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IK4-IDEKO presents three leading edge products in advanced manufacturing at the BIEMH.

The technological centre will showcase solutions tailored to strategic sectors such as railways, manufacturing processes and machine tools.

30 years at the forefront of manufacturing

Since the foundation of IK4-IDEKO 30 years ago, the Basque technological centre has performed research in new state-of-the-art techniques and advanced technologies for application in industrial manufacturing and production.

With a workforce of more than 100 researchers, IK4-IDEKO has become an international reference in the field of advanced manufacturing, the new scenario for industrial manufacturing. This reputation is sustained by transferring technology to manufacturing environments with the aim of boosting competitiveness of a key sector in western economies.

The evolution of information and communication technology and its widespread application in industrial processes, finished products and production centres have determined the leap ahead of Advanced Manufacturing, considered as a priority axis for the development of the manufacturing sector by the European Union.

IK4-IDEKO focuses its research to satisfy the challenges of the machine tool sector and works on the design of new processes and materials to ensure reliability of manufacturing systems.

With continued commitment to machine tools, the Elgoibar Centre will be prominently present at the 29th edition of the BIEMH (Spanish Machine Tool Biennial), an event at which it will exhibit three technologically advanced developments for application in strategic sectors such as railways and industrial turning.

At this event, held from 30 May to 4 June at the Bilbao Exhibition Center, IDEKO-IK4 will share the exhibition space with the Basque technological centres IK4-TEKNIKER and IK4-IKERLAN.

1.-Committed to productivity: the DAS system enhances machine performance

Intently focussed on making headway in finding solutions to increase productivity in manufacturing processes, IK4-IDEKO, together with the company SORALUCE, has developed an active damping system for machine tools that suppresses chatter during the machining process and improves the cutting capacity of the equipment by as much as 300%.

The DAS device (Dynamics Active Stabilizer) is fitted on SORALUCE milling machines and yields a better manufactured end part.

This technology, for which a patent has been filed, is the result of collaboration between the Elgoibar Technological Centre and Bergara company, who have joined forces to apply their profound knowledge to study the behaviour of machine dynamics. The resulting device is a considerable step forward considering the current state of affairs of technology available on the market.

The solution can be seen in operation at the stand of SORALUCE at the BIEMH. It actively increases dynamic rigidity of the machine; as well as that, the cutting capacity is increased while the risk of chatter is greatly reduced during the machining process.

The system also improves the quality of the machined surface finish, and reduces the risk of tool breakage and, as a result, increases the life span.

This solution has been put to the test in machining on a variety of workpieces, such as on heads of presses, motor parts and moulds. On all processes, a reduction of up to 45% in machining times was achieved.

But that's not all. More advantages of the DAS system on machine tools are improved surface quality of the workpiece, longer equipment life span and 100% cutting capacity on the entire workpiece.

An award-winning development

Among all recognition received, the DAS device system was given the "Quality Innovation of the Year 2015" award in the category large companies. This prize is given on a yearly basis by the Finnish Association of Quality.

The award was given to the developers of this technological tour de force in a ceremony held on 27 January in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

During the ceremony, the jury stressed the major breakthrough the DAS system has meant in machine tool technology and qualified the development as "an innovation that reduces the risk of chatter during the machining process to a degree unthinkable until now, thus multiplying the performance of the machine".

Freeform Manufacturing: a high-precision drive for industrial lathes

IK4-IDEKO researchers have developed a high-precision drive to manufacture freeform components on industrial lathes for the aerospace or automotive sectors among others.

The device, called Fast Tool Servo, is a quick drive for turning that allows synchronisation of rotation with the movement of the tool at high speed.

This device makes it possible to produce non-axisymmetric forms and freeform components on industrial lathes, on which up until now it was only possible to create an object with symmetry about an axis of rotation.

The development is driven by an electromagnetic actuator mounted on an aerostatic guide. The assembly is provided with a measuring system to measure the actual real tool path with an optical scale.

The IK4-IDEKO solution brings about significant cost savings in the manufacturing process of components since at present these parts can only be obtained on more complex, sophisticated and expensive equipment than lathes.

Another added drawback is that other drives similar to the Fast Tool Servo available on the market are limited to smaller travels. This device has a capacity to perform a travel of up to 20 mm at a greater speed.

The development will be one of the solutions showcased at the next edition of the Spanish Machine Tool trade fair by the technological centre specialised in the transfer of advanced technology to industrial manufacturing environments.

This type of aerostatic guiding along with the electromagnetic drive designed by IK4-IDEKO, and the use of optical scales guarantee high precision standards on the machine.

Gorka Aguirre, researcher at IK4-IDEKO says: "This is designed precision engineering. We aim to find the perfect balance between speed and force".

Intelligent maintenance to guarantee safety in railway travel: a measuring device for wheels that predicts wear

The railway sector seeks new technological solutions to improve competitiveness and ensure safe transport conditions.

In this context, the technology centre IDEKO-IK4, in collaboration with the machine tool manufacturer Danobat, has developed an advanced measuring system for train wheels with which a precise maintenance programme can be established, and that predicts wear and optimises machining tasks.

The development, already in operation at the facilities in Gernika of the railway operator Euskotren, uses laser triangulation techniques and algorithmic functions to collect and process the necessary data to reconstruct the wheel profiles.

This advanced system is equipped with high-speed cameras and is capable of processing 800 photos per second. The information obtained from the images is subsequently channelled, processed and reconstructed in 3D.

"The system allows the track operator to observe the complete wheel profile, as well as all typical distances. This technology helps show the evolution of different parameters such as flange thickness and height, the wear coefficient and diameter", explains the researcher of IK4-IDEKO Pablo Puerto.

In addition, inspection on all wheels of the train can be performed with the device, thus providing information on the actual overall wear of the material. Subsequently maintenance operators can apply a common machining profile for all parts without incurring unnecessary costs.

The expert adds that one of the main advantages of this solution is its ease in set up. The system can be installed in a single day: it is simply mounted on the rail track as it does not require a concrete foundation or the use of cranes as required by other solutions available on the market.

The system can be calibrated in less than 30 minutes with a portable master gauge simulating a part of the wheel which is lightweight and thus easy to transport..

A robust development

This solution for railway inspection is robust, protected and isolated from the outside by air conditioning systems that keep the temperature constant in the units which are fitted with optical elements.

Also, the laser devices are protected by carbon fibre preventing thermal expansion.

The structure is designed to withstand adverse conditions, dust and humidity.

Finally, Ik4-IDEKO will present an example of its developments in the 4.0 field. On the BIEMH, a machine located in the facilities of the centre in Elgoibar will be monitored in real time. Data on machine status and the manufacturing process are available at all times. This is a system developed together by SAVVY and DANOBAT GROUP which allows to have information available on the status of the machine via a tablet or mobile phone, and if necessary, to optimise the process or anticipate possible failures.