“Innovation is key in our market. However, acting on today’s global market, the process of coming up with new ideas and turning them into new products must be executed as a joint effort by the research team, customers and suppliers,” points out Managing Director Philippe Descaillot, who is well aware that the future of the company is closely intertwined with its ability to put forward innovation and thus conquer the future.
THERMOCOMPACT may be a company that dates back to 1913, but it focuses on its innovative spirit that has prevailed throughout the decades. However, its beginning was a far cry from the high-tech solutions in precious metals coating and high-tech wires for EDM applications that the company delivers today.
Little more than 100 years ago, in 1913, the company started operations under the name Laminor. The initial focus was on the production of watch bracelets before it changed its name to THERMOCOMPACT in 1973. Since that time THERMOCOMPACT has been present in the EDM wire market.
In 1995, it was acquired by the two business partners Gilles Mollard and Jean-Claude Cornier, and today, THERMOCOMPACT is part of Thermo-Technologies Group, which is in the hands of the Mollard and Cornier families. Applying its founding values of expertise, excellence and innovation, THERMOCOMPACT exports about 98% of its production to the global market, serving customers in Europe, Asia and the USA.
“We have not rested on our laurels or on the 17 product and process world patents which we have had registered in our company’s name,” stresses Mr. Descaillot. “Instead, we have very much focused our strategy on R&D and innovation, which is a guarantee for continued success. A portfolio of relevant patents, which undergoes continuous renewal, is a key aspect of our leadership approach.”
About 6% of the annual turnover of 30 million EUR is reinvested into R&D, which boasts a highly qualified team of six Ph.D engineers who take on external partnerships. “Right now, we are closely involved in a major project concentrating on the development of diamond wires for applications for cutting silicon, as used in the electronics and photovoltaic markets,” explains Mr. Descaillot. “And so far we have had positive feedback from our customers. You can see this as a kind of start-up activity, as we are just at the beginning of developing this segment within our portfolio.”
THERMOCOMPACT serves industrial customers in the fields of automotive, aeronautics, connectors, medical and precision cutting. Among its customers are manufacturers for special machinery, including GFMS (Georg Fischer Machining Solutions), as well as independent distributors worldwide.
The company’s electro discharge machining technology is also applied in the production of moulds for plastics components, for example for telephone casings, for components in car manufacturing or for cutting tools. Even tools for working with fine wire in watchmaking is an area THERMOCOMPACT’s products cover.
“We are aware of the broad range of applications. However, each application has its own challenges,” points out Mr. Descaillot. “Our strong focus on R&D enables us to offer our international clientele a new generation of electrode wires – the Gamma and Beta-Gamma lines – which boast better performance and meet our customers’ current requirements. These products generate about 80% of our turnover right now,” adds Mr. Descaillot.
THERMOCOMPACT has initiated various special projects with customers, such as GFMS (Georg Fischer Machining Solutions). “It is all about increasing the performance of electro discharge machining. Here, we have to define exact parameters in order to control the fine cuts of the machine and to gain maximum performance. This is a task which can only be tackled in cooperation with the customer to offer a combination of machine and wire,” stresses Mr. Descaillot.
In addition, the company is involved in special projects with the aeronautics industry. “A problem with electro discharge machining might be the deposition of metal on the wire, which leaves sediment on the component. This is a problem that is hard to solve, and we are committed to finding a solution that prevents any wire particles from sedimenting on the component. This is one of our ambitious projects,” says Mr. Descaillot.
High quality standards in sourcing, production and delivery rank highly on the company’s agenda. As the quality of its raw materials is essential, THERMOCOMPACT has built up a close network of European suppliers, which deliver materials of great purity.
“This enables us to produce superior qualities. What’s more, our closeness to suppliers guarantees retraceability at any stage, another factor in safeguarding quality standards,” says Mr. Descaillot. “In the near future, we will continue to create a unique bond with suppliers, customers and research institutions and keep on creating solutions that boost performance and quality in various key industries.”