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Intellectual resources26th of November 2012
Italian reporter Anna Garbagna with news of a planning workshop in Milan that took place recently.
AfidampFAB (Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machines, Products and Equipment for Professional Cleaning and Hygiene of environments) has been cooperating with the faculty of industrial design at the Politecnico di Milano in order to allow students to develop technological solutions for the professional cleaning sector.
This cooperation, in the first six months of this year, involved a group of 25 students, guided by professor Francesco Trabucco, in the development of a brief supplied by floor machine producer RCM. With this initiative, the association intends to emphasise how innovation - achieved through research - is the only way to increase companies’ competitiveness and ability to face today’s economic situation.
RCM accepted the proposal and it carried out a workshop with the Politecnico di Milano.
Stefania Verrienti, general secretary of AfidampFAB explained: "University is the ideal place for real innovation to develop and the association will therefore also promote for the next academic year a planning workshop which allows other companies to repeat RCM’s experience.
Unfortunately not all companies understand what strategic advantages can originate from this kind of experience with Politecnico di Milano, which is recognised as a University of Excellence at European level. Afidamp’s main objective is to raise awareness about research in the associated companies and to allow them to access intellectual resources which are within universities with an affordable investment."
Professor Francesco Trabucco, workshop coordinator, explained how it was a particularly interesting job from the educational point of view, because the main objective was not the creation of ready-to-use machines but the students' comprehension of how to develop planning skills and to find solutions to problems and requests that companies pose from time to time.
"Innovation and design can be of two types: disruptive (using the American term) or continuous.
In this sector the latter is inevitably the one that prevails, because machines can seemingly present no novelties, but going into specific aspects - where some of them have
been developed by our students - differences and improvements are considerable".
Romolo Raimondi from RCM emphasised how the experience was extremely positive. "At a time when funding for research is being reduced and research is more and more relevant, it is absolutely necessary to treasure opportunities such as this one in order to produce ideas
and projects which lead to concrete innovations.
"It is an experience I would recommend to everyone," Riccardo Raimondi added, "because compared to the effect of development of some machine characteristics, the result has been really surprising. The students really showed the desire to look ahead and to propose intelligent and functional solutions, small in their manifestation but able to really change the mode of operation".
Continuing on the topic of training, which is vital for machine operators, one of the main activities of the machine group - which is coordinated within Afidamp by Riccardo Raimondi himself - is a proposal to set up a sort of driving licence for cleaners who operate scrubber dryers.