The IoTwins Bonfiglioli's project to virtually recreate a productive process

Awarded during the A&T 2021 virtual fair and supported by European funding from the Horizon 2020 plan, the IoTwins project, started in 2019 and of which Bonfiglioli is the leader, aims to create a "digital twin" based on big data, capable of virtually reproducing a production processand to evaluate all the possibilities for improvement. It's designed for more precise, targeted applications capable of supporting an all-around improvement of the production process.

What is IoTwins?

The IoTwins project started in 2019 with the aim of designing and developing a platform capable of providing a single access point for:

●       heterogeneous computing

●       high storage capacity

●       interconnection

making it easier to develop important workloads. The platform will also provide interfaces for data analysis and artificial intelligence techniques, physical simulation, optimization and virtual lab services, interactive access to data on virtual storage, remote visualization, and support for high-performance end-to-end data transfers. It will be unique and structured to embrace multiple applications, so as to be available for European SMEs in different industrial sectors, even different ones than those of the partners involved.


IoTwins has successfully addressed issues such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things applied to manufacturing and infrastructure. It is a synergistic action that involves, in addition to Bonfiglioli, also the University of Bologna, which leads the scientific coordination, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Cineca, Barcelona Super Computing Center and the Emilia-Romagna Region with Art-ER.

There are 23 partners from 8 European countries. The goal was clear: to experiment Big Data technologies and supercomputing for companies, creating models capable of simulating production or infrastructure management processes in the laboratory, allowing preventive maintenance, process optimization and increase in production, detecting errors and critical issues before they go into production.


To achieve the digitalization mission of industrial processes and products, the project was guided based on the Data Valley of Emilia-Romagna, using 12 test platforms that created digital twins, virtual copies of industrial and non-industrial processes that gave the possibility to test the facilities and infrastructure management tools in advance. The goal has been achieved: to evaluate in a preventive way, in a virtual reality, the strengths and weaknesses of industrial processes that will then be applied to the productions.

A project related to the Horizon 2020 Program

The project was funded under Horizon 2020, a European Program for Research and Innovation that proved to be extremely important, both for economic value and for the scientific skills and relevance of the subjects involved.

Sonia Bonfiglioli, president of the group said:

Being the leader of this project is a source of pride, but also a responsibility. We have the opportunity to demonstrate, on field, how valuable is the ability to operate in a team of international companies in which the vision of digitization does not forget to be at the service of man and his environment. For us, the application that will improve the performance of our products for the exploitation of wind energy underlines Bonfiglioli's attention to operating, researching and, more generally, pursuing growth that is not 'an end in itself' or 'under any conditions'. For Bonfiglioli, social responsibility has always been a value and an indisputable reference in every activity. The choice of this sector of application therefore has a digital innovation value as much as the contribution to a more sustainable environment.

Which kind of applications for IoTwins?

IoTwins implements a platform that provides services to 12 pilot test benches, and digitally reproduces a system (infrastructure, process, machine) together with its performance, creating digital twins that allow to model the system and its dynamics, to predict evolution and optimize operation, management and maintenance.

There are already IoTwins application cases: the simulations already performed and reproducible, provide for predictive diagnosis in the numerous areas of activity in which the industrial partners of the consortium operate, including the creation of a digital twin of a wind farm, but also in the field of machine tools for the production of automotive components, machines for the production of crankshafts and machines for the production of bottle caps.

3 additional experiments are focused on facility management and, in particular, on the optimization of the management of the Barcelona Stadium, on the so-called Smart Grids, i.e. the set of an information network and a distribution network to manage the electricity network in "smart" way to monitor energy quality and holistic management of supercomputing infrastructures.

Other tests concerned the replicability and standardization of previous models to define new areas of application and develop innovative business models in manufacturing and infrastructure management.

Future projects in the Wind Industry

But it does not end there, because many other projects and applications are under development, especially in a sector that has always seen Bonfiglioli as a protagonist: wind power. We are mainly talking about Predictive Maintenance: the aim is to create the digital twin of a wind farm by aggregating simulation and ML models of single turbines for predictive maintenance. The data will be used to detect the health of the turbine, to plan the maintenance operations of the wind farm and to reduce failures and unexpected downtime.

An Awarded project

During the 15th edition of the A&T (Automation & Testing) 2021 Fair in Turin, dedicated to innovation, technologies and 4.0 skills, organized for the first time in digital mode, the fifth edition of the Innovation 4.0 Award took place, dedicated to the Italian manufacturing industry that invests in research.

The Industrial Scientific Committee of A&T has chosen eight finalists from the 51 projects selected and admitted, demonstrating the fact that the 2021 edition of the Prize awarded by the A&T fair has met with great interest, especially among companies.

The two companies to win, in a very high level ex aequo, were Bonfiglioli and Rollwasch Italian branch. On an equal footing, therefore, Bonfiglioli's IoTwins project, with Big Data becoming a modeling and forecasting tool also accessible to SMEs, and VibroBLAST, a patent for a revolutionary vibro-sandblasting technology.

Receiving this award - said Fausto Carboni, Bonfiglioli's CEO Business - is a source of pride for us, proving the importance of the IoTwins project of which we are coordinators. The key factors of our business activities, namely R&D, innovation and market orientation, are the elements that distinguish and guide our Group. The constant development of new ideas and strategies is undoubtedly our competitive advantage and great success factor.