Created in 1912 as a cooperative and participative company (the employees are the owners of the company), the Union des Forgerons is present in four sectors of activity: aeronautics, defence, oil/gas and, of course, nuclear power, where the company is involved as a historical supplier to major principals and equipment manufacturers. An expert in the transformation of hot materials, the Union des Forgerons is based in Méréville in the south of Essonne and employs 140 people. Meeting with Jean-Léry Lecornier, its CEO.
What are the activities of Unions des Forgerons in the nuclear field?
They are consequent: the nuclear sector represents about 25% of our activities! Union des Forgerons has been involved in French civil nuclear power since 1974, i.e. since the launch of the national programme for the construction of nuclear power plants. This means that we have built up a very rich history, which enables us to supply forged parts for most of the power plants in the park, whether it be for the maintenance of the oldest plants, or for the Flamanville EPR, some components of which were forged in our workshops. Our customers include a number of major equipment manufacturers in the sector, if not directly nuclear power plants.
What's the news of Union des Forgerons?
Two years ago, we launched a program to renew our industrial facilities. Thus, we have acquired a new large forge that can supply forged parts up to 10 tonnes, as well as rolled forged rings up to 2.50 metres in diameter. We have thus given ourselves the means to respond to ever-increasing orders.
In addition, we have just acquired a laboratory for destructive and non-destructive mechanical testing, which represents a significant investment in financial terms of course, but also in terms of staff training and recruitment: four employees have been specially assigned to this new laboratory.
This approach demonstrates our ongoing ambition to follow the development of our customers and meet their needs.
What is your outlook for the coming year and beyond?
Despite the health crisis that has hit the global industry hard, we remain optimistic for 2020, as Union des Forgerons will continue to work with equipment manufacturers in the sector to supply the materials needed for the various maintenance and repair operations on the French nuclear fleet, as well as new equipment for the EPRs exported.
We will keep a close eye on new international projects and on the French SMR programme, which opens up good prospects for our activity. When the time comes to commit to the renewal of the French nuclear fleet, we will be an active industrial player in the nuclear industry.