Comau began as the Consorzio Macchine Utensili
The consortium was formed by the same Torino-based engineers and companies that helped build the landmark Volga Automobile Plant in Russia.
In 1966, when Soviet officials wanted to build a state-of-the-art factory from the ground up, they turned to a group of Torino-based engineers for answers. These engineers worked through the long list of obstacles—from finding the ideal layout of the factory floor to how the newly designed car would handle the frigid Russian weather. One by one, the engineers met and solved these problems, producing a plant deemed “unprecedented.”
Upon their return to Torino, Italy, these engineers and the companies they represented decided to pool their talent and skills to create a new organization that would become recognized around the world as Comau.
Comau expands in the United States
In the second half of the 80s, Comau develops the first laser robots, immediately deploying them within GM.
Comau’s history spans the years that witnessed the transformation of car production and the culture of industrial automation that stands behind it.
While creating the first FMS (Flexible Manufacturing Systems) and developing technologies for high-speed machining, Comau expands into the United States. It creates CPS (Comau Productivity Systems), for commercial and industrial development within North America. Shortly thereafter, Comau’s competence and innovation captures the attention of General Motors, which invests in Comau and buys 20% of the company.
In the second half of the 1980s the massive development of laser technology begins and Comau, working together with Trumpf, creates the first laser robots, which were in high demand at GM.
Comau expands globally
Multiple operating centers and manufacturing plants open in South American, Europe, North America and Asia.
By the 1990s, the industrial sector had spread across the globe. As the world’s largest manufacturing giants continued to hunt for new locations, Comau opened its doors in other European countries, as well as in North and South America, and in Asia.
The dawn of the new millennium brought the Lean Production paradigm with it. As always, Comau kept its focus on the leading edge of technology and began developing new solutions in the fields of Aerospace, Commercial and Heavy Vehicles, Railway and Renewable Energies.
Comau Service is established
Comau expands into China, Russia and Romania after acquiring Renault Automation in France and Pico in the USA, Mexico, Germany and the UK.
Comau continues to grow within multiple international markets, expanding its presence in Europe, and opening Comau China, Romania and Russia.
Having acquired Renault Automation SA in France, which specialized in engineering, metal cutting, mechanical assembly and final assembly of the body frame, Comau also acquired PICO, a leader in the United States for the production of body frame lines, in the USA, Mexico, Germany and the UK.
By early 2000, the newly established Comau Service organization begins supplying manufacturing services for equipment and production processes, as well as asset management, via professional maintenance partnerships.
New product lines
Comau launches Comau Aerospace, eComau and Comau Adaptive Solutions.
Along with the consolidation of Comau technological solutions and the opening of the Group to non-automotive sectors, Comau launches new business lines—Comau Aerospace, eComau, and Comau Adaptive Solutions—to better respond to market needs.
Comau continues to create adaptive solutions based on the concepts of Lean Manufacturing. These solutions increasingly improve operational efficiency within the Aerospace, Commercial Vehicles, Heavy Vehicles, Railways and Renewable Energies sectors.
Significant resources are dedicated to transforming environmental responsibility into verifiable energy savings. With the launch of eComau, Comau begins providing tangible solutions to help companies achieve sustainability goals and ensure the highest possible energy efficiency.
In the meantime, Comau continues its territorial expansion: in Asia, with three new plants in China, and in Europe, with the opening of Comau Czech Republic, Turkey and new premises in Germany. There’s also an extension to the Comau Mexico plant and inauguration of Comau premises in Thailand and Brazil.
HUMANufacturing, a collaborative path to Industry 4.0
Driving innovation and excellence into the factories of the future.
Confirming its increasingly extensive global presence, Comau inaugurates the HUMANufacturing Innovation Center (Pisa, Italy) and opens a new premise in the UK. Shortly thereafter, the company opens Digital Hubs in Turin and Bari (Italy) and specialized laser laboratories in Turin, Shanghai and Detroit, to optimize the production of batteries and electric motors.
Comau continues to extend and enhance its product range to include small robots (the Racer family and the Rebel-S SCARA robot) , new machine tools and innovative design strategies through which standard technologies can be customized for multiple applications: Welding guns, RHEvo roller hemming, the SmartDrive800L modular and flexible work center, and LHYTE laser hybrid technology.
Comau’s on-going research into innovative automation solutions is designed to meet the challenges of a constantly developing market and new requirements determined by the digital revolution. Through the concept of HUMANufacturing (Human Manufacturing), the company expresses its powerful vision of the evolved factory: “smart”, flexible, mobile and and connected, where people are at the center of the production process and collaborate efficiently and safely with robots, wearable technologies and other industrial machines.
To this end Comau commercializes its AURA (Advanced Use Robotic Arm) industrial co-bot and the Agile1500 autonomous mobile robot and the MATE wearable exoskeleton. It also develops enabling digital transformation technologies including HMIs, advanced vision systems, the in.Grid data mining platform and the Vir.GIL virtual assistant. In 2020, Comau unveils its new MATE-XT exoskeleton for indoor and outdoor use, which improves work quality by providing consistent and advanced ergonomic movement assistance during repetitive or daily tasks.
Comau innovation in the area of education sees the introduction of new Executive Master courses and many other learning projects offered through Comau Academy. As part of its new paradigm in interactive learning, Comau unveils e.DOTM, a small, 6-axis articulated robot with an easy, program-it-yourself philosophy and 100% open-source software and hardware architecture. The e.DOTM .
Experience Suite, an educational program designed for users of all ages, promotes a pragmatic, hand-on approach to learning based on the e.DO robotic platform.
Comau’s history, like its future, is rooted in innovation and discovery. The best is yet to come.