CASTING COMPETENCE CLUSTER

Led by MONDRAGON Corporation - Entrepreneurial Innovation Cluster, Basque Country, Spain
Partners involved: MONDRAGON Corporation (and third parties Ikerlan, Aurrenak and MSI), Loramendi, Fagor Ederlan (and third party Edertek), Insertec and Acciona

 

The casting sector comprises a large number of sectors, including mobility (aviation, railway, shipping, automotive), energy, agribusiness, and chemicals. Only in the Spanish manufacturing sector, companies with casting activities raise up to 15.000, with a turnover of around 45 billion Euro and 375.000 jobs.
 

Within the framework of the MEMAN project, the cluster will test innovative technological processes for manufacturing suspension control arm components, making use of light alloys (aluminium) and new design methods. Control arms are typically the interface between the wheel-end assembly and the chassis, allowing for independent vertical travel of the wheel. Traditionally manufactured in steel, the change of lighter alloys will provide the potential to improve car’s weight, fuel consumption, emissions, energy savings, driving safety, as well as comfort and noise characteristics. 
 

The MEMAN project will explore the possibility of manufacturing the part in aluminium, which will allow for reducing its weight by 30-50%. In addition, project partners will assess the alternative technologies such as new casting, cooling, and heat treatment processes. 
 

Different stakeholders and actors of the value chain will be engaged in this analysis: technology providers, capital goods manufacturers, mold producers, sensor and data integrators and end-users.  MEMAN will refine all the manufacturing processes present in the value chain of a control arm production, so as securing a competitive price of the product, improving monitoring and simulation of energy and raw material flow along the production chain and reducing the overall environmental footprint.  

MACHINING COMPETENCE CLUSTER

Led by CETIM – Technical Centre with Mecanic Vallée – Business Cluster, Limousin and Midi-Pyrénées Region, France (and third parties FIGEAC AERO and AD INDUSTRIE)
Partners involved: MONDRAGON Corporation, eiffo, Technofi

Mecanic Vallée is a business and innovation cluster, specialised in aeronautics, spare parts for automotive industry, and machines tools. Uniting 173 members, it represents 87% of the employees and constitutes 85% of the turnover (€1.85M) in the area. 
 

Within the MEMAN project, the cluster will analyse and scrutinise the Product Life Cycle of the aero-structural and engine component for the aerospace sector. Activities carried out by project partners will include the assessment of alternative technologies in different process stages, including milling, drilling, boring, and laser cutting, amongst others. 
 

The aim is to significantly reduce the time, cost, and energy involved in the production of the component.

SURFACE FINISHING COMPETENCE CLUSTER

Led by eiffo - Industrial Innovation Cluster, Germany - Austria
Partners involved: Stahl Judenburg, THOMA (and third party DiTEC and SOFTEC)


The cluster, focused on surface technology and finishing, includes over 200 companies and factories which are mainly concentrated in the German states of North Rhine - Westphalia, Baden – Württemberg and Bavaria. It employs 12,000 people and has an accumulated turnover of about €1.4 bn. The cluster runs a number of targeted working groups such as:
• Reonet – a research group focused on resource efficiency, process optimisation and supply chain management with over 20 active members.
• WeGaNet – a research group focusing on advanced coating systems for corrosion and wear protection as well as integration of new functions with over 30 active members.
• Vecco – a grouping including most hard chrome plating companies of the cluster addressing the joint authorisation of Cr(VI) use of these companies under the REACh directive.

 

The MEMAN project is expected to enable a better re-design and re-engineering of manufacturing process of stainless steel hydraulic piston rod under a life-cycle perspective. In order to achieve this goal, project partners will implement systematic improvements aimed at minimizing steel use (e.g. innovative materials, geometry, light weight construction), and increasing resource efficiency in eclectroplating (e.g. technology development and assessment of alternative coating processes). 
Hydraulic piston rods are widely used in machinery such as as lifting devices, material handling equipment and construction machines. The manufacturing chain is a typical example for metal mechanical production since it includes all steps from sophisticated steel making, precision machining and functional coating to obtain maximum corrosion protection and hardness as well as a flawless surface ensuring optimal functionality of the machinery.

 

They have a hard chromium coating, which is resource intensive, both in terms of energy and materials used (metals and chemicals). Because of that, the sector is strongly affected by higher resource costs, as energy accounts for 12%, and materials and chemical supplies for 25 – 35 % of total operating costs. The optimisations developed within the MEMAN project will address this issue, by substantially contributing to an increased resource efficiency in the manufacturing of chromium plated products with reduced chromium use and losses, as well as increased chromium recycling and safer handling procedures.