Comau

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Comau S.p.A
Subsidiary
IndustryAutomation
Founded1973 (1973)
HeadquartersTurin, Italy
ProductsIndustrial automation products, systems and services
Number of employees
9,000 (2017)
ParentFiat Chrysler Automobiles
Websitewww.comau.com

Comau (COnsorzio MAcchine Utensili) is an Italian multinational company based in Turin, Italy and is a subsidiary of automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Comau is an integrated company in the industrial automation field with an international network of 35 operative centers, 15 manufacturing plants and 5 innovation centers worldwide. The company offers services, products and technologies to meet specific manufacturing needs for industries ranging from automotive, railway and heavy industrial to renewable energy and general industry.[1][2] These products and solutions are supported by an advanced 3D development environment and three main innovation pillars: easy to use solutions, value-added manufacturing and human-robot collaboration.[2]

Core competencies[edit]

Products and technologies[edit]

Comau designs and develops advanced technology solutions that enable digital manufacturing. Its products combine technological know-how with innovative engineering to offer increased performance, precision and long-term reliability. Its assembly and powertrain technologies range from 3D laser systems and robotized cutting processes to advanced joining solutions, roller hemming, palletizing and transfer systems,[3] and from the machining of parts and manual, semi-automated or automated assembly to the testing of components.[4]

Solutions[edit]

Comau solutions are intuitive, easy to understand and use, and help keep automation simple while increasing productivity and quality. Its body assembly solutions range from flexible high-speed vehicle manufacturing, including multi-material, to the use of simulation techniques that shorten overall program timeframes. Its pallet conveyor, in-line fast transfer, and closed loop assembly systems are designed to combine high precision with performance and configurability.[5]

For Powertrain needs, the company also offers machining systems and assembly lines with a wide range of modular systems that span the entire Powertrain production chain.[6]

Services[edit]

Comau has an international network of expert technicians that provide comprehensive management and maintenance support. Its service offerings range from industrial process maintenance and support areas, including building and utility maintenance, through to developing projects for improving production line equipment and increasing the productivity and efficiency of assets. [7]

Systems integration[edit]

Comau has the capacity to participate in any point of the project phase: from developing the concept and creating the business plan to the design and manufacturing of an entire plant. This includes performing the process engineering and using 3D development and simulation tools to test the concepts and plan the factory.[8]

Education and training academy[edit]

Comau Academy offers courses dedicated to training and designed for companies, professionals and young talents. From Project and Risk Management to hands-on Masters programs, the complete offer focuses on developing the technical and managerial skills needed to design and manage the advanced industrial automation solutions of the future.[9]

Innovation[edit]

Comau innovation focuses on easy to use solutions, value-added manufacturing and human-robot collaboration. Led by the concepts of co-creation and open-innovation, the company has collaborated for over 40 years with universities, organizations and institutions to generate disruptive innovations to products and solutions.[10] Comau employs more than 9,000 people in 17 countries – Italy, Russia, China, India, Thailand, Turkey, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom – and has more than 600 registered patents.[11][12]

Project management[edit]

Comau Project Management has PMI certified senior-level project managers who work on multinational projects through an interconnected project management office (PMO).[13] Services include strategy development, planning and implementation for businesses, as well as contract management, risk management and portfolio governance. In 2007, the Comau Project, Program and Leadership Academy was founded to provide internal company support for highly technological processes and maximize project profitability.[14] The PM Academy later became an external project management system to help other businesses manage large-scale, global projects. Localized training is offered worldwide for individuals and organizations; it is based on PMI tools and guidelines and is meant to strengthen program and project management skills. It is a PMI - Project Management Institute, REP - Registered Education Provider.[15]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Comau began in 1973 as the COnsorzio MAcchine Utensili to unite all the businesses based in Turin and the surrounding area that were supplying equipment to the Togliattigrad VAZ plant in Russia. In 1977, MST S.p.A., Morando S.p.A., I.M.P. S.p.A. and Colubra Lamsat S.p.A. merged into a single company named Comau Industriale S.p.A. The following year, Comau S.p.A. was officially founded, bringing together all the plants and industrial activities of Comau Industriale S.p.A. It was later renamed Comau Finanziaria S.p.A.[1]

