France: Juncker Plan – EIB finances Latécoère's factory of the future in Toulouse-Montredon
On Tuesday 22 May, tier 1 aeronautics equipment manufacturer Latécoère inaugurated its brand new metallic detail parts production plant in Toulouse-Montredon. A strategic investment under the Transformation 2020 plan, this digitised, connected and automated factory of the future 4.0 is directing the global leader in avionics racks and aeroplane doors towards industrial revitalisation just as the aeronautics sector finds itself in the grip of profound change.
100-year-old groups cannot move as quickly as start-ups, which are able to make about-turns in just a few months. Latécoère, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, is bucking this trend. On 13 July 2017, the tier 1 equipment manufacturer operating in the aerostructure and interconnection systems segments laid the foundation stone for its factory 4.0 in the Montredon business park near Toulouse.
The building was constructed in a record ten months, with the first aluminium detail parts being produced at this automated cell-equipped site in February
Yearly production of 500 000 parts
The smart factory is part of the Transformation 2020 restructuring plan launched in 2016 to meet several industrial, commercial and strategic challenges and to help digitise the company.
“Against a backdrop of profound organisational, energy, social and environmental change, Latécoère is innovating to meet the requirements created by these challenges,” explained Latécoère Group CEO Yannick Assouad. A digital environment and cutting-edge facilities mean that this factory of the future will cement the strategic positioning of R&T within Latécoère's industrial processes. Digitisation lies at the heart of restructuring 4.0 and smart industrial models.”
Indeed, the 6 000 m2 next generation factory combines automation and innovative processes using the internet of things and RFID solutions for a paper-free production plant. The goal is to cut production cycle times from several months to a few weeks.
Eventually reaching a team size of 150 people, the company aims to produce 500 000 to 600 000 parts per year by 2020.
The recently operational factory has been dubbed a “window on the industry of the future” by La French Fab partner Alliance Industrie du Futur. A 3 000 m2 extension to the plant is planned for 2019 to house surface treatment and painting activities to start in 2020.
From 2019, metal fabrication activities will also be transferred to the new factory from the rue de Périole site in Toulouse.
Local and global commitment
This smart factory has been built as a result of combined effort and shared commitment with Toulouse Métropole and the Occitanie Region.
“I am proud that Toulouse's first aircraft manufacturer – the driving force behind the establishment of the aeronautics industry in our region from 1917 – remains loyal to the “Ville Rose”. Latécoère is confirming our promotional strategy and Toulouse's status as a successful city and global aeronautics capital,” said Toulouse Métropole President Jean-Luc Moudenc.
Occitanie Region President Carole Delga hailed “the challenge the Latécoère Group has overcome by creating – from scratch – this factory 4.0 showcasing the production tools of the future. The exemplary nature of this plant together with the innovative solutions it applies mean that it also constitutes an example for the entire industrial sector.”
Strong EU support via the EIB
The construction of this new industrial site was made possible by EUR 55m in financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank. Provided on favourable financial terms thanks to the EIB's AAA credit rating, this financing also has an EU guarantee under the Investment Plan for Europe (commonly known as the Juncker Plan).
“This factory of the future is an ambitious industrial project that the EU bank is very proud to support within a particularly dynamic region,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “This new Juncker Plan financing is a strong signal that the EIB wishes to send to innovative companies and the industrial sector in France and across Europe.”
The EIB financing will also support Latécoère's research, development and innovation activities with a view to conquering new markets via updated processes and cutting-edge technologies, improving the company's competitiveness with the goal of achieving industrial excellence.