Machine and Manufacturing Control Systems

Research goals


Smart production systems of the future need intelligent control solutions

The 2MaCS research group develops new control systems and innovative automation solutions for increased performance, reliability, energy efficiency and sustainability of production systems

Nowadays, industries have to face frequent and unpredictable market changes. So, to stay competitive, companies must rely on new type of production system, being very responsive to all such changes. Agile, scalable and reliable control systems are a crucial element to properly cope with the considered problem. In particular, fast development, reuse and reconfigurability of already developed automation solutions are fundamental elements to reduce the cost and time needed to engineer and realize a new production system, or to modify an existent one. In such a context, the definition of methodologies and tools that support all the phases of the life cycle of machines, cells and production lines, and of related manufacturing control systems, is mandatory. Specifically, it is necessary to investigate: reference models and standards for the structured development of control systems, verification methods based on formal analysis or dynamic simulation methods, automatic code generation techniques, computer aided control system design tools, innovative (modulating, numeric and logic) control algorithms and emerging automation technologies. Advanced control and supervision systems are enabling technologies to increase the energy efficiency and to reduce the environmental impact of industrial processes, by means of actions at integrated production system level.
Adaptive factory automation solutions fully integrated with the design and production management departments are also a key enabler for green production as well as for consumer oriented products manufacturing.

Research activities

The objective of the 2MaCS group research activities is to develop factories as integrated systems capable to respond to market needs in a fast, efficient, safe and sustainable way, by means of the development and the integration of intelligent control and automation systems.
In particular, the ongoing technological innovation and scientific research activities of the 2MaCS research group are: the study, conception, definition and application of methods and tools for the analysis, design, simulation, implementation and testing of modulating, numeric and logic control systems from machine to distributed manufacturing plant level, with reference also to monitoring, diagnosis and supervision functions.

Advanced CAD-CAM and flexible machining solutions for personalised products manufacturing, developed by 2MaCS

Particular attention is devoted to the following topics:
  • control systems modelling through the object-oriented approach and the use of recent international standards;
  • development methodologies and tools that support the structured design of modular and hierarchic control systems;
  • techniques and tools for the verification of industrial control systems by means of formal analysis and dynamic simulation methods;
  • modulating, numeric and logic control algorithms and methods for manufacturing systems from machine to distributed plant level;
  • PC based advanced controllers exploiting open source software;
  • emerging technologies for the implementation of innovative control solutions;
  • adaptive, energy efficient and green factory automation systems;
  • evolution of factory automation architectures and functions towards solutions embracing energy efficiency at system level;
  • integration of LCA techniques in the automation system to reduce the production processes environmental impact through real time actions at system level;
  • consumer oriented factories based on automation systems strictly coupled with the design and production management departments.

The objective of the above mentioned activities is to contribute to the development of distributed, modular, agile, flexible and high-performing control systems for innovative production systems, within national and international research projects and in synergy with other STIIMA research domains, and with industrial and research partners.

The Pilot Factory for the production of customised shoes, developed within national and European research projects, implementing agile automation solutions, is today exploited for continuous innovation of footwear processes and products, as well as for training of students and workers.

Such research activities are strictly correlated to the Macro, Digital and De-Production Factories frameworks developed by STIIMA-CNR.

Illustrative examples of application results of the 2MaCS group are innovative control solutions for machine tools with redundant axes, which have been applied to industrial machines by leading companies in the laser machine tool sector, novel tools for the design and optimization of production lines and their automation systems, that are adopted today by leading companies in the wood and automotive sectors, new flexible solutions for the production of personalised products with specific reference to applications in the footwear sector.

Tools for the development and validation of flexible and energy efficient factory automation systems.

Particularly, the 2MaCS group has developed and applied on the pilot factory for the production of personalised shoes flexible automation and manufacturing techniques, so developing competences related to the integration of various factory departments: from 3D CAD instruments for product design, to PDM and ERP tools for the management of product-process and value chain data, up to MES-DCS and CAM-CNC solutions for the automation of production lines and the control of operating machines.

In such a context the 2MaCS group has also developed specific experiences and competences related to the design and realization of new machinery for flexible operations with reference to different manufacturing processes like cutting, engraving, skiving, assembly, roughing, gluing and finishing.

2MaCS is currently active with leading roles in various European and national projects dedicated to consumer goods manufacturing through high tech solutions.
Furthermore, 2MaCS is at present active in European and national projects aimed to the development of energy efficient and green factories of the future.

2MaCS is also supplying research and innovation services to industries by means of industrial contracts, focused on the design and optimization of production processes and their automation systems.

Main research project

Customized Green, Safe, Healthy and Smart Work and Sports Wear, EU- FP7-NMP.FoF (2011-2014)
Development of new technologies for the flexible and eco-efficient production of customized healthy clothing, footwear and orthotics for consumers with highly individualised needs, EU- FP7-NMP.FoF (2011-2014)
Eco Manufactured transportation means from Clean and Competitive Factory, EU- FP7-NMP.FoF (2011-2014)
Customer-oriented and eco-friendly networks for healthy fashionable goods, EU- FP7-NMP-ICT.FoF (2010-2013)
Framework of Integrated Technologies for User Centred Products, EU- FP7-NMP-CP targeted to SMEs (2009-2012)
Innovative networks of SMEs for complex products manufacturing, EU-FP7-NMP-CP (2009-2012)
Innovative DEsign and mAnufacturing systems for small series production for European FOOTwear companies, EU- FP7- SMEs (2009-2012)
Special Shoes Movement, EU- FP7-NMP-CP targeted to SMEs (2009-2012)
ADvanced Digital technologies and virtual engineering for mini-Factories, EU-FP7-NMP-ICT-FOF-CP (2013-2016)
European Consumer Goods Research Initiative, EU FPVII NMP FOF CSA (2011-2013)
Fabbrica Intelligente per la De-produzione Avanzata e Sostenibile, Accordo Quadro di collaborazione tra Regione Lombardia e il Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) (2013-2016)

Redundant laser machine for rapid production and personalization of fashion products.

key words

Advanced Machine Control; Adaptive Factory Automation; Energy Efficient and Green Production; Consumer Centred Manufacturing.

Andrea Ballarino


Eng. Andrea Ballarino - Milano
2MaCS Group responsible
andrea.ballarino [at]