Growth and expansion[edit]

In 1984, the company branched out of Europe as Comau Productivity Systems Inc. was founded to start development of commercial and industrial activities in North America. Comau Finanziaria S.p.A. gained a majority interest in Italtech S.p.A., which specialized in injection molding machines for plastic materials in 1988. The following year, it acquired Berto Lamet, a sheet metal die producer, and U.T.S., which specialized in product and process engineering. Berto Lamet then took over TEA, a company that manufactured injection molds and, in 1990, it took over the Spanish company, Mecaner S.A., which specialized in producing sheet metal dies. In 1995, the company grew throughout South America, Europe, North America and Asia. Comau do Brasil Ind e Com. Ltda and Comau Argentina S.A. were launched with all Comau Business Units joining the Mercosur market. In Germany, Comau Deutschland GmbH was established. Comau Productivity Systems expanded its structure and the name was changed to Comau North America Inc. Additionally, a representative office in Beijing, China, was set up. In 1996, Comau France S.A. was founded. The company officially changed its name, it became Comau S.p.A. In 1997, the company gained a majority interest in Geico S.p.A., a producer of painting systems within the automotive industry. Comau India Pvt. Ltd. in Pune was set up as the company's headquarters in Southeast Asia. Comau Poland Sp.z.o.o., a production plant for sheet metal dies, began operation in Tychy and, later that year, began offering maintenance services as well. In the same year, Comau Service was launched to provide full maintenance services to customers worldwide. In 1999, Comau took over the French company Sciaky S.A., a producer of body systems and welding guns, and the company is renamed Comau Sciaky S.A. Also that year, Comau S.p.A. gained a majority interest in Renault Automation S.A. of France, a company specializing in engineering, metal cutting, mechanical assembly and body final assembly. In the same year, Fiat S.p.A. acquires Progressive Tool and Industries Co. (PICO), a U.S. company experienced in body systems manufacturing, and it was subsequently renamed Comau Pico. In the UK, the Pico Estil in Luton became Comau Estil; in South Africa, Aims in Uitenhage is renamed Comau South Africa Pty. Ltd.

In 2000, Comau Automotive Equipment Colt., in Shanghai was opened, Comau Belgium N.V. was established to develop maintenance services in Northern Europe and Comau Systems Services S.L. began operations in Madrid. The next year, Comau S.p.A. acquired two companies in automotive product and process engineering and industrialization, Germann-Intec GmbH and Team Resources Romania, which became Comau România S.A. Comau Australia opened in Adelaide in 2001. In 2002, Comau Ingest Sverige AB was established in Sweden; in 2003, Comau Russia Srl and Comau (Shanghai) International Trading Co. Ltd. began operations with a focus on import-export activities. Comau Sciaky SA became the full owner of Gerbi & Sciaky, a company in France that produced electrical welding guns, changing its name to Sciaky S.A.S. in 2004. The next year, Comau Service France and Comau Sciaky and Sciaky S.A.S. were consolidated within Comau France S.A. In 2005, Comau Germann-Intec GmbH merged with Comau Deutschland GmbH. In 2007, Comau-Germann Intec GmbH was started in Germany with a focus on engineering activities. [5]

In 2013, Comau expanded its presence in China with three new sites. Comau Turkey and Comau Czech were also opened to better serve the Middle and Eastern European markets. Soon after, Comau established a new office in Munich, Germany and expanded into Mexico. Comau São Paulo and Comau Thailand were established in 2015, while in 2016, Comau opened its HUMANufacturing Innovation Center in Pontedera (Pisa), Italy. The company also opened a new location in California, United States in 2016. Comau expanded its activities in the United Kingdom in 2017, by opening a new engineering facility in North East England.[16]

Corporate structure[edit]

Management[edit]

As part of the FCA Group, Comau is managed by a board of directors and a board of statutory auditors. The board of directors oversees the company's performance both directly and through committees charged with specific advisory functions. It is supported by a body made up of members, who are attributed independent responsibilities and powers.[17]

Key business areas[edit]

Comau produces automated industrial systems that integrate products, processes, technologies and services, with competencies ranging from body assembly and metal cutting to drive unit assembly and comprehensive robotized systems.

