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An award for innovation to 4D Hybrid project of which Comau is a partner

An innovative autonomous robot that can detect and repair vertical metal surfaces, including in offshore environments: this is the first important result of the 4D Hybrid EU project, in which Comau is one of the partners, that recently was awarded the Overall Grand Prix of the Innovation Radar Prize 2019.

Funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020, the 4D Hybrid project is an Italian-coordinated project that involves 20 partners (including 12 industrial players) from 10 different countries.

What's the 4D Hybrid project?

4D Hybrid aims to develop a new concept of hybrid additive manufacturing, supporting the Maintenance Repairing Operation (MRO) value chain with particular focus on medium to large size high-added value components.

In its first two years, also thanks to the collaboration of Comau, 4D Hybrid project developed an autonomous robot that can detect and repair vertical metal surfaces, also in offshore environments. The robot includes both a 3D Scanner and a Cold Spray gun. Thanks to a 3D scanner it's possible to reconstruct the surface and individuate the corrosion/defects on a metal surface. A Cold Spray system deposits new metal coating – stainless steel or aluminium – on the surface.

What are the main topics of the 4D Hybrid Autonomous robot?

The autonomous robot developed in partnership with Comau is designed in order to repair all metal surfaces – corroded or not – whether in presence of water and dirt; and with an outside temperature ranging between 3°C and 35°C.

To climb vertically the slippery surfaces, the robot is a tracked vehicle, equipped with two robust rubber belts that adhere to the surface thanks to a vacuum-based adherence system. The robot to can move back/forth and rotate on its main axis.

In line with what developed during the project, Comau will launch a new generation of machine tools for additive manufacturing and milling operations.

What are the benefits of the 4D Hybrid project?

4D Hybrid project develops a new concept of additive manufacturing based on the modular integration of compact and low-cost modules that while performing the same certified process in different places/phases of product lifecycle drastically reduce repair cost. 4D Hybrid modules can be integrated in any type of manufacturing equipment, thus avoiding major overhaul at plant level. The 4D Hybrid robot, developed in partnership with Comau, therefore make it possible to reduce the surging costs relate to repair and maintenance operations that currently affect Aerospace, Oil & Gas and Power Generation industries.

What kind of award won the 4D Hybrid Autonomous robot?

4D Hybrid project was awarded the Overall Grand Prix of the Innovation Radar Prize 2019. The Innovation Radar (IR) is a European Commission initiative to identify high potential innovations and innovators in EU-funded research and innovation projects. 4D Hybrid project is is an Italian-coordinated project: the consortium is lead by PrimaIndustrie and involve 12 industrial players form 10 countries operating as technology suppliers, end users and a Communication and Dissemination partner (Politecnico di Torino, Comau, 3D NT, IRIS, Keenbull, MCI). SUPSI (The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland) is responsible for the research technical coordination of 4D Hybrid.

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