Clementino Bonfiglioli was born in Bologna in 1928. His mother died soon afterwards and he was raised from birth by his grandparents.
His father emigrated, to return only 10 years later. Unfortunately he was killed in the war and Clementino was left alone. He dedicated himself to the study of engineering and graduated from the “Aldini Valeriani” Technical Institute.
He began work as a designer and tester in leading gearbox companies in Bologna where he very soon came to appreciate how much growth that sector would soon enjoy as the result of developments in industrial automation in the Bologna area.
He therefore decided to strike out and set up on his own, and formed “COSTRUZIONI MECCANICHE BONFIGLIOLI” in 1956.
Experience and intuition led Clementino to design and patent new gearboxes, including a 2-stage planetary gearbox, that were to become key products for the next 15 years, establishing and consolidating the success of BONFIGLIOLI RIDUTTORI.
From that point onwards the history of Bonfiglioli has been that of a company that has always been able to read the signs of the times. Company acquisitions, research and the development of new products, the combination of mechanics with electronics, and internationalisation have all contributed to the growth of the Group, guided by the intuition and intelligence of Clementino Bonfiglioli.
Today Bonfiglioli is present in 17 countries worldwide and has exclusive distributors in more than 80 countries. It has two large plants in India and Vietnam, and is world leader in the wind energy market with a share of 30%.
This has all been possible thanks to a dream which became reality through an iron will, the ability to inspire enthusiasm in his staff and encourage them to achieve more and more, and through confidence in his own success – qualities that make Clementino Bonfiglioli a model for new generations of entrepreneurs.
Bonfiglioli Riduttori was established on 16 April 1956 to put into practice the business ideas of Clementino Bonfiglioli, who brought to his new company years of experience in the design and manufacture of gearboxes for agricultural machinery and motorcycles (including legendary names like Ducati, Gilera and Moto Morini).
The new company was baptized “Costruzioni Meccaniche Bonfiglioli” and for the first few years of its existence concentrated on the production of gearboxes for the agricultural and motorcycle industries, both highly significant on the local industrial landscape in Bologna at that time.
Towards the mid 1960s, however, a profound transformation began to sweep through the local area: the automation industry rapidly assumed major proportions and a large number of packaging machine manufacturers established themselves in and around Bologna.
The area soon became the centre of the world’s packaging industry and earned itself the nickname of “Packaging Valley”. Bonfiglioli was quick to see the great opportunity that this dramatic change presented and began to design and manufacture a range of power transmission gearboxes that rapidly set new standards for the automation industry.
In particular, Bonfiglioli designed and patented a new two-stage planetary gearbox which proved so successful that no improvements were required for the next fifteen years.
Growth accelerated even further when Bonfiglioli intelligently extended its product range by strategically acquiring other companies.
The acquisition in 1975 of Trasmital, a specialist manufacturer of planetary gearboxes for earth moving machinery based in Forlì, allowed Bonfiglioli to become a leader in that sector.
The close attention with which Bonfiglioli monitored the market and its continually changing needs then led to the creation of Bonfiglioli Components, a company dedicated exclusively to the design and production of power transmission components.
With the benefit of hindsight, this policy of specialization and full process manufacturing of all components proved to be such a winner that Bonfiglioli soon found itself occupying the position of leader on all its reference markets.