Joint Lab to Yield Intelligent Automation Solutions

Comau and the Politecnico di Bari (Poliba) have signed a five-year agreement for the joint creation of the Cognitive Diagnostics public-private laboratory. The creation of the laboratory is aimed at the development of innovative solutions for industrial diagnostics and advanced robotics.

The collaboration was signed by Francesco Cupertino, Rector of Poliba, and Pietro Ottavis, Chief Technology Officer of Comau. It provides for the use of a research and experimentation space, where Comau, in synergy with the University, intends to launch projects related to artificial vision for non-invasive diagnostics and robot guidance.

The creation of the laboratory is aimed at the development of innovative solutions for industrial diagnostics and advanced robotics.

Responds to Flexible Automation

The creation of Cognitive Diagnostics laboratory responds to the growing demand for flexible automation. This automation is adaptable to any production context and able to make Factory 4.0 work processes more efficient through the use of enabling technologies.

In particular, the new laboratory will allow Comau to deepen the study of innovative vision systems and platforms that allow easier robot programming. It will thus facilitate and speed the management and control of operators (low code programming).

According to the agreement, Comau will collaborate with Politecnico’s educational activities through participation in tutoring during training and company internships. This would promote the training and professional insertion of specialized figures. The laboratory represents a strategic asset thanks to the internationalization of the research paths carried out within it, as well as its adhesion to European and international projects.

Initial Lab Activities

To start the lab, Comau will fund research grants, scholarships, and researcher positions. The initial work team will consist of individuals contracted from the Politecnico di Bari, with the possibility to gradually increase the workforce. It will get the services of Professor Vitoantonio Bevilacqua of Poliba as reference.

Initially, the activities will take place at the Comau Hub in Bari, the research laboratories for Industrial Informatics, and Automation and Robotics hosted within the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the Politecnico di Bari.

Pietro Ottavis, Chief Technology Officer of Comau, said, “Thanks to the collaboration with Politecnico di Bari, Comau takes a further step forward in the development of strategic projects capable of bringing new value to the field of industrial research. This is essential in supporting companies in an effective and innovative way. The solutions created in the new laboratory will be integrated and tested by Comau at its customers’ premises to help them optimize production. Moreover, they will allow us to evaluate new business opportunities in Italy, as well as abroad, in a variety of sectors, from logistics and transport to renewable energy, electrification and circular economy.”

Francesco Cupertino, Rector of the Politecnico di Bari, added, “Since 2010, we have successfully promoted and tested initiatives aimed at the establishment of Public-Private Laboratories in areas of industrial and technological research, together with important Italian and foreign organizations and business groups.”

“The collaboration with Comau marks the fifteenth of these laboratories, in a sector of great interest for the territory of Puglia, intelligent diagnostics and robotics. A sector for which associated research activities have been going on for years in different laboratories within the Departments of Electrical and Information Engineering and Mechanics, Mathematics and Management. With this new laboratory, we will ensure a further opportunity for our young talents to specialize in Industry 4.0, in addition to the inter-university PhD program that has been active for several years now,” said Cupertino.

Strengthened Collaboration

The opening of the “Cognitive Diagnostics” lab is the latest step of consolidated collaboration between Comau and the Politecnico di Bari. It began in 2017 with joint research projects in the field of flexible automation, vision systems and artificial intelligence. To support companies in the area, in 2019, Comau also inaugurated a hub in Bari, specialized in software development for automation and digital manufacturing.