“We always develop our products in-house, so that we can offer solutions that do not already exist in the market,” says CEO Sébastien Jacot-Descombes, who represents the fourth generation of the family firm, which was founded in 1911. “In the 1950s, we started to work with sheet metal, and today we use our extensive machining know-how and experience to produce high-value security products such as automatic bollards, turnstiles and barriers; we don’t produce anything which is available as standard elsewhere on the market. Any standard products that we require to complement our range are purchased from partners.”
Jacot des Combes’ security fences are more than just strong fences. Advanced technology is a central feature of the company’s product range. In many high-security situations – prisons, nuclear power stations and chemical works, for example – ‘intelligent’ fences are essential; these detect and trigger an alarm when an intruder attempts to climb over or cut the fence, or otherwise enter the premises.
The company has also developed an ‘active’ fence, for private householders who want to protect their property but do not want to feel screened off. “Active fences use fiber optics, which we developed ourselves because we found nothing on the market that really worked,” notes Mr. Jacot-Descombes. “The systems we did find were very prone to false alarms.”
Jacot des Combes’ products are highly complex; nevertheless, they can be easily integrated into existing surveillance systems, and can be supplemented with cameras. Via cloud, operators can check that, for example, barriers are working properly, and pre-programme alarms and preventative maintenance.
While security fences form a large part of Jacot des Combes’ portfolio, the company also offers tailor-made entrance security solutions such as automatic barriers, bollards and turnstiles; besides company premises, these have been successfully utilized in town centers to close off particular areas or to protect against terrorist attacks.
We always develop our products in-house, so that we can offer solutions that do not already exist on the market. Jacot des CombesCEO
Another fascinating niche specialty is designed for aviaries. A net, made from barely visible, yet extremely robust 0.3 mm diameter filament ensures that the visitors’ view of the birds is not hampered by a cage. “We have extensive experience and expertise in zoology security, and are regularly contacted by potential customers across Europe,” says the CEO.
While security products are the company’s focus, it has also ventured into the solar energy sector. “The only connection to our existing portfolio was the type of construction and our know-how,” admits Mr. Jacot-Descombes. “We designed large-scale solar fruit-drying equipment, mainly for the South American market. One very interesting aspect is the power portal used for this equipment. Incorporating solar panels in the structure, these are a cheap and simple way of providing power in locations where the cost of installing a standard electricity supply is prohibitive. They are independent of any other power source, and therefore ecologically sound as well as cost effective. Naturally, sun is required, but we have been installing them in Switzerland for the past two years, and they function very effectively. Again, we developed this system because there was nothing like it on the market.”
Besides the uniqueness of its products, Jacot des Combes is renowned for its experience and expertise. Its top-quality products are developed and manufactured in-house, and the company designs tailor-made solutions which meet its customers’ requirements. “We are a small enterprise with just 50 staff, but we have the capability and know-how to develop products for any specific situation, no matter how challenging the conditions,” underlines Mr. Jacot-Descombes.
To date, with the exception of the solar equipment in South America, Jacot des Combes’ activities have focused on Switzerland. However, the company is now looking to expand its horizons to the rest of Europe. “We are seeking partners with similar interests to our own in the security and entry control sector,” says the CEO. “This expansion will be supported by consolidating and extending the functionality of our existing product range, but also by taking on new, customer-specific projects. A number of these are already in the pipeline.”