They have carried out projects to enable car manufacturers like Renault, Fiat, Nissan or Volkswagen, to adapt to the increasingly restrictive European Regulations on exhaust emissions more efficiently.
The European regulations on emissions are growing more stringent every day, requiring car manufacturers worldwide to adapt quickly and to incorporate new developments into their vehicles to make engines cleaner and less polluting. That makes it necessary to develop advanced technological projects to improve engine performance and to reduce contamination.
It is in this field where technological centre TEKNIKER-IK4's cooperation with industrial group CIE Automotive, through the latter's engine component subsidiary Tarabusi, has played a preponderant role. Both Basque organisations have been developing joint projects for key clients in the energy and transport sectors, including Renault, Fiat, Nissan, Volkswagen, Abamotor Energía, Guascor, Deutz, etc., for fifteen years.
That is how TEKNIKER-IK4 and CIE Automotive took up leadership positions in the market. Through their developments, major manufacturers managed to reduce the emissions from their engine components and could as well improve the environmental impact of their own engine manufacturing processes (replacing chromium with other substances, adapting engines for the use of eco-friendlier unconventional lubricants and fuels, and applying the latest technologies in terms of materials and coatings for engine parts).
All those developments have contributed to increasing engine life spans, cutting oil consumption and maintenance costs, and above all reducing greenhouse gases emissions. So, they helped major car manufacturers to comply with the related European regulations.
The European Union makes increasingly restrictive regulations on the exhaust emissions from new vehicles sold in the Member States and establishes limits to the release of oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matters. All those elements are deemed responsible for the greenhouse effect and global warming.
The latest standard approved on the subject, the so-called Euro VI, sets stricter emissions limits for car and light vehicles' emission of pollutant particles and oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). For instance, the permissible amount of NOx will be 400mg/kWh, i.e. 80% less than the limit set out in Euro V, while the limit for particulate matters will be 10mg/kWh, which means a 66% decrease compared to Euro V. On the other hand, new engines must work at pressures of ca. 70kW/l. These conditions are more restrictive than previous ones and compel manufacturers to adapt quickly their engine and component manufacturing processes.
It is thus essential to make available lower friction and lower wear components to reduce consumption of same. To achieve this, development steps include, among others, the production of technologically more sophisticated pistons, piston rings, cylinder liners and other engine parts, in addition to an improved design and better lubrication of the engines.
Collaboration between TEKNIKER-IK4 and CIE Automotive, through the latter's subsidiary Tarabusi, dates back to 1995 when both companies set up a joint technological service for the development of an innovative piston for Nissan-branded engines. As a result of this job, many joint project opportunities emerged in the following years. Examples are AUMORE aimed at increasing the life of lubricated engine components and the design of a new graphite piston as an emission-reducing lightweight alternative on behalf of Repsol and Renault.
As of 2000, the two firms' collaboration materialised in several European-funded projects for the development, inter alia, of new nanoparticle coatings, new magnesium pistons with improved wear properties and new biolubricants to cut exhaust emissions.
At present, with the support of Public Institutions, TARABUSI and TEKNIKER are collaborating with GUASCOR Power, ABAMOTOR Energía and KRAFFT companies, on the development of new coatings and new lubricants with a view to making engines suitable for running on alternative fuels.
This all aims at providing the automotive industry with the latest technological advances and contributing to compliance with the European regulations, with the ultimate goal of reducing the environmental impact of vehicles.
TEKNIKER-IK4, sustainable technology
TEKNIKER-IK4's collaboration with CIE Automotive on projects relating to the design of less pollutant engines forms part of the research and development work the Eibar-based centre carries out in the field of ecology and environmental sustainability within its different areas of specialisation. In doing so, it is able to apply sustainable technology to multiple sectors, including not only automotive and transport, but also energy and industrial production.
At present, the Eibar-based centre focuses its research works on a line of actions with great and direct impact on all mentioned applications. Worth mentioning among such works are formulating ecological fluids, eliminating toxic components from formulations, using by-products (like glycerine) as raw materials for new compounds, suppressing toxic substances from coatings, minimising the environmental impact of the life cycle of various products, and machine-tool ecodesign or sustainable water management.
With over 25 years experience in researching applied technology and transferring the results to business, TEKNIKER-IK4 is highly specialised in four main areas (Precision Engineering and Mechatronics, Surface Engineering, Production Engineering and Automation, and Manufacturing Technologies), something that allows it to place its cutting-edge technology at the service of those requiring it. In 2009, the Eibar-based technological centre had a turnover of approximately XX million Euros.