Mikel Maiztegi, head of the Research and Development Department at ONA, has worked at the company for the last 20 years, in a variety of departments, including application’s department, and spent two years in the American subsidiary. He has been in charge of the R&D department for three years and his knowledge and experience in the sector makes him a reference in the EDM sector.
What is the first step towards innovation at ONA?
First of all, we do intensive technology tracking, studying and analizing new trends on the market and in technology. It is very important for us to gather all possible information from the market and clients and we take a keen interest in finding out how each of our clients works to ensure we can improve their performance. To this end, we collect information from internal sources, attend fairs, take part in congresses, technological missions and sectoral and cross-sectoral forums. All these events provide the perfect opportunity to share ideas, and new business opportunities are always likely to arise. In addition, we use competitive intelligence tools to keep up to date with the latest developments in the manufacturing field.
How is all this research work translated into innovation on the market?
Once all this information has been gathered and we have established the new leading trends on the market, we share this data with several teams, and suggestions for new projects are developed. Once a project has been approved we define the specification. Most detailed planning and the possible solutions are designed by our R&D department. There are occasions when we collaborate with Technology Centres, Universities or other companies. New products, services or solutions are thus given shape and developed. Prototypes are tested under strict parameters guaranteeing the product’s quality before it is actually launched. Last, the product is taken to the market, with the certainty that we are offering an innovative and reliable product which has been previously extensively tested on our test bench.
How many products are you currently working on?
We are currently involved in many small and large projects. Our main research lines are aimed at developing improvements for the future QX and AV range, generating new products such as an EDM drilling machine, designing special machines for new applications and creating new tools that will allow our users be prepared for the digital transformation of the industry.
Could you disclose a development we are likely to see on the market soon?
We are working on an innovative Fasthole EDM machine, that is specially designed for turbine parts and will resolve the main challenges that turbine component manufacturers are currently facing. What’s more, research continues on possible future improvements on new product ranges. The research work is very intensive and our aim is to always be at the leading edge of current trends.
ONA is world leader in the manufacture of machines for large workpieces and experts in special solutions. How many developments are made a year for customized solutions?
Is there anything you would single out as for being particularly difficult, because of the client’s requirements?
We are highly recognized for our customized solutions, the client always comes first for us and our work is aimed at fulfilling the needs and requirements that the client lays down. We usually design around 30 machines a year with a special design. As for the difficulties we come up against, each client is different and we adapt to their requirements. Sometimes, you need more time, and, sometimes, it is more straightforward, but we always work to design the perfect solution for them.
What percentage does ONA lay aside for R&D, innovation and development?
At ONA, we allocate between 8% and 12% of our annual turnover to R&D. For example, this year we are going to add two large-sized machines (TQX8 and AV100) to our research center. This new additions will enable us to develop new projects for improved performance in the manufacture of large workpieces