Comau, Politecnico di Bari Renew Collaboration to Advance Automation

Comau and the Politecnico di Bari are renewing their commitment to the five-year collaboration, signed last year, that enabled the launch of the public-private “Cognitive Diagnostics” lab. The lab aims to develop innovative solutions in the field of data collection and processing and advanced robotics. These activities are taking place at the Comau Digital Hub in Bari and the Industrial Informatics, Automation and Robotics research laboratories within the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the Politecnico di Bari.

Recently, the new agreement aims to promote the training and job placement of specialized figures in the industrial field. With this in mind, Comau is collaborating with the young talents of the laboratory. It is also hosting trainees and holding teaching seminars, along with some of the University’s faculty. The internationalization of the research paths conducted within it is a strategic asset of the laboratory through membership in European and international projects.

The renewed partnership strengthens the activities accomplished by the Cognitive Diagnostics lab in 2022.

Tap Digital Technologies for Smart Manufacturing

In 2023, four new grants were approved under the project. Specifically, the research activities will focus on the use of digital technologies for smart manufacturing. This is in addition to strengthening the projects already underway. In particular, the study plans new solutions for data collection and processing. Also, it includes new approaches to simplify robotic programming, to which a focus on optimization of industrial processes will be added.

“The collaboration between Comau and the Politecnico di Bari, which in 2022 enabled the startup of the Cognitive Diagnostics lab, continues successfully with the development of increasingly advanced projects in the field of industrial diagnostics, robotics and digitization. By contributing to the progress of academic research in the industrial field and the design of manufacturing technologies,we can support companies in an increasingly effective and innovative way,” said Andrew Lloyd, Comau Chief of Engineering.

Develops Enabling Technologies for Factory 4.0

With the goals achieved in 2022, it is possible to deepen the study of innovative vision systems. This was the result of three grants provided by Comau and the Politecnico di Bari. The collaboration between the two entities significantly contributed to the launch of a new Comau robotic vision system, the MI.RA/Depalletizer. Particularly, the new system exploits the potential of artificial intelligence to automate depalletizing operations, making them more flexible and efficient.

The activities conducted in 2022 also resulted in research results that have been reported in three scientific articles published in prestigious international journals. They were co-authored by the faculty, university and corporate researchers and junior fellows. In addition, industrial applications developed on-site have been integrated within or are being acquired by several different companies.

Indeed, the Cognitive Diagnostics lab aims to respond to the growing demand for flexible and advanced automation coming from companies in any sector. Mainly, it aims to make Factory 4.0 work processes more efficient through the use of enabling technologies; thus anticipating new production and market trends.

Cognitive Diagnostics is the result of a well-established collaboration, through which Comau and the Politecnico di Bari have pursued joint research projects in the field of flexible automation and intelligent vision systems since 2017. To support companies in the area, the space is also joined by a hub specializing in automation software development and digital manufacturing that Comau opened in the city of Bari in 2019.

Many of the solutions created in the Bari laboratory have been integrated and tested by Comau at its customers’ sites and have helped them optimize production. The collaboration also gives the opportunity to increase our know-how in strategic and emerging sectors such as logistics, transportation, renewable energy, electrification and the circular economy, thus expanding our business opportunities in Italy and abroad,” said Lloyd.

“The activities of the Public-Private Laboratories of Politecnico di Bari, managed together with important national and international corporate groups, represent a virtuous model of collaboration to enhance academic and industrial research, offer young researchers the opportunity of perfecting their training and promotes opportunities for qualified work,” explained the Dean of the Politecnico di Bari, Francesco Cupertino, who highlighted also: “In particular, by continuing the strong collaboration between Comau and the Politecnico di Bari, it will be increasingly possible to verify how the most applied scientific research consistently enables the innovation of enabling technologies to offer useful services and processes to industry.”