Foundry on Wheels: Interview with Pedro Intxausti, IK4-Azterlan

1. Based on your experience in casting, how do you prospect this industry´s future?

I am optimistic about the future of the foundry sector on what concerns different materials with which this technology can be used, especially iron and aluminium. Why? Because the metallurgy of these materials will have, in the future, a great development and the production of parts, components or sets, will improve significantly.

The other side of the coin is the demand and in this sector, regardless of the electric car or not, I believe demand will continue to rise in the automotive sector. Also in other sectors, such as the wind sector and the aeronautical sector, which are important in the industrial world. That's why I'm optimistic.

Azterlan is betting on metallurgy as a decisive element in the industrial progress of these sectors.

2. Do you believe additive manufacture, "3D printing", it will be a competitor, or not?

I believe that the development of this technology will become a small competitor to the classic world of casting. What is happening is that it has a future, I think it is important, although development will be very difficult to produce with the reliability and capacity of current and future systems in the world of foundry.

For this reason, I believe this development takes at least 10, 15 years for it to actually become competition. But it will be difficult to make big productions with this technology.

3. There is a very important question for the CITNM and the whole world of foundry, which is the foundry teaching at the Academy, at the University and at the Training Centres. Do you think it is adequate, deficient? Do you consider that people enter companies prepared for their duties? And what is the impact education can have on the foundry industry?

It has been classically a very important handicap in almost all southern European countries. In Spain, in engineering schools, the foundry of iron and aluminium have been the "ugly duckling". They have dedicated themselves to steel, the steel industry, and the foundry has been a little disdained. In many colleges and engineering schools casting isn´t even mentioned. The Association of Founders of the Basque Country has detected this problem for more than 20 years and has somehow restructured a master’s degree of 1000 hours for postgraduates, taught by Azterlan, so that they could then access, with full guarantee, is the activity in foundry companies. I believe it is a great challenge for the CITNM.

4. Do you believe that this meeting, which brings together the automobile and foundry sectors, helps in the development of the industry and in its research?

I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard here. Pleasantly because I believe there is a conjunction between what are customers, users, experts, foundry people and people from research centres like us, who somehow provide technology to the foundry. And that seems to me very important. We already defended a few years ago when we were planning the Centre that we had to go a little in that direction. On the one hand, everything that has to do with professionals who come from the university, masters, those who can do doctorates or postdocs, and who should be more encouraged, and all this way of joining both providers and users of the sector. I believe that the intervention of Continental Automotive in this congress looks to a large extent at what we are seeing at CITNM in terms of improving foundry manufacturing processes, the concept of how to move forward in technology, research and training.

5. In 2 years, can we contact Azterlan?

Of course. We have made a clear bet since the beginning and we will keep it. In two years I'll be here.