Your browser does not support JavaScript! Grand opening of the SECO/LAB at the University of Zielona Góra - SECO/WARWICK

Grand opening of the SECO/LAB at the University of Zielona Góra


Innovation is the basis for the SECO/WARWICK Group’s development. Last week, the industrial furnace manufacturer and a leader in metal heat treatment, opened SECO/LAB, a modern Production Automation and Mechatronics Laboratory, at the University of Zielona Góra. The laboratory will help University of Zielona Góra students acquire practical skills, which will undoubtedly be an advantage on the labor market.

The SECO/WARWICK Group has been recognized for years as one of the most dynamic companies investing in innovation. The company has received numerous accolades including the title of: “Merit for Invention” on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Polish Patent Office, or “The one who changes Polish industry” and multiple awards for “Innovator,” “Innovator of the Year,” and “Innovative Company”.

A laboratory fit for the 21st century

SECO/LAB is also the name of the SECO/WARWICK R&D center and metallographic laboratory. The Polish R&D Department started in 2006 with 3 employees, and today it is a dynamic organizational unit cooperating with many universities and employing over a dozen highly qualified employees, including scientists, automation engineers and outstanding heat treatment, thermo-chemical and metallurgy specialists. The SECO/WARWICK Group’s second Research and Development Center is located in the United States in Buffalo, NY.

“The equipment in our laboratories and our excellent team of scientists allow us to research metal heat treatment technology and verify innovative ideas. We conduct a number of metallographic tests, which are then the basis for proposing appropriate technology to the customer, or in other words, verifying customer requirements. Using the laboratory equipment, you can quickly and professionally check the effects of tests and technological processes. The Research and Development Center provides extensive opportunities to create and test new or significantly improved solutions for the metal heat treatment industry. 

Together with the University of Zielona Góra, we decided that the almost identical SECO/LAB research laboratory should also be within the reach of students and allow them to acquire practical skills at this stage of their educational path. When designing our joint laboratory, we placed particular emphasis on the imperative of gaining practical knowledge in the field of heat treatment process automation and digitization. Universities should not educate only in theoretical terms. Today, in the era of automation and artificial intelligence, practical skills will be the main advantage on the labor market. At the same time, we hope that the best university graduates will want to continue their careers connected with metal heat treatment in the SECO/WARWICK Group,” said Sławomir Woźniak, President of the SECO/WARWICK Group’s Management Board.

SECO/LAB is the name given not only to the laboratory at the University of Zielona Góra, but also to the research and development center in Świebodzin. The SECO/WARWICK R&D Center is divided into two areas. In the first stage of development, technological tests are carried out using industrial equipment. During the second stage in the laboratory, test material preparation is carried out, i.e. material from technological tests is prepared for further examination and the prepared samples are analyzed.

SECO/WARWICK is a company producing equipment for metal heat treatment and has its own metallographic laboratories.

“Most often we conduct microscopic observations and hardness measurements. The properties of a given material result directly from its microstructure, which is why microscopic examination is so important. By viewing the material at appropriate magnification, you can assess the treatment correctness, detect possible errors, and sometimes also learn about its history. Important information about the heat treatment results can also be obtained from hardness measurements. The data acquired is used to develop technology and build innovative solutions, as well as obtain heat treatment with better technical parameters and in many cases, reduce production costs. Many solutions are implemented thanks to SECO/LAB; The lab has also been instrumental when developing and improving technologies to reduce the carbon footprint generated by metal heat treatment equipment,” said Łukasz Piechowicz, Director of the SECO/WARWICK Group’s R&D Department.

SECO/WARWICK and synergy with higher education

The cooperation between SECO/WARWICK and the University of Zielona Góra began almost 10 years ago. In 2021, a joint subsidized project entitled: “Autonomous system for monitoring and processing operating parameters of a pit furnace for the needs of Industry 4.0 in low-pressure carburizing processes” was completed. The obtained project results can be used in many industries, including the renewable energy sector. SECO/WARWICK and the University of Zielona Góra also cooperate within the international innovation network SUPRA, which was created by a community of industrial and research partners in the field of production technology. Currently, both SECO/WARWICK and the University of Zielona Góra focus on promoting practical knowledge and skills in the field of industrial process automation among students, hence, the idea to create SECO/LAB.

The cooperation with UZ is not the only one in the SECO/WARWICK Group’s broad portfolio of science and industry connections.

Scientific teams of the Lodz University of Technology, together with SECO/WARWICK, have carried out as many as 21 research projects for 25 years. As a result, these modern technologies were created — FineCarb® and PreNitLPC® vacuum carburizing. These technologies have been implemented into several hundred vacuum furnaces operating on five continents.

Together with the Poznań University of Technology, SECO/WARWICK has worked on the development of gas nitriding technology using the ZeroFlow method. Jointly with the Wrocław University of Science and Technology, the use of gas nitriding technology to extend the life of forging tools was investigated, and with the Rzeszow University of Technology – the development of single-crystalline technology for casting turbine blades using the DGCC (Developed Gas Cooling Casting) method became a reality.

SECO/WARWICK also cooperates with foreign universities and scientific institutions. For example, we worked with the German institution, TUB Freiberg, on the development of a simulator for heating aluminum coils – SeCoil.

There is no innovation without strong science

SECO/WARWICK, thanks to cooperation with science, can create and implement product innovations, as well as teach the future generation of innovators who will change the world for the better. Practical skills acquired by students of the Zielona Góra University can spark great ideas and inventions. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin:  investing in knowledge always brings the greatest returns, and only a fool would disagree with this.




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