Italian tyre maker Pirelli has opened its Digital Solutions Centre Pirelli (DSC) in Bari, Italy, said to be the first development centre entirely focused on digital innovation. Pirelli deems it as “an example of joint effort between the public and private sectors and the academic world”. The first ten employees, to grow to at least 50 from now until 2025, are already involved in the development of software and algorithms for advanced processes of planning, manufacturing and marketing of the group’s tyres throughout the world.
Among the key projects being developed are the big data platform for the collection, transformation and analysis of all the data from the company’s various ecosystems. This instrument enables the processing of algorithms to speed up product development times, further improve its quality, maximise machine efficiency, optimise commercial effectiveness and create new digital services.
In addition, thanks to the new algorithms – supporting all company and factory functions – Pirelli will be able to conduct studies directly on the tyre’s “Digital Twin”, the digital replica of the physical product that enables the design and development of new performance analyses on virtual prototypes. In addition, thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things it will be possible to optimise the supply chain through predictive modelling of demand and improve production processes, predict maintenance of machinery with benefits in terms of cost and development times and savings of energy consumption and transformation costs.
The centre can count on a number of technologies including those of the Innovation room, a space which allows true digital co-working between employees in Bari and the around 500 people of the Pirelli digital team worldwide. It will also permit interaction with Pirelli headquarters, Pirelli’s 18 plants in the world, suppliers, clients and the various university hubs with which the company collaborates in open innovation projects and skills’ exchange.
The University of Bari and the Bari Polytechnic are taking leading roles in the space at Via Mazzitelli, so much so that it includes an area to host working teams from both universities, which include training in digital skills among their excellent educational programs. With the University of Bari and with the Bari Polytechnic Pirelli in finalising two cooperation projects aimed, respectively, at optimising production processes in the factories through the development of smart manufacturing systems and support digitalization and artificial intelligence in the various phases of a tyre’s development.
The cooperation program with the two academies entails, in addition, courses with the participation of Pirelli managers, the realisation of other joint R&D projects and initiatives such as career days, seminars and hackathons, as well as internship programs and funding for research doctorates.
The development of the DSC consolidates the ties between Pirelli and the world of universities and strengthens the open innovation model that today sees the company at work in around 58 projects with 12 universities.
The cooperation of the digital area with the academic world and completes that of Pirelli R&D, with its 13 internal research centres which employ over 2,000 people worldwide.
In Italy, in particular, Pirelli already actively cooperates with the Milan Polytechnic, the Turin Polytechnic, the Bocconi University, Milan’s Cattolica University, the University of Turin, the University of Pisa and the University of Milan Bicocca.