Le Béon Manufacturing (Lorient and Plouay, 67 employees) produces marine lifting and anchoring parts in small series of one to forty pieces for fishing, offshore oil, merchant shipping and pleasure boating. In difficulties a year ago, the company found a new breath under the impetus of four of its former executives, supported by a local investor and the Bretagne Region. The company is now targeting the Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) market.
Development of Marine Renewable Energies
“Our ambition is to build the complete anchor line for offshore wind turbines, from anchorage to the waterline,” says Jean-Paul Zoliec, general manager.
Already in 2009, the SME was making connection pieces for the anchorages of the Hywind floating wind farm off the Scottish port of Peterhead, including five wind turbines that have been operating since last year.
In 2015, Le Béon Manufacturing took part in the Floatgen project, the floating wind turbine installed off Le Croisic, for which it coordinated the anchoring system and created the connectors (anchors and fixation points on the float). Though the connectors are made of forged alloy steel, the rest of the mooring line is made of nylon fibre, favoured for its anticorrosive and elastic qualities allowing it to absorb the movements of the swell. To carry out this project, Le Béon has formed a partnership with the Belgian specialist in synthetic fibre, Bexco, and the Korean expert in chain components, Dai-Han.
In addition, the recovery in 2016 of Lorrain Ancr’est has allowed to add the design of ground fixations to its skills.
The investors wish to make use of the company’s different businesses (R&D, forging, heat treatment, machining, control and metallurgical laboratory) to develop inexpensive, resistant and easy installation solutions for MRE. The company intends to achieve 50% of its turnover in the medium term in this market. To achieve this objective, it is considering the creation of a specific entity for MRE involving two people in a design office and a sales office.
Means for growth
The MRE activity benefits from the potential of the new factory located in Plouay, ten times more spacious than the historic premises in Lorient. It is suitably dimensioned to provide €30-40 million in sales, compared with €10 million before the difficulties encountered in 2017. Within two years, all production should take place in Plouay.
Le Béon Manufacturing gives itself the means to industrialise the production of pieces hitherto manufactured in small series. Fully automated, a complete metal heat treatment line has been installed in Plouay. The site also hosts a steel park and bridges that will soon be equipped with pulling machines for a factory-integrated lifting system.
“Today we are developing parts that have gained 30% resistance. Orders are flooding in, especially from Asia. Export accounts for 60% of sales. We have the tools and products, the challenge is clearly in the conquest of talent, in connection with engineering schools.” Says Jean-Paul Zoliec who has strengthened his teams in recent months (from 60 at the end of 2017 to 67 in June) and plans to create at least 35 jobs in the next 3 years.
A strong signal in its new dynamic, Le Béon Manufacturing hosted last May at its Plouay site the launch of Bretagne Ocean Power, the new regional coordination tool designed to support the entire Breton MRE sector.
Sources : Le Télégramme – 25/05/2018, Journal des Entreprises – 28/05/2018, Mer et Marine – 13/06/2018