Collaborative robots, energy savings … The Amis company is modernizing its plant in Montluçon (Allier)

The crisis in the automobile market, competition from emerging countries, the move towards electric vehicles… There are no shortage of challenges for the Amis company, which employs five hundred and thirty employees in Montluçon and Guéret, excluding temporary workers.

This company designs and mass-produces forgings for car manufacturers. These are mainly gears for engines and transmissions – in normal times, twenty-five to thirty million of these products leave the Montluçon plant each year – but it also creates transmission tulips or parking brakes.

Collaborative robots

The Amis company has started a project to modernize the plant for an amount of 5 million euros over three years. The state recovery plan will subsidize part of these initiatives to the tune of one million euros.

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The company acquires machines of a new generation, in particular collaborative robots, called “cobots”. It is a category of robots dedicated to the manipulation of objects in collaboration with a human operator. “We should have one by the end of the year and two or three next year,” says Sébastien Monmaneix, industrial excellence project manager.

The Amis company in Montluçon temporarily stops its activity (March 2020)

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Better control of parts

A 3D scan has already taken place within the factory, as part of research and development. This machine allows you to have a complete view of the product and to identify its defects. “It is one of the challenges for us to be certain that the part is good before building it in series”, underlines the project manager.

The research and development part is devoted to the development of new forged-machined products used in alternative engines to thermal. Digital camera control machines will also expand the arsenal of the Montluçonnais site.

Energy savings

Another project of the company is to achieve energy savings, with the switch to light-emitting diodes over an area of ​​34,000 square meters in the factory and the acquisition of a more efficient gas boiler.

“State subsidies are conditional on the fulfillment of the commitments we have made. For the moment, we have received 25% of the sum, ”comments Sébastien Monmaneix.

One of the challenges of Amis is to increase its competitiveness. “We are no longer in the era of fifteen or twenty years ago when we had such know-how that we could fight with low-cost countries,” says Philippe Dufeutrelle, Managing Director of Amis.

A decrease in turnover

The turnover of the company, a subsidiary of the Sifcor group, increased from 68 million euros in 2019 to 52 million in 2020. It is suffering the full brunt of the automotive market crisis that began with the pandemic in March 2020.

“It’s a profession where you depend on builders. We hoped that the activity would restart at the end of last year, but we continue to ask questions and we still do not know where we are going, ”explains CEO Philippe Dufeutrelle.

Philippe Dufeutrelle, Managing Director of Amis.

“Our luck is not to have too much dependence on diesel cars”, remarks Philippe Dufeutrelle, whose factory has developed, in recent years, helical gears for electric vehicles.

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Forecasting difficulties arise within Amis, in particular for the raw material, steel, which must be ordered six months in advance. “To adjust spending, we reduced supplies and the use of temporary workers, adjusted variable costs and resorted to short-time work. “

Guillaume Bellavoine

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