“For Fives, innovation represents a major driver of value creation”
Group Innovation Director
“For Fives, innovation represents a major driver of value creation”Yannick Leprêtre
Innovation is a source of long-term growth for the Group. In order to refresh its offer and provide unique solutions, Fives continually invests in Research & Development to improve product performance and launch technologies which respond to the requirements of its clients in terms of quality, availability, service and the environment. This specifically includes the use of digital technologies, which harness the skills developed by Fives engineers in terms of processes and equipment operation.
In 2018, Fives R&D investments continued to reflect this strategy, notably with the opening of a new combustion research and development center and partnerships with research bodies and companies to supplement the expertise of Fives’ teams. The Group has also continued to invest in 3D printing technology through AddUp, its joint venture with Michelin.
r & d
of Group employees
new filed patents
R&D and test centers
Alongside 50 partners from 17 European countries, Fives is a founding member of the MADE BY EUROPE consortium, which was a successful bidder for the tender launched by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation & Technology) on December 6, 2018.
The EIT is a European organization which aims to link together research, innovation and education, and to create an institute completely dedicated to manufacturing and Industry 4.0. The EIT aims to consolidate Europe’s position as a leader in industrial innovation. It is supported by the European Union with an annual contribution of €80 million.
On October 18, 2018, Fives - an industrial process expert, and Visiativ - an innovative software integrator and publisher - announced their partnership to develop a joint offer.
They will offer after-sales service management software solutions to industrial equipment manufacturers to supplement their service offers: a web portal with functionalities ranging from the online sale of spare parts through to predictive maintenance and machine performance optimization.
In 2018, AddUp extended its metal additive manufacturing technologies offer to better meet the needs of its clients and to reinforce its global geographic coverage, whilst continuing to consider problems relating to industrial reliability, HSE (Health, Safety, the Environment) and certification from an early stage.
Two companies have joined AddUp: BeAM, a leader in additive manufacturing based on Directed Energy Deposition technology, dedicated to the production of large fine and complex parts; and Poly-Shape, which offers a comprehensive part printing service offer, notably including design assistance and part optimization, as well as finishing operations.
In Granby (Canada), Fives is a leading figure in the manufacture of systems for complex part machining, notably for the aerospace sector.
The company has designed a complete automated machining unit adapted to the specific features of this market. This development refers to advanced skills in several fields: machine tools, robotics, managing multiple tasks and automation.
This unit is made up of several elements which can be personalized and adapted to the needs and fluctuations of production (different shaped parts, production parameters such as speed and force), and offers high precision.
Fives has developed a smart line concept which integrates the latest digital systems for enabling enhanced process control, traceability and quality in steelmaking, as well as optimized production costs and increased production yield, especially for automotive steels.
For a continuous galvanizing line (CGL), a master model with help of in-house software EyeronTM, a process quality watchdog, moderates dialogue between mathematical models of the furnace, zinc bath, wiping system and skin-pass mill. Other Fives features include OTOMES, a highly flexible and modular manufacturing execution system, as well as OTO software tools for production control and management.
In order to have its own skills in the key field of data science and to encourage the use of these skills by Group equipment manufacturing subsidiaries, in January 2018 the Group created a subsidiary entirely dedicated to data processing, Fives CortX, a true internal start-up.
Fives has an original offer which combines know-how in data processing and maintenance expertise, provided by the subsidiary dedicated to this business line; the Group can offer process optimization and predictive maintenance services, notably for machine tools.
The Piacenza research center (Italy) aims to ramp up the development and marketing of more environmentally-friendly combustion systems, offering improved energy performance and a high level of security.
With a total surface area of 3,000 m², the Fives European Combustion Center allows tests to be completed in actual operating conditions. It also hosts a training center where the Group will share its combustion process and facility expertise with clients in the energy and oil and gas industries in order to optimize their industrial facilities.
Thanks to its development efforts, Fives now offers a grinding machine adapted to the needs of the bearings market, which requires significant flexibility - as traditional grinding machines are amongst the most rigid in production environments, and require long shutdown times.
Fives’ expertise in multiple sectors has allowed it to integrate kinematic technology into its grinding machines, which is usually used in the optical industry. The new grinding process allows unusual arrangements and configurations.
Fives and the NRC have signed a partnership to launch a next-generation profilometer, which will allow quicker and more accurate inspection during the production of aircraft composite parts.
Positioned directly in the production chain, it will limit shutdowns whilst providing higher quality data. This innovative optical technology, designed by a multi-disciplinary team at the NRC, was perfected thanks to active collaboration with Fives; the Group has already completed the final stage of testing with its clients, and plans to launch the technology by the end of 2019.
Supporting industrial excellence using data science throughout the machine life cycle
Manufacturers are looking for solutions to improve the availability, responsiveness and flexibility of their production system, and the quality of the final product; digital technology is a key part of this solution.
Currently data is collected in real-time in plants through sensors positioned within the production system. The data is used more and more accurately to provide useful information to the operator: tracking machine availability, energy consumption, issuing an alert if there is a problem...
With a centralized supervision platform which reports evaluated data, it can decide on the best path to take and improve control over its production. Analyzing records allows major trends or seasonality to be anticipated, improving scheduling and optimizing production flows.
The combination of this data with artificial intelligence tools allows us to go even further: algorithms detect weak signals amongst the different data, which tend to precede a breakdown. Maintenance operations and breakages are anticipated. The production data no longer just helps us to understand the present, but also to anticipate the future.