IEN Europe: At SPS 2019, Bonfiglioli showed how the company embraced the digital transformation. Why did you decide to go in this direction?
G. Khawam: Bonfiglioli Digital journey led to many initiatives, activities and projects both for Internal processes digitalization and also for market needs.
Being an electromechanical international company operating in many sectors of activities, in many countries, it is essential for us to be with our customer during their digital transformation. Our digital transformation drivers are mainly three:
- Increase efficiency within internal processes
- Generation of unique customer experience while interacting with us
- Creation of additional value thanks to products and services in terms of digital functionalities and developing value proposition and business models
IEN Europe: How does your digital transformation dashboard work?
G. Khawam: After some inspirational tours, visits, consultancies, Bonfiglioli defined a list of activities to complete for the digital transformation.
We went through review and prioritization with 2 key dimensions: Alignment with Future Ambitions and Stage of Development. This led to define a roadmap of promising initiatives. Thanks to the adoption of Agile methodology, we were able to have rapidly some of those initiatives up and running.
During this journey, customers are also involved and participating in the initiatives. All the projects and initiatives roadmap, outcomes and deliverables are part of our Digital transformation dashboard. The dashboard is reviewed monthly during the “Business Innovation committee” in presence of company CEO and main stakeholders.
IEN Europe: How can gearboxes, drives and inverters contribute to the digital transformation?
G. Khawam: Gearboxes, Drives and Inverters are part of machines. Their functioning is critical to the machine’s uptime, to machine’s maintenance costs, to the machine performance, to the energy consumption, to safety of the machines. Machines users are looking more and more to KPI such as Total Cost of Ownership and Overall Equipment Efficiency, it is becoming increasingly important to have all those KPI optimized continuously. Optimizing those KPI becomes therefore a competitive cost advantage by reducing the OPEX. Moreover, machines safety is primordial also and working environment is to be more user-friendly.
At Bonfiglioli, we are working on providing Valuable useful information to the users of the machines based on data and signals generated by the different components of the Power transmission system.
This approach will allow users to have the most relevant information to:
- Better plan the machine maintenance
- To optimize the throughput of their machines
- To optimize the energy consumption and therefore improve its efficiency, heat dissipation, and energy costs
- To access remotely and from almost anywhere to the machine information for a higher reactivity and decision making
IEN Europe: How AI, IoT and industrial communication are impacting the motion control sector?
G. Khawam: The motion control sector can and will benefit a lot from new technologies. From one side the actual products are expected to be “digitally enhanced” to allow the extraction of additional data, from the other side the infrastructure around the products is expected to open communication channels and to add computational intelligence to elaborate the data into meaningful information for users. This will lead to more advanced and innovative services.
Model based estimation and Artificial Intelligence will be the core technology to deploy and deliver such innovative services in the most effective and efficient way for any Bonfiglioli products. The IIoT platform plays also a key role to support the new service business model. Such information will be valuable to improve the products and to maximize their quality.
IEN Europe: Energy efficiency is still a big topic for Bonfiglioli and you demonstrated how efficient can be your motors in combination with your drives. Which step forward can be further expected?
A. Chinello: Together with our synchronous reluctance motor series BSR (IE4 efficiency class), our R&D team has developed and released the frequency inverter software to control this type of motor in the most efficient and performant way, resulting in a Power Drive System which meets and exceeds the requirements for the IES2 efficiency classification. Such software control is now available in the Active Cube frequency inverter series and we are planning to further extend it also to other inverter series.
More in general, our industrial motor offer is increasing its efficiency level thanks to new series to be soon released to the market.
A further step is about the full compliance of our frequency inverter series with the new Ecodesign directive. Compliance to IE2 inverter efficiency class is already reality, but we are targeting to make a step forward to demonstrate the margins (and additional energy benefits) we can obtain compared with the basic requirements set by the European norms.