Building the Factory of the Future: Comau’s Approach to Industry 4.0

Paolo Avagliano, Comau North America
August 19, 2020
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As the world of manufacturing evolves to better respond to customer needs and market challenges, Comau is leading the way.

Evolution requires transforming the status quo into different production paradigms. Processes must become increasingly reconfigurable, flexible, and scalable. Digitalization is the fundamental enabler of these new manufacturing paradigms, and real-time communication between operators and the manufacturing system. It also delivers enhanced intelligence to streamline processes and optimize the value chain. As a result, digitalization can help you experience higher productivity, faster time-to-market, lower operating costs and prevent risk of operational delays. What’s more, digitalization can be applied to a single machine, line or an entire factory. As the world of manufacturing evolves to better respond to customer needs and market challenges, Comau is leading the way.

Due to a long-established global presence in the industrial sector, Comau is able to help companies exploit the potential of digital transformation. This experience allows us to provide advanced automated products and systems which combine innovative engineering solutions and enabling technologies. Comau’s method of connecting humans, processes, equipment and systems is driving the creation of value-networks able to gather, analyze and utilize interconnected intelligence to become flexible, fast and proactive. Backed by over 45 years of industrial automation experience and an intimate knowledge of manufacturing processes, our digital framework is designed for new or existing plants and all brands of installed equipment. Additionally, Comau is teaming up with a global partnership network that allows us to constantly develop and expand our expertise in the industrial automation sector. This network includes multinational companies, SMEs, start-ups, universities and research centers.

Internet of Things

Currently, Comau is adapting its product portfolio in the context of IoT, enriching it with new products and solutions, including our some of our most recent products, such as in.Grid, and concepts and pilot cases which are still in development. Business-wise, we are witnessing and responding to a growing attention to the services related to our products. in.Grid is the Comau Internet of Things solution that collects real-time information from machines and their subcomponents to monitor their health and reduce maintenance costs through advanced algorithm-enabling predictive maintenance. This digital platform allows users to shape Industry 4.0 in line with the smart factory concept.

By joining communications, data control and analytics within a single, easy-to-use platform, in.Grid helps companies leverage the power of Industry 4.0 in a cost-effective and highly efficient manner. The platform facilitates the acquisition and exchange of data by interconnecting Comau and non-Comau solutions, machinery and equipment used in manufacturing processes. In doing so, in.Grid not only enables process/technology data monitoring and telemetry, but can provide companies with predictive capabilities and productivity tools. The platform automatically acquires performance and process data, stores the data onsite or offsite, then displays the data and subsequent analytics via a simple and interactive interface, leveraging on machine learning algorithms to make decisions regarding equipment health and utilization.

The Future of Digital Manufacturing

In regards to the future of digital manufacturing, Comau considers digitalization an opportunity toward the technological evolution of factory automation that can also result in a better balance between its use and the contribution of humans, who remain the central and fundamental figures of the industrial process, according to Comau. The consequence is a more efficient use of technologies and a better human contribution in the production process: industrial machines are only used when needed; operators and machines can be destined to carry out the tasks they can perform in the best way.

Thanks to the technological developments of the fourth industrial revolution, humans can now work close to machines in complete safety, improving plant productivity and the work conditions of the operators. Comau is facing the digital transformation through the fulfillment of its innovative concept of the factory, called HUMANufacturing. In this approach, humans remain the central and fundamental figures in the entire production process, in which they have new roles and carry out more rewarding tasks, with the support of enabling technologies. Comau’s objective is to eliminate the barriers causing limitations in the use of industrial automation solutions, making the use of digital products and technologies easier. We are responding to the evolution of the manufacturing industry by providing solutions, such as the exoskeleton MATE to reduce fatigue, improving job quality, the high payload collaborative robot AURA for the safety of those who work directly with robots, and the automated guided vehicle Agile1500. ​Comau innovation is driving the development of new products, cutting-edge technologies and a powerful concept of the factory that optimizes human and machine-driven automation, which we call HUMANufacturing. Innovation is a recurring theme that accompanies almost every activity within Comau - from products to systems and from training to customer relations – and extends to spearheading a new era of automation that is open, connected, and easy to understand and use.

Paolo Avagliano, Comau North America
Paolo Avagliano, Comau North America

In his current role as Head of Digital Platform for Comau North America, Paolo Avagliano leads the newly created digital platform team with the mission of transforming the traditional business value proposition by enhancing Comau’s digital offerings to answer new and emerging customers’ needs. He also focuses on developing and managing strategic partnerships with innovative technology companies. Paolo joined Comau in March 2014 as Head of Global Planning. In this position, he was responsible for defining and deploying industrial operation strategy at a global level. He supported core business activities and developed strategic frameworks to integrate business strategies and processes company-wide. He later became Head of Integrated Supply Chain for Comau North America, leading both manufacturing and supply chain operations. Originally from Italy, Paolo has an extensive professional background in manufacturing, planning, and operations management. He holds a Master of Science in Formal Methods for Artificial Intelligence from Universita’ degli Studi di Salerno, Italy, and a Master of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

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