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Comau People

Innovative Solutions

Bridging the gap between industrial automation and general industries

Mike Sam

Chief Operating Officer Comau Adaptive Solutions Business Line

Putting industrial automation to work in multiple industry sectors is what Comau’s Adaptive Solutions group does best. Meet the team behind the solutions.

Manufacturers around the world are looking to increase performance while lowering costs, and industrial automation is the natural solution. Once reserved for mission-critical and heavy industrial sectors, today’s automation solutions can be tailored to virtually any manufacturing process or environment. Knowing how to do this effectively, however, is not as easy as it may seem. Comau’s Mike Sam, COO of Adaptive Solutions, explains how today’s producers can make au​tomation work for their plants and their processes.

When did you first join Comau?

I joined Comau in 2012 as the Global Director of Engineering for Adaptive Solutions, and after a few years, I was promoted to COO. Because I spent the early part of my career in the automotive industry, I was interested in pursuing opportunities to put automation to work outside the automotive market. At Comau, we work with customers from a diverse crosssection of industries, including aerospace, commercial vehicle, heavy industrial, railway and renewable energy. We strive to develop targeted automation solutions that meet the specific requirements of their business needs.

How has the organization developed since you started?

Over the years, Comau has invested heavily in building a global organization in order to provide localized support to its Customers all over the world. The organization has now evolved into a culturally diverse team that collaborates across Comau’s entire global footprint. This level of multiculturalism is now an integral part of the company’s values and an important aspect that helps us manage the increasing globalization of the market.

Through continued commitment to the employees, Comau has made strides in consistent investments in its people through training, Project Management Academy courses, Masters in Automation programs, and much more. This commitment fosters an environment that encourages innovation, forward thinking ideas, and continuous process and product improvement.

Adaptive Solutions. What can you tell us about your business?

Adaptive Solutions caters to a diverse cross section of industries. Our Customers’ needs are often very different from one another, which requires us to listen and understand the specific requirements and business objectives of each of our Customers. Our team specializes in going beyond everyday ideas to transform common practices into one-of-a-kind processes. From engineering process definition and industrial equipment design, to manufacturing and installation, we provide high quality, innovative solutions to meet emerging automation demands of our Customers and increase their competitiveness in the market.

What are the challenges you typically face when evaluating a new project?

Since we work with Customers in a variety of markets, there is no such thing as a typical challenge. We are required to keep an open-mind in our approach, while staying true to our execution standards. Following our project management processes, we ensure consistent project execution while being flexible to accommodate the needs of our Customers.

Can you explain your approach to process engineering?

A process engineering study is an out-of-the-box evaluation of a solution to a manufacturing challenge. These studies bring simulated process improvements to life in a technologically advanced world where change and innovation are necessary. Our approach is highly collaborative, working alongside our Customer’s engineering team to share ideas, leverage joint expertise and work together to develop the best possible solution for the task at hand. By having the entire team be involved in creating the solution, this ensures the development and launch phase run more smoothly. Through this collaborative effort, we are able to develop turnkey solutions together with each Customer to address their specific manufacturing requirements and meet the demands of each individual industry.

How important is process engineering for your Customers?

Process engineering is a key ingredient in the development of the right manufacturing solution. We understand that every Customer has a different starting point when it comes to automation, so we work with our Customers to determine exactly where to begin. This gives them a logical and relevant approach that helps define their innovative needs, and helps develop solutions to achieve them while keeping costs low.

What other values do you feel Comau brings to the table?

Our diverse product portfolio, ranging from machining and assembly systems to robotics and material handling applications, is an asset. We are able to support our customer’s needs throughout the entire manufacturing process chain. With over 40 years of field-proven experience in automation, we continue to stay at the forefront of technology and process innovation. These factors go a long way in helping us meet the evolving needs of the markets we serve.

Is there anything else you would like to add in terms of future direction?

In the technologically advanced world that we live in today, it is important to embrace change and constantly look for ways to improve the efficiency of our common processes. The traditional plant with the traditional processes do not provide the efficiency and automation that industries are demanding today, so we do our best to anticipate the needs of the market segments we cater to. It is through manufacturing automation where we find the greatest return on investment for our customers. By using innovative technology and investing in research and development to develop our own products, we aim to offer a variety of products and services to our customers. Automation is everywhere, and we plan to be a key partner in the growth of all manufacturing sectors in the years to come.