SUSTAINABLE, DIGITAL AND SMART: INDUSTRY 4.0

Today’s science is tomorrow’s technology.

A multidisciplinary and international team made up of scientists and technologists from the industrial and digital fields are currently working on more than 160 highly strategic applied R & D projectsAll of those projects aim to acquire new knowledge that is transferred to specific applications and solutions, to cover the needs of our most immediate industrial fabric, as well as to improve already existing products, processes and services.

Eurecat’s lines of research also address the strategy of innovation and research for the smart specialisation of Catalonia (RIS3CAT) for the 2015-2020 period.

Laboratori
Sustainability laboratory

Sensorització de teixits
Sensing tissue

Robòtica
Robotics Unmanned

Evaporadora
Surface treatment using thermal evaporator

Eurecat working on the development of materials and the optimization of forming processes from a deep knowledge of the microstructural and mechanical properties of materials, mechanical physical phenomena that occur during the process of forming and thermomechanical requirements that receive industrial components.

The main strategic focus:

1) Mechanical behaviour

– Behaviour in fatigue or fracture of mechanical, ceramic and elastomeric alloys. Development of specific fatigue and fracture tests.
– Prediction of behaviour in service through fracture mechanics.
– Characterising mechanical, adhesive and mixed joints.
– Plate formability and fracture.
– Characterisation of components under mechanical stress, in-lab and in-service (instrumentation).

2) Corrosion and deterioration
– Corrosion and effect of the medium on mechanical properties. Biocorrosion.
– Hydrogen embrittlement, stress corrosion and corrosion due to structural component fatigue.
– Study of the mechanisms of corrosion using potentiometric techniques.
– Paints, coatings and corrosion inhibitors.

3) Tribology
– Wear and friction. On-site inspection of surface damage in components.
– Mechanisms of wear in conformation tools: characterisation and evaluation of alternatives with improved performance.
– Advanced characterisation of surfaces.
– Contact fatigue and micromechanics.
– Effect of the mechanised process on surface properties.

4) Surface technology
– Development of coating using PVD and CVD over metals, plastics and ceramics:

–Hard, low-friction coatings for tribomechanical applications.
–Anti-corrosion and anti–fouling coatings.
–Coatings for biomedical applications.
–Coatings for solar thermal applications.
–Decorative coatings.

– Characterisation of coatings.

5) Conformation processes

– Behaviour of metals in heat. Physical metallurgy and mechanical behaviour of TWIP steels.
– Severe plastic deformation processes: procurement of materials with hybrid properties.
– Mechanical milling.
– Process optimisation through NDT inspection.
– Improvement of models that predict the deforming tendencies of metals when exposed to heat: application to steels, super alloys, brasses, etc.

6) Light alloys foundry

– Liquid metal degassing and cleaning. Ultrasonic treatment.Particle and ceramic nanoparticle dispersion in metal.
– Microstructural improvement by controlling HPDC parameters.
– Optimisation and development of vacuum technology.
– Die sensorization and development of mechatronic mechanisms to self-adapt internals parts of the die.
– Analysis of damage mechanisms and research on new developments to improve the die life.

Eurecat’s applied research in the area of plastic materials focuses on the increase of knowledge of polymers and their transformation, as well as their related variants and technologies. The aim is to improve the features of the materials at the macroscopic level (mixtures, additives and blends).

Eurecat has the Plastic Processing Pilot Plant, the largest in Southern Europe, with new technologies for plastic transformation. This plant offers R & D for industrialisation, testing and the manufacture of pre-series.

The strategic lines of plastic material research are centred on:

1) Functional polymer surfaces: Through the mould, the surface of the piece (mould labelling techniques), the surface treatment using plasma, etc.

2) Reduction of weight and improvement of the features of each piece: Combination of reinforced materials and /or several different processes.

3) Smart and optical quality pieces: Plastic products with optical features, obtained through different processes.

