing. The event will take place in a mixed in-person and remote format, and will allow more than 700 research personnel from 50 countries to meet.

This congress, held at a different site every year, are part of IDEKO's strategy to reinforce alliances and boost collaborations with other benchmark actors in the development of technology applied to industrial manufacturing, a field in which the Guipuzcoan entity has specialised for more than 30 years.

In the words of  Aranguren, “the organisation of the CIRP General Assembly allows us to continue strengthening our positioning in research and innovation applied to industrial manufacturing and offers us the opportunity to further our scientific knowledge and our specialisation in manufacturing. Furthermore, at this event, IDEKO will give 4 scientific presentations.