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Andrea Airale, Co-founder, President & CEO and Alessandro Ferraris, Co-founder CEO & CTO of BeonD

JEC Composites Magazine asked Andrea Andrea Airale, and Alessandro Ferraris, how in a short time, a start up developed in an innovative SME, with a smart structure, quick and proactive, that overcame 1. 5 M€ revenue in 2021 and made investments for 2,5 M€ during the two-years period of 2019-2021.

Andrea Airale, Co-founder, President & CEO and Alessandro Ferraris, Co-founder CEO & CTO of BeonD
READING TIME

10 minutes, 10 secondes

BeonD was founded in 2013 as a spin-off of “Politecnico di Torino” University, a start-up company with high technological content designed to succeed in the market through the offer of very specific advanced engineering services, not easy to find on the market. BeonD works for OEMs and Tier One in Italy and Europe, mainly in the automotive and motorsport sectors, but also in the aerospace, defense, marine and industrial markets.

Today, BeonD is an innovative SME, with a smart structure, quick and proactive, which features a wide network of suppliers and highly skilled partners, able to meet our customer needs with a comprehensive and organized approach.

BeonD works for OEMs and Tier One in Italy and Europe, mainly in the automotive and motorsport sectors, but also in the aerospace, defense, Marine and Industrial markets.

BeonD performes advanced FEM analysis on high performance components (e.g. seats) made of composite materials. BeonD can support customers for e-Mobility solutions from first design phase to validation and production, with speed, flexibility, custom solutions and high innovative content.
BeonD performes advanced FEM analysis on high performance components (e.g. seats) made of composite materials. BeonD can support customers for e-Mobility solutions from first design phase to validation and production, with speed, flexibility, custom solutions and high innovative content.

One of the company strong point is the expertise on the most common FE solvers such as RADIOSS, Optistruct, LS-Dyna, VPS and Abaqus together with the most powerful pre-post processors like ANSA and Hyperworks. As the matter of facts, the customers who trust in BeonD are prestigious car makers, OEM and Tier 1 belonging also to the aerospace, industrial, marine or railway sector. A distinctive characteristic of BeonD concerns the design and analysis of composite and hybrid (metal and composite) material components with the help of cutting-edge simulation technology. The constant investments in R&D allow the study and the validation of innovative methodologies to ensure the highest level of quality and reliability throughout the project, optimizing costs and development time.

Resulting from the experience of designing unconventional materials, BeonD designs each product to reduce the mass and optimize structural performance and passive safety, ensuring to meet strict international safety standard (FMVSS, ECE, GBT, JIS)

JEC Composites Magazine: Since 2013, your company has experienced very rapid growth. Can you tell us about BeonD’s evolution? We would like to understand how, despite the global car crisis, you continue to grow, what is the secret?
“Of course! BeonD was born in 2013 partly as a bet, partly because we believed that we could contribute to the development of a new generation of advanced technologies for vehicles and that the world of the electric car would give us space since it was a revolution that shuffled the cards. . Not just tradition and gradual innovation but disruptive innovation in a truly challenging market for new players!

BeonD was born from the experience of Massimiliana Carello (professor in Vehicle Mechanics at the Polytechnic of Turin) , Alessandro Ferraris and Andrea Airale (PhD in Mechanics and specialized in Composite Materials and High Performance Batteries). After a long experience in the H2politO student team (from 2008) and  in the IEHV Research group, after having reached the apex with the realization of the series hybrid vehicle XAM 2.0 in 2012 within an important project of the Politecnico di Torino which we developed , built the running vehicle and won at the British Brighton-London regularity competition. As BeonD we began with the BERMAT Full EV supercar project, for us a very important project because we had to design a complete E-Powertrain This supercar would be the first to have a BMS (Battery Management System) completely developed by the BeonD Team.

Andrea Airale and Alessandro Ferraris in front of  BERMAT, the first full electric to mount a complete BeonD powertrainbermat The BERMAT Full EV supercar project, for Andrea and Alessandro  has been a very important project because they had to do a complete E-Powertrain and this supercar was the first to have a BMS (Battery Management System) completely developed by the team (2013)
Andrea Airale and Alessandro Ferraris in front of BERMAT, the first full electric to mount a complete BeonD powertrainbermat The BERMAT Full EV supercar project, for Andrea and Alessandro has been a very important project because they had to do a complete E-Powertrain and this supercar was the first to have a BMS (Battery Management System) completely developed by the team (2013)

In 2015 the CLN Magnetto Group joined us becoming the first investor and industrial partner, in 2018 the SABELT group (famous for safety belts and high performance seats also in Formula 1) joined the company and in 2020 the UFI Filters group (leader in filtering systems starting from Formula 1 but also on new cooling systems).