The company's products and services are designed for a wide variety of industries including automotive – both traditional and electric vehicles –  commercial vehicles, heavy duty (e.g. construction, agriculture), public and private transportation, renewable energy (e.g. wind, solar, fuel cells, batteries) and a variety of general industries (e.g. logistics, food & beverage, packaging) among others. [2]

Product and service divisions[edit]

Body assembly[edit]

Comau designs, produces, tests and services body assembly equipment for vehicle bodies and body components.[18] The company has a range of advanced, modular manufacturing solutions for traditional, hybrid and next-generation electric vehicles that meet the highest industrial standards for flexibility, quality, speed and reliability.[19]

Comau's welding and body joining technologies,  high-density welding stations, sub-group assembly systems and comprehensive bodyshop solutions can handle multiple models, materials and production rates. They can also be deployed without the need to replace or renovate existing facilities.

The commercial offer includes framing systems, break-away end effectors, versatile laser and vision systems, advanced joining and hemming solutions, palletizing and transfer systems and in recent months, digital-driven control and monitoring technologies that consolidate real-time data parameters to monitor the line and better control the various processes.[2][20]

e-mobility[edit]

In addition to traditional powertrain and assembly solutions, Comau also develops solutions to meet the unique requirements of the e-vehicle sector. The company's e-power solutions are modular, scalable and flexible, and can cover a wide range of production volumes to cost-effectively meet the specific and variable demands of the market.[2]

Powertrain machining[edit]

Comau's assembly systems deliver flexibility, scalability and re-configurability for manual to semi-automatic or fully automated assembly lines. The company's manufacturing systems, modular machining systems for powertrain components, assembly systems for engines, transmissions and components, automated modules, product performance simulations and testing systems are customized to meet the specific needs of the production facilities.[21][2]

Robotics and automation products[edit]

Comau has been designing and producing articulated, multi-axis robots and integrated robotic solutions, since 1978. The company is considered as one of the leading international producers of industrial robots.[14][19][21] Comau's industrial robot range extends from compact, small payload robots for general industry use to heavy duty industrial robots with a payload of 650 kg and high performance in terms of speed, repeatability, accuracy and flexibility.[2] Comau robots can work in close contact with operators within an assembly line when deployed in the AURA (Advanced Use Robotic Arm) version, the Comau solution for collaborative robotics.[22][23]

Comau robots are used in multiple industries. Integrated robotics, turn-key systems and robotized cells are primarily implemented within the automotive industry. In 2000, Comau began developing dedicated robots, robotized cells and process-integrated solutions for all payload categories, which have reduced dimensions, increased working volume, high-precision movements and positioning accuracy for spot welding,[24] arc welding, foundry, laser welding, press-to-press automation, handling/palletizing and sealing/gluing. The company also provides robotic solutions within the General Industry sector, and produces robot control units, as well as service robots, including automated guided vehicles and open-source educational robots.[2]

The company is member of the International Federation of Robotics.

Small robots[edit]

Comau's small robots have a payload capacity of between 3kg and 16kg, and include the Racer robot family, the Rebel-s SCARA robot family for high-speed Pick&Place applications, and the NS family of standard, 6-axis articulated robots in various payload configurations. These robots tend to be robust and versatile with a high repeatability (as low as 0.02mm) and are suited to any application requiring high speed and precision.[25]

Medium robots[edit]

For medium payload applications – 16kg up to 60kg – the NJ family includes a selection of articulated robots characterized by their wide reach, reduced weight and excellent trajectory control with higher speeds and shorter cycle times.[26]

With wide work areas and high repeatability (down to 0.06 mm), they can be floor, ceiling or slope mounted (max 45°) for added versatility.[25][27]

