Metal and advanced manufacturing

The Metal Industry in Asturias is a clear example of pioneering technologies in use, with new productive processes, safety systems in the workplace and environmental management. Furthermore, the importance given to continuous training is reflected in the region’s highly-qualified workforce.

The volume of exports from the metal sector in 2016 represented 65% of the region’s total exports, reaching 2,274 million.


• Deep-seated industrial culture, a result of its history as a mining and iron and steel works region.
• Solid local base of goods and service providers for industrial activities (engineering, assembly,
maintenance, sub-contracting).
• Main iron, steel and metallurgy area in Spain.
• Low workforce rotation and higher than national average productivity rate
• Industrial ports of Gijon and Aviles. Ports specialised in iron and steel works and energy transportation, handling solid bulk and merchandise in general, in containers, conventional vessels as well with Ro-Ro services.
• Internationally acclaimed R&D institutions and agencies for materials and industrial design -nanotechnology, 3D printing-.


• ARCELORMITTAL. Production of 5 million tonnes of steel in its plants in Asturias. It has the only thick plate rolling mill in Spain. Manufacture of 459 kilometres of railway rail for the Medina‑Mecca High Speed train.
• ASTURIANA DE ZINC. Production of 510,000 tonnes of electrolytic zinc of which 99.995 % uses its own manufacturing technology. The plant in Asturias is the largest electrolytic zinc plant in the world and one of the cheapest in terms of operating cost.
• ALCOA. Production of 145,000 tonnes of primary aluminium for smelting and extrusion.

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The clear industrial nature of Asturias is closely linked to the energy-industry binomial. One of the reasons it has developed a competitive heavy industry has been its ability to rely upon its energy supply to undertake iron and steel industry activities and to transform materials such as aluminium, steel, zinc and glass
The relevance of industry in Asturias, in particular the metal sector, capital goods manufacturing, naval goods, electrical components and facilities, etc.), is heavily connected to the manufacturing skills required to construct large facilities from the petroleum and gas sector, marine wind power energy, thermo-electrical generation, etc.  The energy production in 2014 represented 6.5% of the regional gross value added, constituting the second branch of the industrial sector after steel and iron industry activity.
Asturias is a benchmark in the field of electrical energy within the Peninsular System, with 4.8 % of installed power in 2013. Nationally, the average consumption per capita is around 5.6 MWh/year, whilst in Asturias that parameter reaches values of 9.9 MWh/year.
The clear predominance of coal in the structure of primary energy consumption (over 65 % as a result of the high rate of thermo-electrical generation and the iron and steel industry application of coke)
Reliable and flexible transportation network, essential for meeting the high surges of electrical consumption as well as the high density of generator facilities.

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Materials and nano-technology sector

The RIS3 Research and Innovation Smart Specialization Strategy
of Asturias, approved in 2014, defines its priority areas as ADVANCED AND SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS and NEW PRODUCTION MODELS.
The materials sector has the greatest weight and tradition in the region, bringing together large industrial groups both internationally (steel, aluminium, zinc, glass, chemical), and nationally (extraction, cement, refractory, waste).

Asturias has an important primary industry which it uses in its extremely high temperature furnace processes, at which only refractory materials can operate. This is why it has developed a hugely powerful local refractory industry, which includes local companies as well as large multinationals in the sector.ç

Leading entities
IUTA. University Institute of Industrial Technology of Asturias. University of Oviedo.

SCTs. Scientific-Technical Services for Research into Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials. University of Oviedo.

INCAR. Oviedo National Coal Institute Centre of the Scientific Research Council (CSIC). INCAR upholds its leading position in the field of coal and the science and technology of coal and carbon-based materials. Its scientific activity focuses on a cleaner and more efficient use of coal and its derivative, including new technological developments.

CINN. Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Research Centre. The CINN is a mixed research centre created through an institutional initiative between the Scientific Research Council (CSIC), the Government of the Principality of Asturias and the University of Oviedo. CINN research is based around a line called “Controlled Design of Multifunctional Materials on a Multi-scale”

Fundación ITMA. Foundation Technological Institute of Materials.Technology centre specialising in research and development projects in Advanced Materials for high added value products and technological laboratory services and conformity assessment.

Prodintec. Technology centre specialising in industrial design and production. Its main line of research, in which the organisation focuses its competencies, is the design and development of Pilot Lines for the advanced manufacturing of high- added value products. For this reason it consolidates its interest in Future Factory technologies.

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ICT and Creative industries


The Asturian industrial fabric has undergone a radical transformation in recent years, in which advanced services have moved into the spotlight. In this new economic reality, the ICT sector deserves a special mention. Asturias welcomes Spanish and foreign companies alike, which have moved to the region, in particular over the last decade, playing a significant role in employment in the sector.