We gave ourselves a chance and tried to create a system specifically inside the local area, with the entire supply chain of FCA (now Stellantis), that has always been involved in the automotive sector and, especially in recent years, in search of new stimuli and new markets. We have brought our vision inside a complex product, perhaps this is the reason of our success. It is not easy at all, but the automotive  is still a lively industry in constant evolution where it’s possible to enhance ideas, skills and human capital. Our secret? Once I asked one of our  top customers: “why did you choose us among all?” he looked at me and without hesitation said to me “Airale, I have tested you several times and, although we often give you: wrong mathematics, incomplete data, tests to plan and invent from scratch; you always give us back: reliable analyzes, within the agreed times and you avoid us wasting a lot of time and money to settle complex problems afterwards “. Here is the attention and dedication to the customer I believe is our secret.”

JEC Composites Magazine: Which is your strongpoint? And uniqueness?
“I think there are more than one: certainly a team of capable and willing people who always try to please the customer, proposing not only synthetic results but an alternative vision. Sometimes you need courage, a spirit of sacrifice and a pinch of recklessness!

On the other hand, about  uniqueness, I can tell you that perhaps the point that differentiates us is that we assist the Customer in the development of the performance both in design, calculation and during physical and experimental validation, which means that we propose  engineering services combined with customized testing . Our customers like this very much because those are skills that are difficult to find, combined with the flexibility, creativity and speed of reaction typical of companies of our size. We are a small general contractor and we see that it works.”

BeonD's battery engineers performing benchmarking activities on VW ID3 battery pack after the full vehicle tear-down
BeonD’s battery engineers performing benchmarking activities on VW ID3 battery pack after the full vehicle tear-down

JEC Composites Magazine: You deal in the hybrid metal / composite design, can you describe some of your most relevant projects? In your opinion, what are the expected developments for the sector?
“Yes, we work a lot on the hybridization of components. We strongly believe in putting together different technologies and materials in order to make the best use of the peculiarities of the individual materials, “The right material in the right place, this is our motto”. Metals are extremely flexible materials in terms of workability, weldability and interface between components. The composites, on the other hand, thanks to their peculiarities, allow a fine tuning of detail, high structural performance in relation to the mass. The hybridization of several materials seems to us to have great potential in various sectors: in the automotive sector, for example, we have developed aluminum-CFRP suspension levers for both hyperformance applications and mass production solutions, we have worked in the past with the Magnetti Marelli Sistemi Sospensione Group. and now we work with FRAP s.r.l. supplier of suspension components for Maserati, Ferrari and Alpine. We have validated them through functional tests and now we are moving towards a qualification on the road. In this case, the decrease in mass, mechanical iso-performance was greater than about 40%, an excellent result considering the constraints that we had!

At the same time, we have developed for the industry, some hydraulic jacks in CFRP and Fe 510 / 18NiCrMo. This time as well, the results were excellent, 35% less mass compared to an increase in operating pressure. Excellent if we consider the customer’s wishes and the time available. Here we worked with Multitel Pagliero s.p.a in Manta (CN), a sector leader in platforms for driveways.

Regarding other developments in the sector, we see that the materials are making leaps forward. Recyclability and optimization are in our opinion the watchwords. Then there is the issue of maintainability and more generally of health monitoring. We are working hard on the SHM solution precisely to reduce the material where possible and to know the health of the components. Think if you could reason rather than from unlimited life to definite life. We would have considerable savings in materials used, lighter components and a smaller footprint. There is also a strategic advantage if we think about the shortage of materials of this period: using less means being less affected by the market and uncertainties!

On this we are partners together with the Politecnico di Torino on a European PI2MAP project within the Manunet European call  (cross-border projects).”

JEC Composites Magazine: Are you currently utilizing or do you plan to utilize in the future other materials besides traditional composites and metals? I am referring in particular to the eco-sustainable composites, reinforced with resins and natural fibers.
“We do not preclude anything. In 2010 when we were working at the Politecnico together with Pprofessor Massimiliana Carello, we carried out various activities and prototypes already on composites based on vegetable fibers or basalt. We had tried to make the body panels of a flax fiber prototype. It is in our DNA to look for something new, always. Of course, the fiber and the matrix must both be recyclable and not just one of the two, but we see that there is a lot of excitement on the issue thanks to the drive for safeguarding and responsibility on the environmental issue. Always together with the Politecnico we worked with the SABELT group on the CARBOGREEN research project financed by the Piedmont Region on POR-FESR funds for the development of a high-performance seat made with recyclable and green resins and fibers. For reasons of confidentiality I cannot go into the details of the materials but several prototypes have been made which are now proposed to OEMs.”

