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Smaller yet better: Connecting electronics


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“Miniaturization is a key theme for many of our customers; we have to produce ever smaller and more compact components,” explains Country Manager for Germany Sébastien Charbonnel. “At the same time, customers want faster and greater functionality and more durability – aircraft radar, for example, now has to have a 25 to 30 year lifespan.” Nicomatic specializes in high performance micro-connectors, connectors for flexible circuits, flexible ribbon cables, and metal snap domes and related components for man-machine interface. Parts can be custom made to meet individual client requirements. Around 40% of production is for the general industrial sector – automation, robotics, and membrane switch manufacturers, for example – as well as for the medical industry and producers of electronic devices for smart housing, the wearables and printed electronics, where the size and weight of connectors is particularly important. Nicomatic’s first pillar however isnow in harsh environments, which includes the space and satellite industries, national security, and avionics, where quality, performance and precision are the top priority. In this segment, and in the area of miniaturization, Nicomatic is the market leader.

"Miniaturization is a key theme for our customers; at the same time they want faster and greater functionality and more durability." Sébastien CharbonnelCountry Manager for Germany at Nicomatic SA
Sébastien Charbonnel, Country Manager for Germany at Nicomatic SA

“We offer a portfolio of standard products, which is supplemented every year by brand-new innovations and new product features that help electronic designers to do their work easier,” explains Mr. Charbonnel. “Customers requiring tailor-made components work with our engineers, who develop 2D drawings, produce prototypes – partly via a 3D printer – and finally manufacture the complete series.” A R&D laboratory allows to pass all possible specific specifications and an industrialization team develops the necessary tools and machines. All Nicomatic’s products meet the necessary standards and regulations. Headquartered in Bons-en-Chablais in southeastern France, a mountainous region close to Mont-Blanc and renown for its precision Valley, around 90% of Nicomatic’s production takes place in France; cables are manufactured at the company’s plant in the US, and further assembly facilities are available at the firm’s workshop in China. The 100% in-house production enables complete control over quality and the end-to-end processes. “With our worldwide facilities, we can deliver up to 1,000 parts in a week in one delivery – sometimes ten times faster than the competition,” underlines Mr. Charbonnel. In addition to the production facilities in France, the US and China, Nicomatic also operates subsidiaries in Canada, Germany, the UK, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and India. “Asia is a strong, upcoming market,” says the Country Manager. “The region has a strong technical affinity and is a growing hub. France has a very positive image in Asia, from which we benefit hugely.” Nicomatic’s products are sold in around 70 countries.

Founded in 1976 by Paul Nicollin, Nicomatic is a family concern. Since 2008, it has been led by his sons, who have taken an unusual approach to sharing the management workload. Every three years, they rotate their roles within the company, and one of the brothers moves overseas to lead one of the firm’s new branches (or reinforcing an existing one) – Julien Nicollin is currently working in Singapore. Fast delivery, unique materials, connectors miniaturization with very small yet highly reliable high power, high frequency and signal contacts – and extensive customer contact to support the company’s products: these factors have contributed significantly to Nicomatic’s success. It is not just about the product though. “Products can be copied, but not our processes and unique culture,” says Mr. Charbonnel. “We are a ‘liberated leadership company’. There are no prescribed methodologies, but an ongoing improvement policy based on EN9100:2016 standards and an internal lean system that fosters excellence. Employees have a lot of autonomy to make decisions. We have built a nursery for employees’ children, and we organize an annual sports event involving 150 companies. We want our employees to feel good about their work and their lives.”

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