Nidec Leroy-Somer invests in the competitiveness of its foundry

Nidec Leroy-Somer invests in the competitiveness of its foundry

DEC 12, 2019

The new investments in the Nidec Leroy-Somer Foundry, launched last Thursday in the presence of the President of the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region and of local officials, tie in with the ambitious transformation and modernisation plan for the sites, presented last spring. The newly-launched project will immediately help improve competitiveness.  

Re-industrialisation to be up there with the best 

The aim of the CEO of Nidec Leroy-Somer, Laurent Demortier, to invest in the industrial facilities of the Rabion/Angoulême foundry was affirmed with the inauguration on Thursday, 5 December, of new production equipment. Marking a major change in perspective, through the investments recently made in modernising the site, this launch takes place to coincide symbolically with the festival of Saint Eloy, the patron saint of smelters and metalworkers, traditionally celebrated on the first Thursday in December in the Nidec Leroy-Somer plants.

The new sense of commercial dynamism injected several months ago, and designed to increase sales and volumes with a greater offensive targeting external customers, is bearing fruit. The daily production tonnages are increasing markedly, from 20 tonnes per day a year ago to 50 tonnes per day last July, with the declared ambition of achieving 60 tonnes per day in 2020. 

This also testifies to the Management's strategic choice to reinforce vertical integration, with the foundry being the beating heart of the mechanism for, ultimately, manufacturing parts for motors or alternators, for example, for all the group's plants, across France and Europe. 

The desire to attain the heights of European leader requires development, in parallel, of productive excellence through investments that offer significant and rapid increase in competitiveness.


Fonderie Nidec_Leroy-Somer

Investing to reduce manufacturing costs

An initial €1.3 million investment component has been ploughed into a new shakeout system, successfully installed in record time in August, with the priority objective of improving quality and production cost.

Shakeout is a crucial step in the production process, designed to separate the metallic parts from the mould sand by oscillation, without damaging them. 


Gains in terms of productivity, quality and environment

The former shakeout system, situated in an extremely dilapidated zone, containing ageing machines, produced extremely strong oscillation, requiring the parts to be protected by surrounding them with metallic bumpers to avoid breakage. These protections consume material unnecessarily, extend the time taken for each production step, increase the volume of parts, thereby reducing the possible number of cavities per mould, and make it physically hard to remove the bumpers from the parts.

With this modern mechanism equipped with a new manipulator, the conditions are now optimal for improving competitiveness, productivity and the quality of parts. For example, for the manufacturing of a compressor body the material savings can attain 10% and the productivity gains more than 40%.

The working environment has also been considerably developed, with the entire facility contained in a vacuum and sound booth, limiting the dispersal of dust and noise. The power consumption of the new shakeout system is also reduced, by 11%.

As a source of progress, this example ties in with the global optimisation approach of Nidec Leroy-Somer, for producing better and at less cost, by working differently and helping to keep jobs in France.


Other investments to come

This first step will be followed by other investments, already planned for the next five years. They aim, among other things, to accentuate automated handling and robotization to boost productivity, in order to keep pace with production in Asia, and to reinforce technological excellence for manufacturing parts with greater added value. This programme will be accompanied by a skills development plan for the foundry teams and training for young interns and apprentices.


Reorganisation of the other sites is also underway

The investment plan for the optimisation of the Charente sites, announced in May by Nidec Leroy-Somer management, was, as scheduled, put before the workforce representatives, who came out in favour of the plan in early September. The process is therefore underway, and the Project teams have been put together and are working on implementing the various steps. 

On the service side, the removal operations are being prepared, with the prior vacating of the spaces well on track and the modernisation studies of the Sillac head office underway, with project briefs requested from four local architect firms.  The Champniers Training Centre will be the first site to be moved and relocated in the entirely renovated Sillac premises, in spring 2020. The teams are being brought together, with the payroll services already centralised on the Sillac site.

On the factory side, transfer of the lift motors production activity from Rabion to Mansle is effective, and is complemented by the creation of a new entirely automated production line. Moving the machining activity to Gond-Pontouvre and Mansle is also imminent.

Many projects have been launched more or less everywhere, to adapt and refit the reception infrastructure, with consultations and think-tanks into the fine-tuning of each of the reinstallation subprojects, such as boilermaking reorganisation, test platform consolidation, moving the electronics activity from Les Agriers, and extending the canteen and the car park at Sillac, to name but a few.

These operations, planned to take place in stages over a confirmed 18 to 24-month calendar, will give rise to a rejuvenated and reinvigorated company, striving to reduce its environmental footprint and future-ready.