A new industrial start-up featuring Basque stakeholders is born at a European scale
Launched, among other organisations, by the Tekniker technology centre, i-Tribomat offers innovative solutions for tribology and the characterisation of materials and lubricants.
A large proportion of the parts made by European industries are created to replace others that are rendered unusable due to wear, a process associated with major costs. Tribology, a science that aims to develop solutions in an attempt to offset the negative effects produced by friction affecting parts used for mechanical systems in industries such as the wind power or automotive sectors, plays a fundamental role in this regard.
Although Europe boasts major laboratories specializing in this science, it is hard to find offers that are able to cover all the industry’s tribological services. In order to address this challenge, i-Tribomat has been set up with the backing of Tekniker and two Austrian stakeholders, AC2T and the Austrian Tribology Association (ÖTG).
It is a new start-up established at a European scale that will deliver services associated with the tribological characterisation of materials and lubricants to companies in different sectors and will allow them to predict the behaviour of components, minimise wear and extend service life. It will also serve to create synergies between key stakeholders in this field.
Luis Uriarte, general manager of Tekniker, explains that “i-Tribomat is managing more than a hundred pieces of equipment used for tribological testing and surface characterisation and coordinates a workforce with more than 250 experts covering a range of tribology disciplines”.
With more than 30 years of experience in the area of tribology and one of Europe’s most fully equipped laboratories, Tekniker will make available to this new company more than thirty test benches and equipment for components such as gears, bearings and gaskets for hydraulic or pneumatic systems.
In order to strengthen i-Tribomat’s services, the start-up has signed several collaboration agreements with public organisations operating major tribology infrastructures as the BAM and VTT in Finland and the Universidad Tecnológica de Luleå (the Lulea University of Technology) in Sweden.
Access to the European market
Thanks to its involvement in i-Tribomat, the technology centre’s laboratory will be able to deliver services to industrial companies throughout Europe associated with sectors such as the automotive business, aeronautics, wind power, mechanical capital goods or machine tools and, in the mid to long-term, reach out to potential customers in America and Asia.
Within the framework of this collaboration, Tekniker’s extensive expertise in terms of tribology allows the technology centre to offer services such as experimental characterisation to identify the most suitable materials for specific applications and test benches to be commissioned at a later stage.
i-Tribomat’s offer also includes the use of artificial intelligence to predict the behaviour of materials and components that are lacking specific test benches. Consequently, a number of experiments will be performed under different conditions to measure and record data associated with the performance of these parts and to establish patterns that predict how these components will behave in similar situations.
Customers will also have an on-line commercial platform at their disposal. As underscored by Luis Uriarte, “by using this online service they will be able to select and contract all the work that has to be done to analyse their parts and receive results”.
i-Tribomat also offers technical consultancy services so that contracting entities may request information on data bases listing technical papers and patents and also apply for direct counselling to diagnose whatever causes wear and find solutions.
This new initiative gives continuity to a homonymous project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. This newborn company has already ascertained the effectiveness of the platform’s operations subsequent to providing services for 14 companies in 8 countries.