Aro wins new markets thanks to its new machines – Le Journal des Entreprises – Maine-et-Loire
In Montval-sur-Loir, in Sud-Sarthe, Aro Welding Technologies (500 employees including 300 in Sarthe) sees the completion of a 2.7 million euro investment plan, including new machines and a new 1,100 m logistics building2. The designer and manufacturer of resistance welding equipment and systems integrated the last of its four new machines at the end of 2022. The company took the opportunity to review its flows and internalizes a welding workshop for aluminum parts, hitherto subcontracted. This investment of 1.4 million euros “will open up new markets for us”, explains the manager, whose products equip the automotive industries for large series. Its customers are General Motors, Renault, Stellantis, BMW, Ford… “We have just sold 500 stations to Mercedes. Before, we would not have been competitive, in relation to the cost, since certain parts were manufactured in-house on aging machines and others were subcontracted abroad. Now we have reduced our costs, our lead times and we can produce parts with larger dimensions”.
90% of turnover generated abroad
If 58 million euros out of the 90 million euros in turnover are produced at the Sarthois headquarters, 90% of the turnover is generated by markets abroad, Aro being present in around forty countries. Leader in America and Europe, Aro encounters more difficulties on the Asian market. His group, itself a subsidiary of the British family group Langley Holdings, has eleven sites around the world, including three factories: in Montval, Detroit (United States) and Wuhan (China). The other sites are technical-commercial supports, or even representative offices (one in Korea, one in the process of being set up in Italy). “The Wuhan subsidiary, where 35 people work, had a front row seat during the Covid. After two difficult years, things are off to a good start again in 2022. We have had some successes with new Chinese contacts, manufacturers of electric vehicles: Nio , whose products will soon arrive in Europe, and Xiaomi, a phone maker that is getting into electric cars.”
A more modern logistics building
The new logistics building, meanwhile, was inaugurated in December 2022. The start of the project had been delayed by the Covid, “we had to start everything from scratch in 2021”, says Jean-Yves David. The new building replaces and expands a set of temporary buildings. “The activity becoming permanent deserved that we invest in permanent premises, and thermal renovation was necessary. We killed two birds with one stone: we erected a more insulated and taller building of 250 m2, and above. It will also be equipped with solar panels”. This building will make it possible to repatriate stocks currently placed with external logisticians. It will provide comfort to the teams for packing and shipping, in particular thanks to an overhead crane and a loading dock. New social premises have also been fitted out. Cost: 1.3 million euros.
“We are not looking for growth for growth’s sake”, assures the leader. The company is experiencing stable turnover in 2021, 2022, and probably 2023. One of the current challenges is to respond to recruitment difficulties, to ensure the renewal of teams. “We have a dozen open positions permanently.” Handicapped by the lack of attractiveness of its rural area, Aro highlights the great diversity of professions offered within the company, which controls its entire value chain, from design to sale, including manufacturing.