From old-style moulding equipment to state-of-the-art technology

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Company Profile

La Fonte Ardennaise was founded in France in 1927 by the grandfather of the current owner and general manager. Today, the company remains 100% family owned, but has grown to consist of a total of five foundries, producing grey and ductile iron on a total of 10 DISA moulding lines that support the company in producing cost-effective high-quality castings. The decision to buy the 1st DISA machine dates back to 1969, and although it was a decision made by the uncle and father, it is still referred to as a turning point in the family business.

“We still occasionally talk about various ‘before and after DISA’ scenarios, when evaluating the success and growth of our business”, says Emmanuel Grosdidier, general manager and member of the board at LFA.

Herausforderungen, Lösung und Ergebnisse

Prior to buying its 1st DISA moulding line in 1969 – which the owner believes to be only the 2nd or 3rd machine ever to be bought in France – LFA operated on small, horizontal machines and focused mainly on handmade moulding.

“The decision to go with DISA back in 1969 included big risks. Not because of the equipment itself or the company behind it, but simply because none of us knew the technology at the time. However, we considered automizing our processes as our way forward, and the strategic choice was to start with the purchase of one machine to learn how to work with it”, Emmanuel Grosdidier explains.

Precision and accuracy beyond compare

“We quickly noted the advantages: An unparalleled precision and very low mismatch, which used to be a major problem with the old technology and previous moulding lines.

Primarily based on the excellence in casting quality and accuracy, LFA made the strategic choice to purchase yet another DISA machine already in the early 1970ies.

At that point in time, Emmanuel Grosdidier’s father decided to grow the company by buying various competitors, and already in the early and mid 80ies, LFA consolidated its status by innovating further and investing in DISAMATIC in all foundries.

Building on mutual respect and teamwork

Today, the 3rd generation family-owned cast iron foundry has more than 80 years of experience and is still going strong with an ambitious management that involves itself directly in the market of grey and ductile iron for the automotive industry.

Flexibility and expertise

“Our foundries are all ISO certified and equipped with the latest generation of DISAMATIC moulding lines with the capacity to produce 120,000 tonnes per year. The flexibility and expertise of each of our foundries allow us to fulfil every type of demand – whether ranging from small or medium to large-scale production of castings – with or without a core – and with an average weight of everything between a few hundred grams and 40 kg, approx.”, Emmanuel Grosdidier states.

Best-in-class

“The new generation DISA moulding lines are definitely best-in-class. Irrespective of whether we talk about the speed of the machines, the accuracy in casting or the ease of maintenance: The advantages are numerous. Practically uncountable. The reliable machinery and equipment allow us to stay focused on developing our business, on offering the highest quality of products to our customer base, and on continuously seeking to lowering our costs per casting”, Grosdidier points out.

Long-term relationship of mutual benefit

“For more than 40 years, LFA has endeavoured to offer value-added services to the market that enhance our primary activity of producing iron castings. It is a tough business, but that just makes our relations with DISA all the more valuable. The atmosphere is always open and professional, and we have come to expect more than just a customer/ supplier relationship. We expect – and we get – a partnership in which we mutually discuss future developments and improvements. With five foundries and ten DISA lines, we have built a long-term relationship based on trust, respectful exchange of opinions and teamwork”, concludes Emmanuel Grosdidier, general manager and member of the board at La Fonte Ardennaise.