Replace older systems with innovative solutions: Bonfiglioli and the GR250 grinding machine.

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Bonfiglioli recently renewed part of its machine inventory to maximise production efficiency in its Bologna plant through the reduction of downtime. To meet this need, Samputensili responded with two dual table GR 250 Grinding Machine for grinding worm screws.

Reducing downtime

Producing a wide variety of high quality products at elevated production rates is possible thanks to the use of cutting-edge machine tools. This is why Bonfiglioli has always invested in the purchase of technologically advanced solutions, and precisely in this regard it recently installed two Samputensili GR 250 grinders for worm screws.

“Our philosophy is to periodically update our machines to replace the older systems with innovative solutions that allow us to increase the efficiency of the process” explains Mauro Nanni, Operation Engineering Manager of Bonfiglioli. “As far as machine tools are concerned we rely on just a few suppliers that have been carefully selected, including Samputensili. We have been working with them for a very long time, and it could not have been otherwise considering the fact that Clementino Bonfiglioli worked in Samputensili before founding Bonfiglioli Riduttori, and therefore knew very well both the technologies developed and the manufacturer’s approach to its customers”.

Thanks to this long-established partnership, Bonfiglioli turned to Samputensili for the replacement of some of the machines that have become old and inefficient. “One of our goals was to increase productivity without disturbing the machine’s operation, reducing the downtimes while processing the entire lot”, explains Nanni. “To meet this need, Samputensili proposed the GR 250 Grinding Machine worm screw grinding machines equipped with a dual table, making it possible to perform operations while the machine is running that are not of added value like loading/unloading pieces or measuring components. These operations therefore do not affect production times, and the productivity of the whole lot is higher”.

Dual table, maximum efficiency

In industry, the success of a family-run business depends largely on the will of the founder to invest constantly in the acquisition of new production technologies. An approach that has allowed many Italian entrepreneurs to start small businesses that have evolved over the years into top global players. This is the case for Bonfiglioli, a company based in Emilia-Romagna, specialised in the production of fast gearboxes and gear motors, that has become one of the world’s leading companies in the trade.

Evolution of the company

Bonfiglioli’s story began in 1956 when Clementino Bonfiglioli decided to start a business machining gears intended primarily for agricultural machines and motorcycles. These were two sectors that were difficult to manage due to their seasonality, which made precise production planning difficult. For this reason, after a few years Bonfiglioli decided to approach the steadier and appetising industrial sector, manufacturing gearboxes and gear motors. This was a move that made it possible for the company to grow steadily over the years thanks to a series of strategic operations aimed at expanding the product portfolio and, consequently, the customer base. Over the years, important acquisitions of companies in Italy, like Trasmital and Tecnoingranaggi, and abroad, like the German Vectron and O&K Antriebstechnik, have allowed for an expansion of its production portfolio and completed the range of gear motors and electronic drives produced in both size and function.

In 2016 Bonfiglioli presented its EVO project, which calls for an expansion of the facilities in Calderara di Reno to 58,500 sq.m. of surface area, bringing together all the production activities that today are performed in various locations in the Emilia region. An investment of €60 million that will employ 600 employees, producing 800,000 units per year. The new structure will incorporate all the principles of Industry 4.0 and will act as a benchmark production plant for further developments in other Bonfiglioli facilities worldwide.

Global partner

Today, the company is directly present in 16 different countries around the world, with subsidiaries and manufacturing sites employing a total of 3,700 people.

The turnover of €789 million in 2016 demonstrated significant growth compared to the €730 million of the previous year. A growth driven by the Asian market, with China and India in the lead, followed by other points of excellence like Brazil and the United States. Customer profile: Bonfiglioli Germany, Italy, France and Spain represent the major EMEA markets, together accounting for 55% of turnover.

“From the point of view of production, we have two business areas: Mobile&Wind and Industrial”, explains Massimo Sarti, Bonfiglioli’s Strategic Marketing and Communication Director. “Mobile and Wind sectors have been combined into a single business unit because they have much in common. The technology behind the products used in these areas is similar, as is the business model. In fact, we deal with a small number of very large customers who operate on a global basis. For our industrial customers, we have an area dedicated entirely to the construction of industrial gear motors and another focused on electronic and mechatronic products, both destined for a wide range of applications: food processing machines, packaging and packing, transport on belts, automatic warehouses, rubber and plastic extruders, textile, woodworking and many others”.

“Most of the products made for the industrial world is modular”, continues Mauro Nanni, Operation Engineering Manager of Bonfiglioli. “In our production facilities, we produce lots with high volumes of various components for gearboxes and gear motors. Depending on the specific needs of the end user, we ‘construct’ a solution that is custom designed but equally reliable and functional, precisely because the single components used are standardised, therefore widely tested and optimised”.