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Large machines and sustainability, keys for the future of machine tools

Large machines and sustainability, keys for the future of machine tools

IK4-IDEKO and IK4-TEKNIKER will be presenting some of their lines of expertise at the 19th Machine Tool Congress to be held between tomorrow and 14 June in Donostia-San Sebastian

The machine-tool sector is one of the most exporting, globalised and innovative in the Basque economy. The economic crisis and growing international competition have led to rapid specialisation in the sector, which is being fed by the innovative muscle of the R&D centres. So the R&D centres IK4-TEKNIKER and IK4-IDEKO, members of the IK4 Alliance, are important references in the quest for innovations and new developments for national machine-tool manufacturers. 

That is why in the context of the 19th Machine-Tool and Manufacturing Technology Congress to be held between tomorrow and 14 June at the Technology Park of Donostia-San Sebastian, the two centres will each be presenting a series of sessions in which they will be offering the latest updates in some of their lines of expertise.

On the first day of the congress, which is being organised by the Spanish Association of Machine-Tool Manufacturers (AFM), IK4-TEKNIKER will be presenting the specialised series of sessions entitled "Large machines, design and precision". In the course of the morning members of the IK4-TEKNIKER team will be explaining the R&D centre's latest developments in precision positioning, the dynamic analysis of large machines and multi-head laser cutting machines.

And then the following day IK4-IDEKO will be presenting the series of sessions entitled "Sustainability. Sustainable Equipment and Processes". Experts from the R&D centre will be explaining their latest developments in the fields of efficient structural components, sustainable alternatives to magnetic particle inspections, or sustainable cooling.

Large machines, a means for competing

One of the most noteworthy trends in the machine-tool sector is the manufacture of increasingly larger machines, a means for competing with emerging markets and asserting the innovative capacity of local industry.

 The manufacture of large parts has challenged machine-tool manufacturers to come up with designs on a new scale while maintaining the precision of these machines on the same level as that of smaller machines. That is why at the Congress IK4-TEKNIKER will be presenting some of the developments it has made available to the manufacturers who have opted for this specialisation.

The R&D centre will be presenting solutions based on a laser multilateration scheme, a system that is not only more economic, but also cuts measuring time and the thermal interferences with the machines. In addition, IK4-TEKNIKER experts will be presenting a virtual machine that allows the dynamic behaviour of the machine as a whole to be analysed and the same trials that are carried out during the fine-tuning phase to be conducted.

The centre will also be presenting a laser cutting machine with large multi-head gantry-type architecture which it has developed in collaboration with Lazpiur.

Ecology for new patents

IK4-IDEKO has committed itself in a big way to sustainability as one of the lines guiding its research for the machine-tool sector; it brings together some of the capabilities developed over the years. Some of these innovations include the development of machining processes of maximum ecological efficiency (optimized cooling, minimum coolant grinding) which in some cases have resulted in new patents.

These innovations will be given prominence in the six talks in the series of sessions organised by the R&D centre at the congress. The IK4-IDEKO team of researchers will be offering talks on fields like increasing productivity and efficiency in grinding operations by means of the application of optimum cooling conditions, the use of efficient nozzles, or the rules governing environmental communication for milling machines.

IK4-IDEKO's commitment to sustainability is endorsed by the fact that it captured the overall prize for "Manufacturer of the Year" in the prestigious Technological Awards, as well as the "Green Manufacturing" category; it was also granted the seal of Blue Competence, a European initiative of the machinery sector aligned with sustainability.