Foundry-Planet: Lethiguel conceives, manufactures and supplies cooling and heating solutions for the light metal casting industry. Guillaume, how was the EUROGUSS 2020 and what was the focus of your company’s presentation?
Guillaume Levacher: EUROGUSS 2020 was quite positive for us, and although it was close to the GIFA (last June), the EUROGUSS fair is keeping up its good reputation and reinforcing its position of a high-quality oriented fair and a favorite event for the Aluminum die-casting industry with each edition.
At the last EUROGUSS, we introduced a completely new range of products, including market-ready solutions as well as new innovations still in the development phase. Fairs such as EUROGUSS enable us to test the rationale of our new developments as we present them to a wide public of experts and professionals. The valuable feedback from our clients, prospects, and partners, help us to keep on a good path moving forward, which is to provide adequate solutions to their growing challenges.
At this year’s EUROGUSS, we unveiled finalized innovations and new developments which are now ready to be used in the die-casting industrial environment.
Foundry-Planet: The casting industry currently faces several changes and new perspectives: Concerning key-words like industry 4.0, new powertrain solutions, energy savings, weight reduction, and material competition, how can Lethiguel support light metal casters in the different fields?
Guillaume Levacher: Absolutely, we believe the industrial world as a whole is facing these challenges, which of course are also part of the evolution of our light metal casting industry.
One of the great advantages of our company, is to be able to virtually cover the complete light-metal industry and most of its value chain; while our jet cooling solutions focus more on the die-casting industry, our immersion heating solutions are used upstream in aluminum cathouses, die-casting processes, and downstream in the recycling industry. This gives us the chance to learn about technologies and solutions from one process and gather ideas to transfer and adapt these proven solutions to another process. As the common macroscopic changes are impacting all global industries, we use our peripheral view to feed our technical development efforts and to accelerate along with our clients and partners.
Ever growing complexity of parts designed and produced in light-metal die-casting
All of our latest developments embed 4.0 features, in terms of safety, M2M communication, and machine intelligence. Although we rest assured the human being will always be indispensable to effectively run an industrial process, we feel 4.0 dynamics are meant to progressively relieve the human beings from burdens and allow them to use their brains where it has the highest added value.
Drastic changes implied by the new powertrain solutions and weight reduction efforts could be simply summarized in an ever growing complexity of parts designed and produced in light-metal die-casting. These changes induce pressure for die-casting industries, and as the parts are becoming more complex, the production processes follow the same trend. Our technologies are meant to answer these problematics, from optimizing the metal quality down to the control of the casting quality, our knowhow and core competencies enable to reach the production expectations in terms of quality and productivity, thereby ensuring continuous profitability for our clients.
Energy saving or efficiency...
...has always been one of our core values; we have always believed in the use of a clean and optimized energy. One could say we have been a bit early, for example when we developed our electrical and conductive immersion heating technology over 20 years ago, however we had a long-term vision and are now in a position to offer opportunities to optimize (if not completely change) conservative production processes. The use of our conductive immersion heaters ensures a 100% electrical energy efficiency, no metal loss, improvement of melt quality, and higher productivity. We now want to take it one step further by developing the scope of this technology even more, and widening our standard solutions such as our range of holding furnaces for example.
Our Jet cooling technologies have also always been developed in order to optimize the efficiency and to decrease the use of resources. As an example, 15 years ago we were the very first jet cooling manufacturer in the world to develop a “closed-loop” circuit, thereby allowing to reuse the same water at every production cycle, instead of purging the water into waste like it is traditionally done by our peers. In everything we do, we will continue working in the way of optimizing energy efficiency and the preservation of valuable resources.
We keep an optimistic view on the trends and changes at stake. As a corporation, we love innovation and change, because it pushes us to learn every day and reinvent our lives in order to adapt to the evolving environment. We believe that through the development of new ways of casting existing and future parts, and by supporting complexifying processes with new and exciting technologies, the global light metal die-casting industry will keep a strong competitive advantage in the material competition.
Foundry-Planet: 2020 has just begun, but the course is now being set. In what areas is light metal casting developing and what are Lethiguel´s objectives in terms of products and markets?
Guillaume Levacher: We have witnessed important shifts in the global die-casting industry these past years. Some historical “centers of attention” have slowed down a bit, while some emerging markets are growing very fast.
Increased globalization but also complex interdependences make it very hard to read, as the production of given parts can be transferred geographically on a shorter call than before. Export accounts for over 85% of our sales, as we serve around 40 countries globally; as a corporation, we are quite impacted by these trends. Things change, and they can change quickly!
Lethiguel’s philosophy has always been to consider our clients’ satisfaction as paramount. We focus on offering technologies and solutions with the highest added value, of course in terms of quality, but also in terms of services to support our clients all along the way. Customer service is a very important part of who we are. We keep a long-term vision and a global view of our industry, but work to adapt to local needs, local business cultures and local specificities.
For this reason, this year we will continue our global development by reinforcing our overseas offices and establishing new offices in growing markets - the goal being to strengthen our local presences and to widen our range of services and local capacities.
As already explained, our industry requires new technologies and solutions, and increased competitivity, to face today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Thus, after having built a new HQ and plant last year, in 2020 we are expanding our production capacity and working on developing new and different technologies which will be released soon.