Thierry Valot

Innovation #&# Digital Director

In 2020, Fives maintained its commitment to innovation, reflecting the Group’s tradition as a pioneer. We have continued towards our objective of responding to industrial performance and durability challenges, and we are increasingly relying on digital to do so.

Fives’ areas of R#&#D work reinforced

In 2020, the pandemic accentuated two trends which have a significant impact on industry, and which were already at the heart of Fives' innovation strategy: 

  • digitalization, both for internal processes and production processes, which helps meet the need to limit physical interactions while offering greater flexibility and responsiveness. It also helps industrials to optimize the use of their facilities;
  • combatting climate change, with greater awareness under public pressure, resulting in a change in the investment strategies of industrial players. Fives’ R&D teams are therefore working to support them with their energy transition, notably in new energy sectors (electrification, hydrogen). This environmental approach also translates into machine modernization projects.

Consolidating our position thanks to a solid and flexible organization

At Fives, this thirst for innovation is thriving within an agile organization, designed to accelerate innovation, capable of working on research topics and roadmaps.

In 2020, the Group consolidated the drive to reorganize its R&D and Innovation functions, now aligned with Fives' organization into three major Activities. Within each Division, R&D and Digital managers develop programs, supported by a lightweight central structure which offers its specific expertise. This organization encourages synergies and reflection on cross-business topics, and notably aims to ensure full integration of digital into development programs.


€28.8 million R#&#D Investment
31 R#&#D and test centers
2,016 patents in 612 families
50 patents filed in 2020



VERCANE: reducing the CO2 emissions of glass production

Fives, ENGIE, Saverglass and Verescence have launched “VERCANE” to support the glass industry to decarbonize its production activity. This R#&#D program studies different carbon neutral energy systems that could be compatible with the glass melting process: hydrogen, bioresources and electrification.

Accelerating innovation thanks to EIT Manufacturing

Four Fives R&D projects are in line for support by EIT Manufacturing, a European organization aiming to promote and finance projects for industry, of which Fives is a founding member. This support will allow Fives to collaborate with new partners and to benefit from external skills.


Fives Innovation Awards: expressing creativity

After nearly 10 years, the Fives Innovation Awards are a key part of the Group’s innovation system. In 2020, the Grand Prize was awarded to a Fives Stein team (Steel #&# Glass Division) presenting a breakthrough technology solution for steel treatment lines with a direct flame preheating section

Fives Intralogistics SAS: a new showcase of the industry of the future

Fives’ Smart Automation Solutions activity has experienced a boom in recent years, notably driven by the dynamic e-commerce sector. This rapid growth led to the creation of a center of expertise for conveyors in Chasse-sur-Rhône (Isère, France), which reflects the Group's commitments in terms of digitalization and respect for the environment.   

A digital twin, developed with local partners, now ensures digital continuity of projects from the first discussions with customers through to virtual commissioning. A virtual reality room allows customers to be immersed in a 3D experience of their complete facilities, as well as Fives’ entire range of conveyors. This approach allows Fives to offer its customers tailored solutions in short time frames, while remaining competitive compared to standard imported solutions.

This project was supported by the Vienne-Condrieu urban area, certified as an “industrial area”, and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and was labeled a “Showcase of the Industry of the Future” by the Alliance Industrie du Futur.