4) Transformation of exotic materials”: Research in the transformation of ultra technical and exotic materials: PEEK, COP, COC, PLA, with added medications, etc.

Eurecat places its know-how to the service of different industries (agriculture, product packaging, healthcare and hygiene, consumer products) for the manufacture of hydrophobic and antifogging materials and surfaces, with changes in colour, for light roads, etc.

Eurecat is working to improve the compounding technologies and the techniques of continuous reinforcement. EIn the area of “compounding”, it offers the customised development of “compounding”, consultation during the process, and in-vitro /piece manufacture, as well as different types of trials.

In continuous reinforcement, applied research is centred on pultrusion, press-forming/thermoforming, injection, infusion, RTM, Hot Drape Forming, testing, the development of models and moulds, and design and simulation.

The lines of research are centred on:

1) Materials: Evaluation, better compounding, matrixes, reinforcement and fabrics.

2) Piece design: Characterisation, laminates, structural simulation, and microtopographical inspection of fibre-strengthened plastics.

3) Process: Development of new processes, energy efficiency, improved productivity, forming in resin pre-impregnated fibers.

Research and development of new, more flexible, reconfigurable, more productive, more efficient manufacturing processes with multiple technologies, which resolve industrial problems that have not yet been resolved.

Lines of work:

1) Ultrasound: Innovation in manufacture processes involving ultrasound. Application in transformation processes in any material, sector or final application, using ultrasound as a primary and secondary source.

2) Microwaves:: Innovation in manufacturing processes involving the use of microwaves. Application in direct or indirect transformation processes into any material.

3) Additive Manufacturing: Development of knowledge and technology around additive manufacturing: functional 3D printing, structural printing, multi-process 3D printing, etc.

4) Combined processes: New manufacturing processes that provide solutions to specific industrial problems.

5) Innovative tools and equipment:> Search for new concepts of moulds and tools, in keeping with the new processes, incorporating advanced sensorics, network integration, new coatings, more efficient designs, etc.

Research and development of advanced solutions for the automation of various tasks in different types of environments.

Main lines of research:

1) Autonomous robotics: Aerial and land vehicles, navigation and control, sensors and actuators.

2) Industrial robotics: Robotic cells, design of tools and equipment, collaborative robotics, modelling and advanced simulation, intuitive and multimodal programming.

3) Automation and mechatronics: Control of processes, sensors and actuators, embedded systems, artificial vision, automated quality control.

Eurecat provides functionalism to surfaces and objects through:

– Thin-layer device printing
– Hybridisation of electronics in printed circuits
– Functional coatings
– Integration of sensors and specific control electronics

Lines of research:

1) Printed photonics: Organic photovoltaic, HyLEDs, electroluminescence.

2) Printed electronics: Printed circuits and components, elastic electronics, hybrid electronics, functional 3D printing.

3) Sensorics: Physical, chemical and biological bio-signs, dedicated control electronics.

Research and development of new textile structures and functional garments that afford more efficient solutions in terms of cost and functional and structural properties; in relation to the limitations inherent to the traditional technologies (which are generally rigid and costly).

Main lines of research:

1) Multifunctional fabrics
1.- Conceptual design of a functional structure, whether in the form of sensors, actuators or passive functions.
2.- Research on functional materials which exist in the form of weavable filaments.
3.- Selection of the most suitable textile technology to achieve the desired structural complexity, and which enables work with the existing filaments.
4.- Modification of the commercial materials to adapt to the needs of the defined structure (fibre torsion, coatings and weaves, among others.)
5.- Evolution of the textile structure through complex weaving techniques.

2) Preforms for composite materials

1.- Selection of the most appropriate textile technology for the development of the desired preform.
2.- Conceptual design of the fabric structure that adapts to the designed perform, based on the selected technology.
3.- Modification of the materials to protect the reinforcement fibers and to obtain the blend percentages for the recovery processes, as well as the thicknesses permitted by the textile technology.
4.- Evolution of the textile structure through complex weaving techniques.