• Broadband Internet access across the entire region.
• Well-established cooperation initiatives such as the ICT Cluster and the Innovative Knowledge Business Association.
• Internationally outstanding R&D institutions and centres, such as the Information and Communications Technology Centre, CTIC, which also home to the headquarters in Spain and Latin America of the W3C consortium (World Wide Web), the most important international body in the field of Internet Regulation.
• Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Centre. sponsored by companies including Telefónica R&D and the aluminium multinational Alcoa.
• The video gaming sector stands out as the link between the Creative sector and ICT. Asturias has a specific acceleration programme for entrepreneurs entitled Let’s Game, backed by CEEI Asturias.

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Food and drink sector

Tradition and innovation come together in a sector with a huge potential for growth. The food and agriculture industry is of great capital importance in Asturian industrial activity, constituting the third branch of activity along with metal and extractive industries, energy and water.

Asturias is one of the areas with the greatest number of cheese industries in Europe, with over twenty official varieties. The Cabrales -with Protected Denomination of Origin since 1981- is possibly the prime exponent of Asturian gastronomy, along with cider and fabada.

Along with the traditional cheese industry, Asturias is also home to an important industry of dairy products (butter, powdered milk, yoghurt, desserts and other industrially produced cheeses).

In addition, Asturias has a long-standing livestock tradition. Asturian meat enjoys great prestige, both in fresh consumption as well as in pre-cooked dishes or cured meats.


• Wide product range whose quality is reflected in its Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) and PGI Protected Geographical Indication titles.
• Exceptional-quality raw materials.
• Well-established brands in the mass consumer market.
• Internationally outstanding R&D institutions and centres. University of Oviedo, Dairy Institute of  Asturias (IPLA), Interprofessional Milk and Agri-food Laboratory of Asturias (LILA), Regional Service for Agri-food Research and Development Service (SERIDA) y Meat Industry Research Association of Asturias (ASINCAR)
• Growing interest for natural, artisan, gourmet and organic products.
• Diversification into products adapted to consumer trends.
• Recognition for Asturian Haut Cuisine. - 9 restaurants awarded Michelin Stars in 2016.
• Strong protection of industrial property.
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The medicine and bio-sanitary industries are strategic sectors in Asturias.
With the drive of infrastructures such as the Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA), support for R&D projects from the University of Oviedo and the
notable innovative activities undertaken by the Fernández-Vega Ophthalmology Institute, Asturias demonstrates its marked support for the development of biotechnology, bio-information and biomedicine.

The Principality of Asturias Healthcare Service (SESPA), with a budget of 1,678 million euros registered in 2017, has become one of the top “companies” in the Autonomous Community, with 16,000 direct employment positions and almost 39 % of the regional budget. The SESPA is linked to over 250 companies in diverse production sectors with a turnover figure of over 400 million euros.

Leading entities
HUCA. Central University Hospital of Asturias. In 2013 the HUCA finalised the construction work undertaken on its current building in Oviedo. The new HUCA forms a unique space for attendance, teaching and research, generating synergies with the surrounding infrastructures: FINBA, the Public Healthcare Laboratory and the Vivero incubator of health science companies.

University of Oviedo. Education in Biomedicine and Health at the University of Oviedo is among the most prestigious in Spain and houses numerous researches related to bio-technology, in particular at the heart of the IUBA (University Institute of Bio-Technology), the IUOPA (University Institute of Oncology of the Principality of Asturias) and the INEUROPA (University Institute of Neurosciences of the Principality of Asturias).

FINBA. Foundation for Bio-sanitary  Research and Innovation Asturias. The FINBA is the body which controls the bio-medical research of excellence in Asturias. The organisation is backed by the Principality of Asturias in alliance with the University of Oviedo, supported by various companies which participate either as employers or benefactors.

Vivero incubator of health science companies. A centre designed to house business initiatives in the field of R&D&i in Health Sciences, very close to the Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA).

Biobanco. The BioBanco has over 60,000 human biological samples available to be used in research projects. It belongs to the National network of BioBanks from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, which also forms a part of the European biobancos BBMrl network-Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure.

The Bio-incubator at the Asturias Technology Park for the Economic Development Agency, driven by the Principality of Asturias (IDEPA) and managed by the CEEI, is an innovative space offering accommodation and specific equipment adapted to the needs of “bio” companies.

FIO. Oftalmological Research Foundation. Sponsored by the Fernández-Vega Ophthalmology Institute the FIO develops translational research in the ocular and cornea area, the genetics of ocular diseases and ocular neurobiology with top-level international professionals.

Bioprinting: the Asturias Technological Production and Industrial Design Centre (PRODINTEC) is a benchmark in the field of 3D bio-printing. The objective is to one day use the same additive manufacturing techniques to produce human tissue and organs.

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Last updated: 22|11|2017

The information on these pages was prepared by each autonomous community

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