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INESC TEC inaugurates laboratory for industry and innovation

iiLab’s mission is to demonstrate and to disclose concepts and advanced technologies for the digitalisation of production including robotics, automation, simulation, virtual and augmented reality, and decision support and cyber-physical systems.

13th June 2019

The lab will be an experimentation, prototyping and advanced training space, specially geared towards industrial companies that use and develop technologies.

“We want our lab to be an open space for enhancing the collaboration between industrial and academic communities. By using the technological solutions that we have and our scientific know-how, our goal is to have a decisive role in the competitiveness of the national economy”, explains Luís Carneiro, Member of the Executive Board of INESC TEC.

António Paulo Moreira, coordinator of INESC TEC’s Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CRIIS), adds that: “We want entrepreneurs to be able to visit the space, which is similar to industrial plants, and to take ideas from there and to try out some solutions without having to stop the assembly line of their own companies”.

Besides the demonstration of the different technologies, the laboratory will also offer a training component. Postgraduate courses will be available for senior executives and engineers focused on new technologies of industry 4.0. According to Américo Azevedo, Coordinator of the Centre for Enterprise Systems Engineering (CESE), the goal is to train and inform, since many industrial entrepreneurs are still unfamiliar with the background of the industry 4.0.

The investment in iiLab

The laboratory is already equipped with 12 robots with applications in different industrial sectors. Some examples are the automotive and aerospace industries, represented by ColRobot that helps the human operator in the assembly processes inherent to these sectors, the food industry, which has Triho to assist in the distribution of hospital meals or other heavy loads with a transport that is inefficient or harmful. Other examples of applications transversal to the industry will be available in the laboratory. 

IiLab represents an investment of over one million Euro from national projects with funding under the Portugal 2020 programme - around EUR 700 000 -, European funding projects - approximately EUR 300 000 - and service provision to companies - about EUR 300 000.

Inauguration of iiLab

On 28 May, iiLab was inaugurated. This inauguration was part of the Technological Demonstrator initiative “Tecnologias de Produção e Sistemas Ciber-físicos” (in English Manufacturing Technologies and Cyber-physical Systems”), which was promoted by the Portuguese National Innovation Agency (ANI).

The opening session was held in the Main Auditorium of INESC TEC’s headquarters by José Manuel Mendonça, Chairman of INESC TEC's Board, followed by Eduardo Maldonado, Chairman of ANI’s Board and João Correia Neves, Secretary of State of Economy.

After the arrival of the delegation to the iiLab’s premises, at around 10:30 a.m., the ribbon that marked the official inauguration of the laboratory was cut. A visit was then made to iiLab and to the thirteen technological demonstrators exhibited in the laboratory - autonomous freight transport of trailers, freight transport with robotic manipulator, freight transport for outdoor, cargo transport, autonomous stacker, internal logistics based on conveyor belts and intelligent autonomous vehicles, collaborative and adaptive mobile manipulators, collaborative robotic line for packaging, human-robot cooperation for assembly, advanced plant model, operational simulation of production lines, supply chain simulation and industry 4.0 applied to the footwear industry.

Also in the context of ANI’s technological demonstrator, a visit to INESC TEC’ Laboratory of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles was made, which is located in the headquarters. A number of technologies were also exhibited here, from the energy, to robotics for the deep sea or for agriculture, or augmented reality technologies. António Bob Santos, Member of ANI’s Board was responsible for closing the session.

This event SIAC – Initiative of Knowledge Transfer aimed at involving the national business world with the results of innovation and scientific and technology-based entrepreneurship.

The Initiative of Knowledge Transfer is an ANI’s project co-funded by COMPETE 2020 through the Portugal 2020 and the European Regional Development Fund.

iiLab is co-funded by the Interface Programme FITEC.


The iiLab team

About 30 to 40 researchers of the Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CRIIS) and the Centre for Enterprise Systems Engineering (CESE) will be associated to iiLab. The following INESC TEC collaborators were part of the task force that made the inauguration of this laboratory possible: A. Paulo Moreira, Américo Azevedo, António Lucas Soares, Germano Veiga, Manuel Silva, Hélio Mendonça, Ana Barros, Cláudia Rocha, Tiago Mendonça, Joana Dias, Paulo Rebelo, Carlos Costa, Marcelo Petry, Luís Rocha, Diana Guimarães, Rafael Arrais, Héber Sobreira, Eurico Sousa, Paulo Costa, Pedro Costa, J. Magalhães Lima, João Pedro Souza, Henrique Domingos, Paulo Ribeiro, Pedro Melo, João Basto, Narciso Romão, Rui Dias, Elder Hernandez, César Toscano, Roberto Vita, Ana Simões, Flávia Ferreira, Grasiela Almeida, Marta Oliveira and Sandra Pinto.


The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UP-FEUP.