3) E-TEXTILES

1.- Conceptual design of the functional garment.
2.- Study of all possible existing technological solutions to integrate into the garment, as well as development of functional textile structures of our own.
3.- Study for the optimisation of communications and cabling.
4.- Creation of patterns and development of the prototype.
5.- Design and development of the electronics for the control of the functional garment.

4) Smart Concept

1.-Conceptual design of the solution based on the identified requirements, bearing in mind ergonomic and aesthetic concepts.
2.- Selection of materials and technical fabrics.
3.- Development of the concept test.
4.- Transfer and creation of value to the client.

Eurecat has laboratories in Mataró and Canet de Mar (Barcelona):

– Smart textiles and wearables laboratory.
– Laboratory for advanced fabric manufacture.

Comprehensive innovative product development, from the conceptual idea to industrialisation, with a multidisciplinary vision and the cross application of knowledge of all of the Eurecat technology units.

Main lines of work:

1) Industrial sector, packaging, mass consumption and others
– Identification of opportunities for the innovation and conceptualization of new products.
– Product design (plastic, metallic piece, mechanical systems, electronics).
– Smart Products & Internet of Things.
– Ecodesign.
– Biomechanical evaluation.
– Simulation using finite elements.
– Manufacture of prototypes and pre-series.
– Industrialisation.

2) Aerospace
– Design of assembly equipment.
– Design of pieces made with composite materials.
– Design and manufacture of metallic pieces.

Services for companies:

1) Identification of opportunities for innovation and the creation of new concepts: Eurecat applies Design Thinking, in the format of joint workshops among the teams of the Centre and the company, to pinpoint opportunities for innovation, to co-create with the consumer and to define new product concepts. Design Thinking is an innovation-based work method centred on the client-consumer-user and on visual thought to strengthen creativity and generate team knowledge.

2) Product design and development: Design, engineering and biomechanical evaluation, carried out by professionals with vast experience in several different sectors, applying the latest CAD & CAE technologies.

3) Prototyping: Construction of prototypes for the validation of their functionalism, style and fabricability using the latest 3d printing techniques, numerical control milling and incremental plate deformation.

4) Virtual laboratory: Simulation of product behaviour to anticipate and improve the injection process, structural and mechanical behaviour, heat transfer, etc.

Design and optimisation of materials, components and processes through FEM numerical simulation, applied to the fields of mechanics, heat transfer, fluid dynamics and electromagnetism.

Main lines of research:

1) Mechanical behaviour
1.- Formability of steels with high mechanical resistance. Failure criteria.
2.- Modelling and simulation of phase transformations into ferrous alloys.
3.- Modelling and simulation of forming processes for severe plastic deformation: ECAP, martensitic steel sheet cutting.

2) Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): fluid-particle interaction

1.- Analysis of sedimentation/floatation processes.
2.- Feeding in fish farms.

3) Processes governed by chemical reactions

1.-Study of combustion processes.
2.- Wastewater treatment.

R & D & I and technology development activities to strengthen the competitive edge and sustainability in the following areas:

– Water cycle
– Waste management
– Soil and underground water decontamination
– Chemical and industrial processes
– E Energy efficiency
– Application of renewable energies

Main lines of research:

– New membrane treatments
– Decontamination of aquifers (i) nanoparticles, ii) organic matter
– Recovery of metals from waste and effluents
– Solar-powered treatment of complex effluents

Services:

– Water re-use and treatment.
– Decontamination of sites. Risk assessments.
– Recovery of value-added compounds. Waste confinement.
– Energy efficiency in buildings. NZBD, Energy management and supervision, BMS.
– Concentrated solar power, hybridisation of renewable energies, solar evaporation.
– Chemical and microbiological analysis. Laboratory and pilot plant experimentation.