BeonD offers advanced engineering services, like a complete development of Battery packs. An example of BeonD's customized battery packs completely developed and prototyped internally
BeonD offers advanced engineering services, like a complete development of Battery packs. An example of BeonD’s customized battery packs completely developed and prototyped internally

JEC Composites Magazine: Let’s talk about alternative energies: by now the electric energy has no more secrets for you. You design energy storage systems and powertrains for electric mobility, how will the electric transport market evolve in your opinion?
“BeonD specializes in services for the development, design, prototyping and testing of high performance and next generation Battery Packs. We are starting to work and sign contracts with the most important brands and OEMs in Italy, and not only in the automotive sector. As for the scenario, it is likely that different energy carriers will cooperate in the energy transition in all sectors. The batteries will be central throughout the panorama because they will be implemented both on Hybrid cars (perhaps with bio-fuels), on Full Electric cars and on Fuel Cell engines. The mix of traction systems, as we said earlier about the materials, will be extremely strategic for us as there will always be a Battery and a BMS. 6. And will hydrogen replace electricity in a not too long time? Hydrogen is a very precious energy vector, someone very competent says “the Internet of Energy” but it must be transformed to be used in cars. Fuel Cells represent the only possible energy vector on large means of transport (trucks, trains, ships and planes) where Full Electric is not competitive due to the weight and size of the batteries compared to the amount of energy to be stored. Strategic analyzes say that we will reach a price of hydrogen equal to today’s diesel price in less than 10 years. We are talking about the present and no longer about a distant future”

JEC Composites Magazine: On the subject there are conflicting opinions,  recently I read an article that warned of the danger posed by the possible leaks of the tanks… comments?
“These are problems already solved, the problem is not there, but as for electric cars it is the distribution of the “fuel”. But when giants like SNAM or others invest so much it is not by chance, or we look at the Nikola case in partnership with Iveco. Fuel Cells and hydrogen will be the future for large vehicles, trucks, ships and planes. Certainly there will be technical problems to be solved and fine-tuned, but it is about work, not about things that are impossible or technically not achievable.”

Multi-material lower control arm longitudinal stiffness evaluation, BeonD is equipped with an Advanced Laboratory for development and testing activities: Cell, Module, Battery Pack
Multi-material lower control arm longitudinal stiffness evaluation, BeonD is equipped with an Advanced Laboratory for development and testing activities: Cell, Module, Battery Pack

JEC Composites Magazine: Is the development of hydrogen tanks part of your future projects and more generally, do you have a new strategy for production?
“As composite materials experts we are monitoring the market, certainly for a company like BeonD which is specialized in virtual simulation, structural calculations and support crash validation tests, there is ample market space. We begun by carrying out hydrogen permeability tests on some materials, a very tricky test. This strategy will allow us to get in touch with customers, make us known and expand our business.”

JEC Composites Magazine: How do you see the future of mobility? What do you foresee will be the next challenges in the short and long term?
“We see a great opportunity for the Italian industry to renew itself and pass me the term of “rejuvenating”. There will be many risks but also many opportunities. Like all transitions it will be difficult and painful for many, but for a young company, and pass me the term “angry” like ours … We graduated during the crisis of the Twin Towers, we begun business between the crisis of Lehman Brothers, Auto Sector, FCA crisis in Turin and then COVID, Components and Raw Materials crisis, now the War and Energy crisis!

 I can assure you that there is all the willingness, commitment, desire and strength to grow, to get involved, and to get back what we deserve, like those who lived through the economic boom, or those who worked in the 80s and ‘ 90 when the economy was pushing and the projects overflowed “we are BeonD” “we are ready to be your difference”, this is our motto.”

BeonD's Team, young and proactive, composed by Engineers and PhDs from all over the world in front of BeonD's new operative headquarters in Grugliasco (South-West of Turin) – 500 m2 Offices, 400 m2 Laboratory. Each staff member has a highly qualified academic background and some of them still cooperate with universities research projects, either private or supported with regional, national, or European funds.
BeonD’s Team, young and proactive, composed by Engineers and PhDs from all over the world in front of BeonD’s new operative headquarters in Grugliasco (South-West of Turin) – 500 m2 Offices, 400 m2 Laboratory. Each staff member has a highly qualified academic background and some of them still cooperate with universities research projects, either private or supported with regional, national, or European funds.
More information www.beond.net