High-payload and special robots[edit]

Large and robust industrial robots are specifically designed for heavier payload applications. They include high productivity NJ models with various reach and payload configurations as  well as press-to-press robots, and have a light kinematic structure with high reliability and fast cycle times.[25][28]

The biggest robots in the Comau range are characterized by payloads up to 650kg and can handle demanding applications. The category includes multiple NJ models with high payload to reach ratios and a floor space-saving base.[29]

Comau palletizing robots have payload capacities of between 180kg and 470kg are also available, as are dedicated robots for press shop automation in an optional shelf-mounted versions.[25]

Hollow wrist robots[edit]

Robots equipped with Comau-patented Hollow Wrist technology are characterized by increased performance, fewer maintenance issues and reduced footprints.[25][30]

The fully integrated internal dressing of Comau Hollow Wrist robots lends itself to high density automation, while reliable off-line programming improves the efficiency of cycle design and leads to faster line start-ups.[25][31]

Autonomous mobile robots[edit]

Agile1500 is a fully automated mobile robot and the first model within Comau's automated guided vehicle platform. It is designed to optimize logistics flows with a 1.5 ton maximum payload that accommodates diverse manufacturing needs, factory layouts and multipurpose application possibilities.   Agile1500 is scalable and re-configurable. It can be deployed across a wide range of manufacturing and non-manufacturing scenarios and has multiple safety and collaborative features for just-in-time and just-in-sequence production. According to the company, the high performance vehicle has a best in class payload to size ratio and a highly intuitive programming interface.[32][33]

Collaborative robotics[edit]

In 2017, Comau introduced a concept called HUMANufacturing (human vs machine collaboration) by applying its AURA technology to high-performance collaborative industrial robots and tooling systems. According to the company website, HUMANufacturing happens when high payload industrial robots work in close contact with operators within the assembly line without barriers and in total security. Operators are thus free to concentrate on more-value added tasks while letting the robots handle heavy or repetitive operations. As industrial machines become ‘smart’ they also become increasingly flexible and easy to use within an integrated and connected manufacturing system.[34][35]

e.DO "build it yourself" robot[edit]

Comau unveiled a modular and compact, Industry 4.0-enabled articulated robot kit based on a 100% open-source hardware and software platform in late 2017. The robot kit is available in two versions – e.DO 6 Axes and e.DO 4 Axes and contains all the motors, joints, cables, hardware, accessories and integrated open-source intelligence to allow users to construct a multi-axis articulated robot with a maximum payload of 1kg. e.DO 6 Axes has up to 6 motorized axes to pick up and move pieces any position – turning, rotating and lifting the axes as needed. Advanced and novice users can program the e.DO embedded Raspberry Pi (Raspbian Jessie 8.0) motherboard directly from a tablet computer using the intuitive e.DO Control Logic (native ROS), without writing new coding into the robot itself.  The open-source project is designed to encourage application sharing and expansion. In addition to business applications and personal projects, e.DO is used as an educational tool to help students learn mathematics, science and other subjects.[36][37][38][39][40]

Services[edit]

Comau provides industrial maintenance services in many markets for equipment and production processes, as well as asset management.[41] Services include after-sales assistance, maintenance packages, facility management and planning.[13] An international network of specialists provide services according to professional maintenance partnerships using a modular approach.[42]

Communication[edit]

Comau communicates with industry executives and the public through multiple channels including presence in trade and generalist newspapers, advertising, webinars, participation at trade fairs and conferences and social media.[43]

In October 2014 Comau chose NBA champion Marco Belinelli to launch its new Racer robot.[44] That same year Comau joined Ford at the North American International Auto Show to celebrate 100 years of the moving manufacturing line.[45]

In 2015 at the EMO Milan tradeshow, Comau unveiled a new industrial design strategy that was initially implemented on powertrain assembly and machining centers featuring transparent panels intended to highlight the quality and precision of its solutions.[46] The company also launched the AMICO humanoid robot, based on Racer3 robot technology, which was later exhibited at the Science Museum in London.[47][48][49]

