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Making light of the mobile transition

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Just over a century after the pioneers of the automotive industry were first ‘Opening the Highways to all Mankind’ the same industry is transitioning fast. Along with the trend towards evermore fuel economical vehicles, electrification is becoming more common either in hybrid or pure electric form.

Other engineering trends focus on weight reduction in vehicle subsystems by using lightweight structures made of alternative materials. Light, fully recyclable and perfect with regard to environmental and anticorrosion standards, aluminium has become the preferred material for the automotive industry. In fact, it has become the second most used metal following steel and accounts for nearly 9% of the average vehicle weight – compared to only 3% 30 years ago.

As a global supplier of cast aluminium automobile parts, Le Belier SA plays an important role in the transitioning process of the sector. The Group has a presence on three continents with ten manufacturing sites in France, Hungary and Serbia in Europe, Mexico in Latin-America and China in Asia.

“All our sites comply with the worldwide accepted manufacturing standards,” emphasizes Philippe Dizier, Chief Executive Officer. “In spite of our international or rather global orientation, our local operations allow for close contact to customers. Moreover, our efficient internal organization enables us to respond to customers’ requirements fast and efficiently.”

The origins of Le Belier SA date back to 1961, when Jacques Galland established an aluminium and copper alloy gravity die casting plant in Vérac and started producing parts for the railway and electrical industries. Continuous innovation and investment have resulted in dynamic growth both in terms of business and geographic expansion.

The plant in Vérac has become the nucleus and headquarters of an international business with 3,800 employees and a total turnover of 312 million EUR. In 1999 Le Bélier SA was listed on the Second Marché of the French Stock Exchange.

“We pursue a policy of providing local service to our key customers and progressively expanding into international markets,” says Mr. Dizier. “The geographical focus is gradually shifting, however, as growth is taking place above all in Asia. We have been present in China for 20 years so that we benefit from the strong growth of the Chinese automobile market and are able to meet the local needs of our main customers.”

Although the Group’s service program focuses on brake, chassis and turbo parts respectively, it accounts for a wide range of customer requirements. Through its foundry, machining and toolmaking divisions Le Belier Group serves leading Tier I suppliers as well as, to a smaller extent, automobile manufacturers.

“Our wideranging service program ranging from prototypes to machined parts means added value and competitive advantages for our clients, especially in the supplier chain,” points out Mr. Dizier. Reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions remains Le Belier’s priority as it continues to make light of the mobile transition. Aluminum remains its answer also in view of the growing trend towards hybrid or electric vehicles. Once again, the light and corrosion-resistant material is fully in line with this trend.

“The aim is to increase the reach of the new vehicles to improve their acceptance, and the vehicle weight is an important factor,” says Mr. Dizier. “We are on the safe side anyway, even if the share of hybrid or electric vehicles reaches the forecasted 20% by 2025, as our aluminum turbo parts increase the fuel economy of conventional engines.”

Le Belier SA is well on its way towards even expanding its operations and its global presence, making its advanced technical know-how available to the aviation industry in the process. Needless to say, digital transformation is an important topic for this internationally operating group and has long since become an important part of its interactive processes in the field of system communication and information exchange.

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