The endless possibilities of copper and the unconditional vocation of the metallurgy holding company to remain at the forefront of the reddish metal sector have meant that we have always clearly supported research and development, allocating each year 5% of our net profit.
The exploitation and development of innovative, alternative and emerging technologies, evaluated considering their impact on society and on the environment, is a factor that is inherent to our philosophy. Moreover, innovation is aimed at organisational advances that stimulate the creative talent of our stakeholders: workforce, customers, suppliers, universities and technology centres.
Through the different research parks we have on and off the premises, we seek to improve the products and processes of the company and to investigate new applications and uses of copper. To do this, we work very closely with universities and research centres around the world to make the most of their knowledge and to use it in pioneering initiatives.
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Our research centres
A research management centre where we seek initiatives for the development and growth of opportunities for the different research teams. In addition, we value all of the results that these teams obtain get through patents, new products, applications and/or markets.
A research centre that provides a small-scale reproduction of the production process of the company so that tests can be performed to help us improve and optimise existing processes and products without harming the production of the industrial plant.
A specific laboratory with state-of-the-art machinery in each of the company's production facilities to perform quality tests to ensure excellence in every product manufactured.
La Farga provides business with a microscopy centre. One room, located on the premises of the metallurgy holding company, that is equipped with latest machines capable of analysing materials to a precision and quality that is unique in the sector.
The two main machines in this new room are:
SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) which is capable of magnifying objects up to 30,000 times up to 15 KV, analysing the composition of the elements (EDS) and surface finish (roughness, wear, etc). It is capable of analysing both conductive and non-conductive samples and allows for the analysis of test samples measuring 50mm in diameter and 70mm in height.
DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimeter) that allows for the study of chemical reactions occurring in the material when subjected to high temperatures. It measures the energy involved in the reaction to provide information on phase changes, etc. The DSC allows for a working range of up to 700 °C and a sampling rate of 50Hz.
Núria Ferrer, R&D+i Manager at La Farga says:
Seeing things magnified 30,000 times opens up a whole new horizon of work. For instance, seeing a copper wire measuring 0.15mm (150 microns) in diameter in the SEM provides much more information than we perceive by touch, the human eye or even the optical microscope. Seeing their surface finish provides knowledge on the wear mechanism produced between the wire and the line that gives it shape and working towards minimising this wear. This has enabled us to open up new ways of working to improve the quality of the copper products we offer.