After completing the acquisition of RDI – Met, the firm is dealing with R+D+i plans in the areas of new materials and automation of processes.
Fagor Arrasate has consolidated seven years of work in order to diversify its offer towards the processing and cold-rolling lines for metalworking with the launching of new R+D+i projects and the strengthening of a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals coming from the companies located in Biscay, RDI – Met and COSIM, with which Fagor Arrasate has collaborated in this field since 2008 and from which, the firm acquired 100 per cent of the capital last year. The technological effort is being focused on increasing the performances of its lines engaged to automation and materials to be treated.
The Gipuzkoa-based cooperative Fagor Arrasate, within the Mondragón Corporation and world leader in the design and manufacture of forming machine tools and coil cutting and processing lines, has consolidated its upstream diversification plan towards the metalworking area, which was started in 2008. The company set itself the objective of gaining in importance in the turnkey offer of solutions for the processing and cold-rolling lines, strategy which was channelized by the firm through the collaboration in this area with the group located in Biscay, RDI-Met, which comes from the former COSIM, the intensification of the innovative activity and the transfer of its experience in the finishing lines to the new business segment.
In 2015, the consolidation of its offer for the metalworking sector was strengthened with the acquisition of 100 per cent of RDI-Met and the extension of its references within the sector, highlighting those carried out for the German firm CD Wälzholz – supplying a new high-performance reversible rolling machine for their new plant of Taicang (China) – or for the giant ArcelorMittal, – carrying out the retrofitting of the automotive quality galvanizing line of Vega do Sul in Brazil, the increase in the production capacity of PLTCM (Coupled Pickling Lines + Tandem Cold Mills) also in Vega do Sul or supplying the new line for tinplate inspection in Avilés. This evolution, as highlighted from Fagor Arrasate, has been sustained by an intense innovative effort, which consumes 3 per cent of revenues, and it shall be intensified this year with the deployment of new R+D projects.
The R+D+i activity is focused on meeting the requirements of the customer companies, with which they usually collaborate in this field and search for increasing the processing capacity of high resistance materials, as well as the increase in the surface quality. In the metalworking sector, their work is focused on the processing of new materials, both aluminium and steels, and deepening in the efficiency and automation of processes.
Thus, the R+D+i department of Fagor Arrasate is preparing two projects, one of them for the “Retos Colaboración” Programme of the Ministry of Economy and the other for the Horizon 2020 of the EC. The first one shall analyse the influence of the levelling and stress-relieving of new generation materials in further forming processes, whereas the second one shall deepen in the levelling control in closed loop by means of artificial or computational vision systems, which shall lead the machine to be capable of automatically being self-diagnosed and adjusted on the basis of the measurements at the entry and exit of the sheet.
These projects are added up to other ones already in progress, such as the development of a self-adjusting edge-trimming system depending on the coil width – avoiding the line shutdowns and speeding up the tasks because of the edge trimmer adaptation – or those projects within the scope of “Industrie 4.0” – to provide the machine with higher intelligence and self-diagnostic capability –.
Another key factor in the configuration of its turnkey offer for the metalworking section has been built on the engineering capacity expansion. As highlighted from the company, it allows them to meet the requirements of the customers with the incorporation of third party technologies, which are added up to their know-how in the feeding areas of lines, material entry and exit, edge trimming, coil assembling, etc. The expansion of its commercial operating range favoured by its innovative work has been transferred to the order book for the year 2016, when they undertake custom-made and turnkey projects for the company located in Asturias ASLA (new reversible rolling mill and new painting line of zinc and aluminium), the Mexican company Ternium (Tension Levelling Line), a Japanese Multinational Company in its facility in Turkey (Tinplate Inspection Line) and one of the biggest Steel makers of the World at its facility in the Netherlands (Plastic Coating Processing Line). Not to mention the Finishing Lines to process special aluminium alloy for automotive use installed at the world leader of this type of products in its plants of Germany and China.
Article published in “Empresa XXI” journal