Bonfiglioli Begins Digitalization and Industry 4.0 Initiatives for New Production Facility

Bonfiglioli's Evolution initiative begins with a new production facility which will have various digitalization and Industry 4.0 practices put into place.

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EVOLUTION is a new goal for significant transformation and growth that Bonfiglioli Riduttori has developed over the past 10 years. It lays the foundation for the group’s competent leap into digitalization and realignment of its work and production to Industry 4.0. This evolution is currently under way in its production, where each individual methodically aims to improve performance. It is the result of a shared company culture and a strong sense of belonging. This concept is the heart of two years of work toward phasing out the plants in Vignola and Calderara, in preparation for the new plant whose cornerstone is being laid today.

EVO will stand on the “Clementino Bonfiglioli” site at Calderara di Reno, Italy, near Bologna, an area of 148,700 m2 whose usable surface amounts to 58,500 m2, and the green area 56,000 m2. EVO will welcome the group business unit dedicated to industrial power transmission, which represents the group’s traditional business. Focusing on serving the industrial machinery market, which in recent years has been enjoying a significant revival, the plant is based on a strategic plan for all company functions. The company’s ultimate, ambitious goal is to re-position itself on the global markets.

EVO is, first and foremost, a cultural and technological innovation project: The Bonfiglioli group aims at sustainable growth based on the contribution of each individual. The work environment is therefore a fundamental key to success. EVO is designed around these principles, for a digital revolution with people at the center of technology. It follows the Bonfiglioli Digital Re-Training program, the first concrete example in Italy of a holistic approach to skills development in a re-qualification course that includes technical and cultural content. The real challenge is changing the mindset, starting with the heart of the company: its factories.

Staff will have a chance to acquire skills such as change management, learning agility and 4.0 communication. They will get a better understanding of Industry 4.0, big data, digital twin and so on. The course has already begun with a pilot project that now involves the first 15 workers of the future EVO plant and which will then be extended to other workers.

This project has been shared with trade union organizations, the Emilia Romagna Regional Council, and training centers. Porsche Consulting is the technical consultant.

Sonia Bonfiglioli explains, "Manufacturing for us is the belief that the ‘hand’ should always be at the center of work, that is, the will and control of people. Whether using traditional machines or robots, we are always dealing with tools that remain inert objects if there is no human being moving and using them.

"The person is the heart of everything and his/her capacity to renew and face change has always been part of our history. We are not afraid of change or the challenges that lie ahead of us, and we are sure that our internal retraining course will prepare our people to face the dawn of digitalization without fear.

"Evo is a new factory but, above all, it is a new work concept for the future, built by people for people, with no fear of tomorrow." Since 2013, Bonfiglioli Riduttori has grown by an average of +7.1% per year, for an overall total of 32.3%. In 2017, our revenue was around €808 million, marking a new historical record.

Currently, the group has 3,600 employees around the world and the most significant growth, in market terms, was in Asia and America. Where investments are concerned, the Group has decided to invest €145 million over three years to strengthen its productive presence at national level.