The Regional Minister for Employment, Industry and Tourism of the Principality of Asturias, Francisco Blanco, participated in the event, held on 9th October in Oviedo, along with the CEO of IDEPA, Eva Pando, among others.
Recognising the strengths of Asturias in the presence of other European regions and driving forward the industrial hub and the use of new materials such as graphene, were two of the conclusions to which the Regional Minister for Employment, Industry and Tourism of the Principality of Asturias, Francisco Blanco, paid special mention on 9th October in Oviedo, as part of the III Business Competiveness Forum. The event brought together representatives from the Asturian business sphere with the aim of discussing new industrial production models as catalysts for the future, for a more competitive Asturias.
Two of the key elements discussed in the Forum, in which Asturias is beginning to shine as a frontrunner, is the so-called “Industry 4.0” or the “Smart Industry”, highly targeted in the region towards production lines related to 3D printing and the use of graphene.
Due to the crisis in the construction industry, many companies in the sector have started working with 3D printing. Fernando Rodríguez, Head of Planning at Coprosa, explains that his company is working alongside Cementos Tudela Veguín and Modultec to develop new manufacturing methods using 3D printing. A method that cuts down both time and cost.
The three united companies in this project, “Con3D”, are aiming to manufacture beams from cement. They hope to reach a stage where they can undertake the entire manufacturing process the construction involves using this type of technology. With traditional methods, a beam can take around three hours to be mounted, whilst using this system the same process can be finished in just ten minutes.
Another issue dealt with in the Forum was the use of new materials, such as graphene. A substance formed with pure carbon, with atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern, similar to graphite, which provides significant opportunities within the industry, due to its high thermal and electric conductibility, durability, strength and lightness.
Alfonso Martínez, the Corporative Development Manager at Química del Nalón, explains that by distilling the tar used in the factories, anthracene oil and pitch are produced, among other products, which can be used to produce graphene.
Rosa Menéndez, researcher from the Instituto del Carbón (Incar Carbon Institute) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) participated alongside Alfonso Martínez, affirming that the objective should be to manufacture graphene that is tailored to meet the needs of clients.
Proof of Concept Programme
Eva Pando, CEO of IDEPA, explained the existing agreement between the Economic Development Agency, the University of Oviedo and ArcelorMittal to implement the Proof of Concept Programme. This collaboration is the result of a novel experiment through public-private funding to support open innovation models in regional locomotive companies.
In fact, they are the priority branches of action for Asturias within the Regional Policy for Smart Specialisation Asturias RIS3.