Finding a space in a mature high-tech market
Starting mid of 2018, Transtec took over the dealership of AXILE products in France. Since then G series machines have been presented in French national shows (next one will be Paris Industry, from 31st March to 3rd April, where a G6 will be shown) and we have some good references in the aerospace and defence industry (4xG6 and 2xG8)
A history with pedigree
TRANSTEC MACHINES-OUTILS was founded in 1982 in Angers, France. Initially (1982-1992) dedicated to the distribution of metal removal CNC machine tools, exclusively in the West of France, they developed their activity to cover the full service for their customers, thus offering service and training. During those first years, they sold high-end machines from Wasino, Huron, Nakamura and Kitamura among others.
The 1990 crisis was a turning point in Transtec history when they decided to become a national importer for the whole country. In 1993 they started to represent the high-tech world-class Japanese manufacturer Hitachi-Seiki. During a decade (1993-2002) they were mostly a mono-brand supplier and installed more than 450 Hitachi machines, gaining a reputation as a high-tech machine-tool supplier in France.
The disruptive bankruptcy of Hitachi Seiki in 2002, drove Transtec to a new strategy of the multi-brand portfolio, but always focused on high-end technology, and after nearly 40 years they are one of the leading companies in the French machine-tool market, with more than 3.000 machines installed. Their main products today are Kitamura, Takisawa, Leadwell among others and since mid of 2018 they also distribute AXILE products.
French market: high-value
France is the second most populated country in Europe, only after Germany, with over 68 million people. It is also one of the core founders of the EU, and home of some of the highest value companies in the old continent like Airbus (aerospace), Areva (nuclear power generation), ESA-European Space Agency (space), Dassault (aerospace & defence), Safran (aerospace), Alstom Transport (railway) and many others. France is also home to 2 of the biggest automotive groups worldwide (Renault-Nissan, and PSA-Fiat-Chrysler).
The expansion of the EU and the irruption of low-wages Asian markets which reduced the manufacturing industry in France, but the high-value industries mentioned above kept their research and development in the countries with the higher-valued manufacturing processes.
Today the country is full of high-tech innovative machining companies and subcontractors. The South and West are intensive in aerospace-related industries and the East is still home for some of the most important mold makers in Europe with high-level specialization in automotive and cosmetics industries. But unlike other high-tech countries such as Germany or Italy, the machining companies are well spread all over the French geography.
Transtec: built for high-tech service
Réginald Freuchet is the MD and majority shareholder of Transtec, and the second generation of the founder of the company. He joined the company in 2008 after a long working experience in an aerospace company in the US. Philippe Mas is the sales director and also shareholder, with a vast experience in the machine tool industry, first in service then in sales, joined Transtec in 1998.
France is a very large country with its diversified industry spread all over its geography, making it difficult for dealers to cover it all. This is why the dealership network has dramatically reduced with merging and bankruptcies in the last 2 decades. Transtec strategy for success is clear: a high-level sales&service back-office (4 people) based in their HQ in Angers, with some own sales (6 people) and service (other 6) and some sub-dealers (10) and subcontracted service (15) to have a quick response to any service call in every country’s corner.
Transtec is a customer-oriented company and thus loyalty is a major driving force for their growth strategy. Their complete and well-balanced product portfolio allows them to create continuous supply links to most of their wide customer base.
Transtec strategy for AXILE
Transtec already had a very extensive portfolio in horizontal machining centres (Kitamura & Akira Seiki), 3X vertical centres (Kitamura & Leadwell) and lathes (Samsung & Honor Seiki). But a high-end market like France is now focusing on more complex and flexible machining with automation, and AXILE was the perfect match for this challenge.
Today AXILE is one of their main products and although the difficulty of growing reputation of a new brand like ours, Transtec already installed a good number of stand-alone machines in the aerospace and defence subcontractors.
The next step is trying to sell some of the many opportunities that are arising for 5X VMC with automation. In this case our G6 APC and Robot are obviously helping, but Transtec also customizes automation solutions to meet the end-user needs, combining robots, clamping system and software. It is clear the 5X machines with automation systems will be one of the main demands in the French market in the near future.
Valuable feedback & closer cooperation
The cooperation between Buffalo and Transtec is not only in supplier-dealer direction but also opposite. Transtec’s valuable experience in customized automation solutions and their end-users experience is feeding back to Buffalo’s R&D and product management, and helping to think about future machines and technical solutions especially for the aerospace and defence industry.