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Maintaining the edge in gasket manufacturing

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Founded in 1969, and headquartered in Guny in northern France, MCD is the world market leader in replacement gaskets for plate heat exchangers. “Originally, we were purely a service provider in the maintenance of plate heat exchangers,” explains Managing Director Luc Sommerard. “These are used to exchange fluids at different temperatures in a variety of different sectors – the food, automotive, cosmetics, and chemical industries for example – and, according to their application, are subject to diverse maintenance schedules. For example, in milk pasturization, maintenance and the replacement of parts is required every six months. In contrast, components used in geothermal equipment providing warm water for a housing unit can last for many years and are only replaced when they are worn out.”

An essential part of a maintenance programme is ensuring that the equipment is effectively sealed. “Of course, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sell gaskets and plates, but end-users often choose replacement parts from an alternative supplier,” Mr. Sommerard continues. “We produce over 1,5 million gaskets with 1,000 models in 20 different materials, and have a solution for every situation.”

MCD attaches a lot of importance to his social responsibility with the high focus environmental aspect. Luc SommerardManaging Director

MCD has technicians in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, who drive to customers’ premises to maintain and repair plate heat exchange machinery. “Customers can also send their equipment to our own workshops for repair,” notes Marketing & Communications Manager Mélanie Planchon. “We also offer our customers the opportunity to have their equipment tested and certified which, for some customers is extremely important.”

While the company only undertakes maintenance work in four European countries, its plates and gaskets are distributed in 90 countries around the world. Produced at its own manufacturing unit in China, the parts are made from Europe raw materials which comply with European standards.

In addition to its premises in France and China, MCD also has an office in the US which is responsible for logistics in that region. The combination of service and production gives MCD a strong competitive edge.

“As both maintenance firm and manufacturer, we see the requirements of our customers from two perspectives, and we can meet all their needs,” stresses Ms. Planchon. “Our products are of a very high quality – equal to that of the original manufacturers – and they are more cost efficient than the brand name products. We provide full documentation and we can verify the European origins of all the raw materials used. As a cosmopolitan, international company, we speak 15 different languages internally which our customers really appreciate.”

With 200 employees, MCD currently serves 2,500 customers around the world, including companies which are themselves in the maintenance sector. Exports account for around 60% of the firm’s 16 million EUR annual turnover, revenues which look set to increase in the coming years.

“Our goal is to grow,” states Mr. Sommerard simply. “This will involve both organic and external growth. In France, MCD has a 25% market share in maintenance, but worldwide our market share stands at around 1% or perhaps even less. That means that there is huge potential for enormous growth. Up to now, the company has developed very successfully, and our aim is that this development trend will continue in the future.”

Economic difficulties have posed significant problems for many companies in recent years. MCD however, views an economic crisis as an opportunity. “Economic weakness has a positive effect for us,” explains the Managing Director. “When the economy is good, then investment is high and our clients install new equipment which needs to be maintained. But when the economy is weak, companies don’t invest and machinery has to be used for as long as possible – requiring more intensive maintenance than normal.”

Different markets also present varying challenges and opportunities. “In developed regions, equipment is already in place, and maintenance is a priority,” Mr. Sommerard points out. “In less developed countries, regular maintenance is not available unless something breaks down. However, as emerging economies evolve, so too does the need for new assets. The number of machines is increasing and therefore the demand for maintenance is also growing. This puts us in a very positive market dynamic that will continue to grow in the coming years.”

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