The SARL Gamma-TiAl foundry is now casting titanium based parts for the aeronautics industry on the industrial site just outside Richelieu. They are a sub-contractor of Safran, who essentially equip the engines of Airbus Industrie airliners. The updated factory installations and the wonder-alloy titanium aluminide have swept away any legacy of the former furniture-making trades. Furniture has been replaced by TiAl cooling ducts, designed and manufactured to be placed around aircraft engines. They are the result of the closely guarded technical mysteries of the SARL Gamma-TiAl company, a cutting-edge industry with their manufacturing secrets jealously guarded, particularly since their relocation to Richelieu in 2013. Fierce commercial competition obliges that each and every visit to the factory is closely controlled and all photography is limited, particularly around of the furnaces where the actual melting of the titanium bars takes place. The molten titanium alloy is cast at 1500° C. Out comes a single piece, polished if necessary, ensuring zero production defects.The installations are an absolutely unique example of a specialist metal foundry that uses a version of the 'lost wax' process.
In the past year, the order book has been overflowing. The cause is the new the 'Leap' engines, Safran's latest range of powerplants, on which SARL Gamma-TiAl works for both version A (for Airbus) and B (for Boeing).
Safran equips all the single-aisle aeroplane fleets of the two world airline giants,
"ensuring fuel savings, reduced nuisance and a more modest carbon footprint," according to the technicians.
"This means that when you board an A 320 type airliner, there are titanium parts around the engine manufactured here in Richelieu," says Arnaud Henrion, manager of SARL Gamma-TiAl.
There have been many new workers hired in 2018 - a huge expansion and success that grows as air traffic requirements expand.
Hopeful ambitions have given birth to this new 'small' business sector which nevertheless represents nearly 35% of the innovative specialist market. Nearly twenty-five new jobs are expected by the end of the year 2018. They will be added to the forty-three technicians already in post, making a staff of 68 in all.
The next objective will be to regain a position lost in the automotive market, which had to be abandoned temporarily in late 2015 following a fire that ravaged the former plant in Toulouse, and to "expand the field of possibilities".
"The product is very light in weight, it does not rust at all ... many sectors still do not exploit it," says Arnaud Henrion.
"The only family-owned foundry with independent capital" is therefore conquering the world from the Champigny-Richelieu business park.
Three hundred castings are released each month from the SARL Gamma-TiAl factory. And the pace may accelerate. Airbus anticipates the need for 28,000 new aircraft for short and medium haul fights in the next twenty years.
An exciting foward-looking subject for the cardinal duc"s ancient cité idéale!
- taken from a facebook post - Comité des Fêtes de Richelieu