The main goal is to broaden the offer in the permanent magnet motors and implement digitalisation and automation processes.
Alconza’s current 2020-2022 Strategic Plan forecasts increasing research and innovation by 20% annually. The commitment to R&D aims to gain market share in the manufacturing of new model engines for the ships of the future, which will have electric propulsion, or maybe hybrid (electric + combustion), and therefore achieve a differentiator versus the competition.
Alconza’s main research and innovation line will be focussed in the future towards the search of new alternative materials for the permanent magnets of these new motors. Up to now, the manufacturing of these magnets required minerals in the group of the so-called rare earths, with a high financial cost and additional geo-strategic risk, given the majority of these minerals originate from China.
Alconza’s project aims to boost research of new, cheaper, more effective materials with improved energy performance, but also environmentally more sustainable versus those used up to now. The new materials will also enable diversify its sourcing origin, reducing the geo-strategic risk.
The R&D budget is expected to grow at an annual rate close to 20% in the next few years. To start developing these R&D projects Alconza has recently received some public subsidies from the “Strategic Hazitek” of the Basque Government, as well as the Industrial Technological Development Centre of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, both in consortium with other Basque and Spanish organisations.
Other fields of activity of Alconza’s 2020-2022 Strategic Plan will be focussed on aspects encompassed in the so-called Industry 4.0, like the automation of manufacturing, assembly and installation processes. In this case, the aim is to explore new digitalisation and automation solutions for both people and industrial process safety, ensuring full reliability of the complete assembly of the magnet motors. The idea is to take advantage of the experience already built in around sensorisation and connectivity of the electric motors that Alconza manufactures for the parent group, Irizar.
Likewise, another line of research of Alconza’s new Strategic Plan, which was recently mentioned in the financial newspaper “Empresa XXI”, refers to the acceleration of cybersecurity programs and plans for the enterprise activity as well as commercialised products, boosting both remote working and predictive maintenance services of Alconza’s Customer Service.