Since its creation in 1920 as a supplier to the naval industry, LATTY International has grown by maintaining its focus on its core business: the design and manufacture of industrial sealing solutions. Today, as a cross-disciplinary supplier to many industries where the notion of safety is predominant (naval, food processing, water services, mining, oil and gas, aeronautics and automotive), it was only natural that this family-owned company should join the nuclear industry at the end of the 1970s. Interview with Christian-Xavier Latty, Chairman of this 250-strong company that will celebrate its centenary this year.
What prospects can you evoke for LATTY in the nuclear sector, whether in the short or long term?
Today, we are ready to support EDF and its equipment manufacturers not only in the maintenance operations of the national park, but also on the Flamanville EPR, the Hinkley Point C EPR in England, as well as on the EPR2 project. LATTY is also closely following EDF's international projects, notably the EPR project in Jaitapur, which would represent a tremendous development opportunity for us in the Indian market, as we have done in the past in China, thanks, for example, to projects such as Daya Bay or the Taishan EPRs. In addition, LATTY intends to continue to support its customers internationally, always offering them innovative solutions for greater safety and industrial performance.
What are LATTY's activities within the nuclear industry?
The nuclear sector represents about 20% of LATTY's turnover. Today, we supply the main operators (EDF, Orano, CEA, Framatome...) with three types of sealing solutions: Braids, Mechanical Seals and Static Seals. Our products are mounted on various equipment found in a nuclear installation: valves, rotating machines, piping and pressure vessels. These products are manufactured at our Brou site in Eure-et-Loir. LATTY does not only design and manufacture sealing solutions; our offer also includes all the services that accompany the supply of these solutions: studies, qualification tests, calculation notes, training in good assembly practice for our sealing parts, etc.
What is LATTY's news in the nuclear field?
For the past two years, LATTY has been offering nuclear operators and the main equipment manufacturers two innovative solutions, which are the fruit of significant investments and long R&D processes: on the one hand, a new generation of very low friction nuclear valve packings capable of withstanding irradiations of 4000 KGy; on the other hand, an EPDM-based elastomer seal also qualified in irradiations up to 1700 KGy and PMUC-approved. In addition, in the context of the large fairing, we have been assisting Framatome since 2014 on the replacement of the steam generators of the 900 MGW and 1300 MGW power plants. We also benefit from an EDF UTO framework contract for mechanical seals, which are fitted on the rotating machines in the French fleet. Finally, we have developed high-tech friction faces allowing our GMs to operate in accidental "post Fukushima" mode. These high-performance solutions bear witness to LATTY's continuous improvement approach in terms of plant safety, personal safety and environmental protection, with industrial performance as the guiding principle.