Design and implementation of tools for the extraction of valuable information from diverse and assorted sources of data (social media, Open Data, indoor positioning, etc.), using an appropriate infrastructure for Big Data processing and the viewing of the results.

In this area of experience, the Eurecat is a point of encounter for profiles and activities that range from applied R & D to the area involved in knowledge transfer to the company, within the framework of Big Data CoE Barcelona.

Main lines of research:

– Positioning in closed areas: WiFi, Bluetooth, inertial sensors
– Infrastructure (Big Data): distributed computing, stream processing, polyglot persistence
– Data Analysis (user modelling, predictive modelling, geospatial analysis, recommenders, etc.)
– Viewing (interactive avatars, interactive 3D viewing, digital catalogues, etc.)

Services:

– Big Data and Data Analysis
– Indoor positioning:
– Positioning in enclosed spaces:
– Implementation and integration of indoor positioning systems
– Design and deployment of positioning network/devices
– Viewing. Development of:
– Viewing territorial and infrastructure planning models.
– Self-training tools and multiplatform marketing (virtual environments and augmented reality).
– Frontends for simulators and industrial product viewing.

– 3D sound.
– Audiovisual production and post-production processes.
– Image detection.

R & D of projects related to the intersection of information and communication, the new technologies and the diverse facets of their social impact.
Activity focuses on the realm of the social media and their applications in the world of marketing, advertising, corporate communication and what has come to be referred to as “social innovation”.

This activity is complemented with R & D in perception and cognition methodologies, which assess key user-technology factors, such as comfort, quality, interaction and immersion, among others.

Main lines of research:

– Advanced tools for sociological studies.
– Extraction of information on social connections and personal preferences.
– Social media solutions.
– Social media tools which address social challenges.
– Perception and cognition: users’ response to multimedia stimuli, including 3D.

Services:

– Kalium: A platform that monitors and analyses the social media in real time, taking into account the interaction (the social part) of the social media, combining content-based control panels and social media analysis techniques.

UXLab: Offers analysis services of the user experience with audiovisual entertainment and marketing contents. Analyses the experience of the users by applying the methodologies characteristic of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience, the scientific fields specialised in the measurement of psychological variables.

Development of solutions (algorithms, methods, platforms) based on the combined technologies of Artificial Intelligence, and Knowledge Management especially focused on the sector of industry, energy and sustainability.

Services:

– Platforms for management, monitoring and control.
– Mobile platforms.
– Platforms for interoperability in complex environments.
– Workforce and task management.
– Embedded systems.
– Demand-focused services.
– Traceability applications.
– Benchmarking.

R & D related with digital security in the areas of cybercrime and digital identity.

Main lines of research:
– Cybercrime (detection and mitigation, identification of patterns and irregularities, federation of information, etc.).
– Digital identity (privacy, anonymisation, authentication, etc.).
– Distributed security (Internet of Things, Cloud Computing).
– Security in mobile platforms.

Services:
– Security audits in networks and services.
– Security audits in website applications.
– AForensic network analysis.
– Forensic machine analysis.
– DDoS tests (resistance to attacks due to denial of service).
– Identity, privacy and biometrical authentication.
– Security and Big Data (detection of irregularities in data traffic).
– Specialised security consultation (Security Master Plan, risk analysis, compliance, etc).

Design and implementation of ICT-based tools for medical professionals and end users/ patients, for the diagnosis, planning and monitoring of the progress of therapies and to assist patients to improve their quality of life.

Main lines of research
– Personalised Computational Medicine, focusing on:
– Environments for simulation and bioinformatics modelling and decision support systems (DSS)
– Recommenders for early diagnosis, prognosis and reaction to treatment
– Ongoing comprehensive care:
– Integrated care for chronically ill patients
– Telecare and Telemedicine
– Healthcare technology for specific groups (seniors, disabled..)

Products and services:

– Telecare /telemonitoring products.
– M-Health applications.