Artificial intelligence in factory
Management of warehouses and logistics, relationship with customers, choice of offers and product prices more and more companies rely on algorithms: in 2022 investments in Piedmont will exceed 43 million
Turin, 7 June 2023
by Diego Molino
Perhaps it is too early to talk about a revolution, but artificial intelligence applied to industry 4.0, i.e. the one that adopts already advanced manufacturing processes, is a growing segment that in the world of small and medium-sized enterprises lends itself to various uses: the management of logistics and production network, data collection and analysis to optimize sales, or automated warehouse management. All elements that aim to improve the company’s competitiveness in its reference sector. In 2022, the Artificial Intelligence market in Piedmont exceeded 43 million euros of investment, with a growth prospect to almost 73 million in 2024.
A moment of transformation that also affects SMEs and was the subject of yesterday afternoon’s series of meetings organized by Piccola Industria Confindustria and Anitec-Assinform, in the Turin headquarters of the Industrial Union.
Another relevant figure concerns the percentage of Piedmontese companies with at least a basic level of digitization (which also includes AI), which grew to 74.8% in 2022 compared to 61.8% the previous year. What are the practical aspects in which artificial intelligence is used in Turin manufacturing today? An example is that of the Scarpe&Scarpe chain of retail stores, specialized in the footwear, leather goods and clothing sector, born in Borgaro in 1961. «We introduced this technology in January, so we still have to get up to speed – says Marika Buono, Strategic Planning, Finance & Operations Control Manager — Throughout Italy we have 135 points of sale, every year we sell about 60,000 items: through the AI we collect sales data daily to build a diversified offering for each of our locations. For example, we can place a specific pair of shoes in the store where it is most likely to be purchased». Artificial intelligence is also used to define the best offer during sales, helping the company to more easily reach the pre-set margin goal.
AI functionalities have also made their entry into the Azimut/Benetti Group plant in Avigliana, which has been the world’s leading megayacht manufacturer for 23 years: in this case the technology is used for cybersecurity activities, to manage the process productive and to optimize relationships with customers and other companies. Another case in the Turin area is that of Baldissero Canavese’s Space2000, a company specializing in the production of outerwear and urbanwear: over the years the company has invested more than 4 million euros to build its new automated vertical warehouse, whose management is made possible thanks to artificial intelligence algorithms.
AI also comes to the aid of the textile and fashion sector. This is the case of the Director Pattern Group of Collegno, a leading company in the production of prototypes of luxury men’s outerwear and clothing. «We have introduced 3D design, which in the world of fashion is not at all obvious – explains Laura Del Noce, ICT & CAD Group – In this case Artificial Intelligence gives us a big hand in cutting the fabric, which was previously made manually”. The new machine, on the other hand, “reads” the fabric to be cut, identifies any imperfections and autonomously modifies the design so that the result complies with what was designed. «AI and 3D design allow us to be more sustainable because we don’t make all the garments in fabric, but only those that are really needed» says Del Noce. –