ATS Laser was founded in 2008 to provide laser cutting services to the manufacturing sector. Over the years, it has expanded its service portfolio, setting up ATS Soudure and Découp 3P in 2016 to oversee its new areas of activity. Today the group carries out laser cutting, plasma, oxy-acetelene cutting and welding as well as punching, pressing and bending plates or all kinds of sheet metal and tubes. “We have no products of our own but are service providers to the manufacturing sector,” explains Administrative Director Damien Boulanger. “We operate in sectors like construction, mechanical engineering, boiler-making and general industry, supplying semi-finished components for their production chains.”
We are currently in the process of gaining certification to ISO 9001 across the entire group, which will serve as a further assurance to our customers of the quality of our work. Damien BoulangerAdministrative Director
ATS Laser and its sister companies currently serve 1,400 companies across all sectors, from aviation to nuclear power, and agriculture to architecture. “There are actually very few other service providers covering this particular niche,” states Mr. Boulanger. “Nevertheless, we prioritize customer service and the quality of our work.” All of the machinery in use at the group’s three production sites close to Toulouse are made by leading manufacturer Trumpf. “These are state-of-the-art machines which guarantee an excellent result in each case,” says Mr. Boulanger.
“We are currently in the process of gaining certification to ISO 9001 across the entire group, which will serve as a further assurance to our customers of the quality of our work.” The recent reorganization of the companies as a group under a centralized holding has also streamlined operational activities. All of the group companies are located within a 30 km radius of each other, allowing the individual companies to take advantage of significant synergies. “From our position here, close to Toulouse, we can cover the whole of southern, eastern and western France as far north as Paris and Brittany,” outlines Mr. Boulanger. “We maintain permanent stocks of 800 t of metal which is the equivalent of the amount of metal we process each month.”
We are already looking at what additional services it would make sense for us to offer our customers. Damien BoulangerAdministrative Director
Although this may sound like a large amount, ATS is not active in large series manufacturing. This means it is able to offer its customers individually tailored solutions of relatively short production runs. “We carry out high quality work that meets highly sophisticated and demanding requirements,” notes Mr. Boulanger. “Quality expectations are very high, which is why we only employ Trumpf machines, as the top manufacturer in this sector. Some are already automated so that repetitive tasks are completed automatically and our skilled workers can focus on consultation and analysis.
Digitalization and Industry 4.0 are important trends for us as they allow us to optimize our processes and free up human resources for more demanding tasks.” The IT systems employed by ATS are today able to identify faults and remedy them with a minimum of downtime. ATS is also making use of IT capabilities to increase transparency for customers. A customer portal allows clients to log on and follow their order step-by-step through the machining process. “Instead of having a chain of invisible links, we are illuminating our part of the process for clients to see,” enthuses Mr. Boulanger. “A transparent chain is a more efficient chain.”
Having expanded the scope of its processing capabilities, ATS is now looking to increase the number of links in the manufacturing chain it can offer its clients. “We are already looking at what additional services it would make sense for us to offer our customers,” explains Mr. Boulanger. “Market needs are changing and outsourcing continues to grow as a trend. However, we must ensure we maintain our high level of reactivity, even as our clients demand more standard products. That is why we will continue to invest in our machine park and look into moving to larger premises.” The long-term goal is to offer customers more solutions from a single source, and thereby greater flexibility. One area that stands out is thermal coating. “This is an area that we have already identified as being critical to our future competitiveness,” says Mr. Boulanger in conclusion.