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The future of precision engineering is being debated in Bilbao

The future of precision engineering is being debated in Bilbao
  • The IK4-IDEKO Research centre will have a prominent presence at the EUSPEN Congress, which is being held from 3 to 7 June at the Euskalduna Palace in the Biscay capital

  • The Elgoibar centre, part of the organising committee, will read several technical papers

  • Ultimately, the conference seeks to inform about the latest trends in metrology, ultra-precision machining, additive processes, robotic solutions, automated systems and industry 4.0
The latest advances in nanotechnology, metrology, additive processes, robotics, automation and industry 4.0 are the main areas that are being addressed over these days in Bilbao, at the 19th International Congress of the European Society for Precision Engineering EUSPEN.

The conference starts on 3 June and goes on until 7 June at the Euskalduna Palace in the Biscay capital. The specialist Advanced Manufacturing technology centre IK4-IDEKO will be taking part and, in addition to forming part of the organising committee, will give several presentations in fields such as portable photogrammetry, the characterisation of hydrostatic bearings and machine-tool calibration methods.

Specifically, the head of the Precision Engineering Design research line at the Elgoibar centre and member of EUSPEN, Harkaitz Urreta, will be responsible for presiding over one of the technical sessions at the Congress.

Furthermore, the researcher Alberto Mendikute, a member of the same work group, will give a talk on a portable photogrammetry system that uses optical markers to carry out industrial metrology tasks.

The expert will present the research that he has carried out to increase the efficiency of the system, as well as a self-calibration method for the camera which makes it possible to adapt low-cost digital cameras to high-precision industrial metrology tasks.

For his part, the researcher, Ibai Berrotarán, will share his findings relative to the design and construction of an experimental test bed for analysing behaviour of lubricated bearings. The test bed is made up of a high precision shaft which is lapped and guided by ultra precision bearings. This solution allows fast changes in the form of the bearing cells from designs closest to hydrostatic or hydrodynamic lubrication. The experimental results have been used to validate a bearing lubrication model developed at IK4-IDEKO.

Finally, Gorka Aguirre will present his research in the optimisation of the design of calibration standards for machine tools, one of the challenges industry is currently facing.

Today’s market offers a wide variety of technical solutions such as interferometers, collimators, levels, calibration devices and laser trackers. These are very varied solutions that have benefits in some scenarios, but also disadvantages in others.

"For this reason it is essential to make an appropriate selection of the application bearing in mind that the complete volumetric calibration of a large 5-axis milling machine is different to integration in a medium-size 3-axis machine" said Aguirre, by way of illustration.

In his presentation, the expert will share the development of software that can simulate the entire calibration process (machine, device, model estimation, etc.) and apply optimisation strategies for finding the best measurement strategy for each application.


The pace of technological progress

The nineteenth EUSPEN International Congress will disseminate the new trends in precision engineering through various disciplines such as nanotechnology, ultra-precision machining, additive processes, mechatronic precision systems and control and precision cutting processes. Furthermore, other topics will be considered relating to robotics, automation, industry 4.0 for precision manufacturing, precision design in large-scale applications and precision engineering applications in biomedical sciences.

More than 300 participants are expected to present their research work within the framework of a Congress that will alternate technical sessions with courses and round tables.

On the last day of the event, there will also be visits to the facilities of the Aeronautics Advanced Manufacturing Centre (CFAA) and those of the IK4-TEKNIKER technology centre, as well as a combined tour that will include IDEKO, the machine tool manufacturer DANOBAT and the company EGILE. The aim of this triple visit is to give a comprehensive view that includes the research, the development of the machine and its operation at the end user's facilities.


The European Society for Precision Engineering (EUSPEN) is a network that joins and connects companies, researchers and other organisations throughout the world. It was established in the United Kingdom in 1999, and is an international platform whose aim is to promote collaboration between companies and research centres to promote various technological developments in the precision field.

Although EUSPEN is a European Association, the conference participants also come from various South American states and other countries such as Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Korea and Japan.


The Basque technology centre, IK4-IDEKO prizes its 30 year track record devoted to research, development and innovation of new technologies applied to manufacturing and industrial production.


It was founded to respond to the high technology component challenges of the machine tool companies of the Mondragón Corporation, today it has more than a 100 researchers and a portfolio of more than 50 customers a year.


Its R&D&I activity is geared towards offering innovative solutions that contribute to the competitiveness of businesses, and it is spread across 4 research groups: Dynamics and Control, Manufacturing Processes, ICTs and Design and Precision Engineering.