• 05-OCT-2015

Comau collaborates with CNH Industrial on new design strategy



The global manufacturer of automatic assembly systems has called upon the Design team at CNH Industrial to completely revamp the image of its product range. The first results of this collaboration are the SmartDriveComau and SmartRobComau prototypes, which are on display at EMO Milano 2015, the international exhibition for the Machine Tools Industry, which is currently on in Milan, Italy from October 5–10.

Comau, the global manufacturer of automatic and flexible manufacturing systems, has partnered with capital goods company CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI /MI: CNHI) to develop a new design philosophy that will characterise the DNA of its entire future product range. The concept is being launched at EMO Milano 2015, the international exhibition for the Machine Tools Industry, which is taking place in Milan, Italy from October 5 – 10.

Part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group (FCA), Comau is renowned for its high performance powertrain manufacturing systems, especially in the automotive industry. This new design is a departure from the familiar appearance of industrial automation systems used in factories. It is a futuristic, contained and attractive proposal that both Comau and CNH Industrial’s Design team hope will dictate a transformation of the traditional shop floor environment in terms of quality, precision, cleanliness and aesthetics.

In an interesting twist, the designers of the products that are subsequently assembled by Comau machines have now been commissioned with designing the machine that makes their machines. The CNH Industrial Design team, directed by David Wilkie, was chosen by Comau because of its experience and success in aesthetically enhancing the product line-ups belonging to CNH Industrial’s brands, which operate in the agricultural machinery, construction machinery and commercial vehicles sectors. Comau felt that this gave the team a unique insight to reimagine its own factory-based products.

The two concepts being presented at EMO Milano 2015 are the first results of this collaboration. “Comau wanted to do something more modern that reflected the quality of the products that they are manufacturing,” explained David Wilkie, Director of Design at CNH Industrial. “The outcome is a transparent, illuminated box, within which the engine or its components are built. The use of transparent materials was inspired by modern glass structures, aquariums and Plexiglas furniture.” “Comau’s new design concept is a direct response to the importance of industrial automation, and a testimony to the technological excellence of our offer. Current and future products cannot be developed without considering the importance of their design, not only in terms of aesthetics but also functionality and ease of use. By making our machines more transparent – physically as well as metaphorically – we are bringing the values of quality, performance and precision directly to the factory floor,” said Gianluca Bianco, Chief Operating Officer of Comau Powertrain Machining and Assembly.

The design team at CNH Industrial studied lighting concepts used for modern interior design to develop an LED lighting scheme that changes colours throughout the box. The ability to change colours allows Comau’s customers the flexibility to adapt them to their own identity and preference in order to best showcase their manufacturing to anyone visiting their facility. The blueprint engine design etched on the transparent exterior pays homage to Comau’s history in developing this machinery.

“All of this gives the machines a high tech feel that will change the atmosphere within a factory,” explained Guido Bianco, a lead designer at CNH Industrial, whose primary focus is on the New Holland Agriculture brand. “We feel very lucky that we were able to collaborate with a company that does something so different from us, but yet so connected to what we do. It has been a great learning experience to be able to design the machine that builds the tractors that I design.”

​Milan, October 5, 2015


  • Laura Overall
    Corporate Communications Manager
    United Kingdom
    +44 (0)207 7660 338
    +44 (0)7725 632 959
  • Alessia Domanico
    Corporate Communications
    United Kingdom
    +44 (0)207 766 0326
    +44 (0)77 2563 2956
  • Sally Nicolls
    Corporate Communications
    United Kingdom
    +44 (0)207 7660 340