At Automatica 2016, the company unveiled the Racer 5 and Rebel-S robots together with the AURA collaborative robotic platform. [50]

The following year at Hannover Messe in 2017, Comau launched its HUMANufacturing automation paradigm together with the e.DO “build it yourself” robot,[51] and previewed its digital manufacturing solution for preventive and predictive maintenance, together with apps for smartwatch and other mobile devices to make easier and safer the production process.[52] The company also publicized the launch of its automated mobile robot platform, with the Agile1500 mobile logistics vehicle at Automate 2017 in Chicago, and at EMO 2017 announced its partnerships with Siemens to jointly engineer Sinumerik Run MyRobot /DirectControl.[53][54][55]

Other communication activities include participation at the World Mobile Forum in 2017 and 2018, where Comau, Ericsson and TIM discussed joint efforts in bringing 5G to the smart factory,[56] and the launch of Comau's LHYTE hybrid laser technology at Laser World of Photonics.[57][58]

In 2018 Comau launched several new products at the Automatica show in Messe München, among which a robotic exoskeleton.[59][60] The company also demonstrated an advanced prototype of its digital twin system.[61]

Comau regularly publishes technical papers, videos and articles showing how its solutions are being used around the world and across multiple industries.[62][63][64][65]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Comau Corporate Brochure" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Comau Web Page - body-assembly/technologies".
  4. ^ "Comau Web Page - powertrain/technologies-and-processes".
  5. ^ "Comau Web Page - body-assembly/solutions".
  6. ^ "Comau Web Page - powertrain/solutions".
  7. ^ "Comau Web Page - service/overview".
  8. ^ "Comau Web Page - focus-on-process-engineering".
  9. ^ "Comau Web Page - academy/overview".
  10. ^ "Comau Web Page - innovation/overview".
  11. ^ "Comau Web Page - global-presence".
  12. ^ "Comau Company Profile" (PDF).
  13. ^ a b Comau Corporate Presentation. Comau SpA, April 2011, p.10
  14. ^ a b "Project Management Academy". Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  15. ^ "Project Management Academy Presentation" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-29.
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  17. ^ "Corporate Governance". Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  18. ^ "Comau builds car body welding line for Jeep factory in Brazil". the fabricator.com. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Modular and flexible body assembly". Metalworking World Magazine. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Comau Automatica 2018 Press Release" (PDF).
  21. ^ a b "Elio Motors selects Comau for powertrain and automated assembly systems for 3-wheel vehicles". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Comau AURA News".
  23. ^ "Comau AURA Safe and Sensitive".
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  28. ^ "Comau NJ-130 News".
  29. ^ "Comau NJ-650 News".
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  37. ^ "LA STAMPA - The Robot for Learning".
  38. ^ "YouTube Video of eDO's first year".
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  40. ^ "Comau e.DO Open Source Code".
  41. ^ "Service". Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  42. ^ "Comau Service Unit" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-16.
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  44. ^ "YouTube - "We Learn From Challenges"".
  45. ^ "Business Wire - Ford 100th year celebration".
  46. ^ "EMO 2015 Press Release".
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  48. ^ "Amico starring role at the Science Museum in London".
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  51. ^ "Comauat Hannover MESSE 2017 PR".
  52. ^ "Microsoft Digital Twin Vision" (PDF).
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  54. ^ "Comau AGV Agile 1500 at A&T fair 2018".
  55. ^ "Siemens Digital Factory - Sinumerik and Comau Run MyRobot".
  56. ^ "Ericsson, TIM and Comau enable the factory of the future through 5G, robotics and machine learning".
  57. ^ "YouTube - DirectIndustry e-magazine | LHYTE".
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  61. ^ "Comau Digital Twin News".
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  63. ^ "Lightweighting World - Robots Frame New Car with Automotive Lightweighting".
  64. ^ "Comau behind the scenes at EuroCarBody 2016".
  65. ^ "YouTube - Maserati Levante".