SOMEFLU (Fluid mechanics company, Société mécanique des fluides)

This French family company (75 people and over €10M total sales in 2019) is a good example of success...

Specialized in the design and manufacture of anti-corrosive plastic centrifugal pumps, it operates mainly in the niche market of anti-corrosive pumps, emphasizing customization, quality, innovation, and expertise in order to respond to specific needs while aiming to implement a digital chain worthy of the factory of the future.

This integration is facilitated by the choice of TopSolid solutions, which aim to enhance quality and flexibility.

 


Someflu was created in 1962 by Maurice Lacour, the grandfather of Alexandre Lacour, the current President.

Engineer and specialist in hydraulic presses, the founder developed the first pumps made from “stainless steel lost wax,” originally designed for the printing sector, into thermoplastic pumps for corrosive environments, thus playing on differentiation.

In the 1980s, Someflu started to develop a high-performance plastic processing activity thanks to the launch of the Aplast activity (Plastic Activity, Activité Plastique), specialized in the production of engineering plastic parts and complex thermoplastic assemblies for high-tech industries.

By combining plastic parts in contact with corrosive and abrasive fluids and metal assemblies to cover the line of acting forces, Someflu and Aplast have had a proven industrial synergy for over 40 years.

Around 30% of the production is sold for export, for example, in Australia, the USA, China, Russia, the Middle East, etc.

As a result, the company has set up an appropriate organization and has acquired the means (software and machine tools) to respond just-in-time to tailor-made projects with high value-added products. 

The computerization of the different departments in the company has accompanied this innovative development and its transformation, and Someflu set up a first CAPM (Computer Aided Production Management System) in 1987 to control internal flows, from the management of an order to its invoicing.

Advanced machine tools followed these first investments with the installation in the 1990s of CNC lathes and machining centers, which was, at the time, a rare approach for an SME.

The installation of this equipment obliged the company to find a CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing) solution capable of ensuring reliable and complex programming.

“In 2007, we installed the first TopSolid solution to replace the CAM software: our objective was to prepare the construction of a complete digital chain from design to production, and this CAD/CAM digital chain had to be capable of solving complex application cases, such as the manufacturing of centrifugal pump volutes and impellers,” Alexandre Lacour explains.

What tipped the scale in favor of this choice?

“The fact that we had a shared vision with TOPSOLID specialists about the evolution of the digital chain and about the way the link between the ‘two worlds’ is made: the Design Office and the Methods Office,” the Director of Someflu responds. 

The next step was quick in order to improve management with an integrated tool: in 2010, the TopSolid’Erp software was implemented at Aplast, the plastic processing and molding site in Savoie, followed in 2018 by its implementation at the Bagnolet headquarters for pump design and manufacture.

Progress continues with the installation of new modules, with multiple advantages.

 

“Today, the digital chain is complete with TopSolid’Design, TopSolid’Cam, and TopSolid’Erp solutions, which have proven themselves useful in the company, each within their own scope (DO, MO, ERP), sharing information and data thanks to their integration.

In addition to these standard solutions, the TopSolid’Services team provides a very valuable asset to save time in the deployment process: they were asked to set up the configuration of CAD libraries and to support the evolution of the Design and Methods offices,” Alexandre Lacour says.  

 “Digital evolution has had its ups and downs, but this is normal when such a transformation is carried out in a company: without commitment from all the teams and the support of the project team, this would have been impossible,” says Alexandre, who considers that there needs to be a real sharing of values and a very productive agreement between these two close-knit companies.

“Support, skills, team commitment, follow-up, and adaptability created links and a true partnership, especially for large-scale projects that last months, or even years,” he concludes.

However, the company is far from resting on its laurels: it is already developing equally ambitious projects around the “As A Service” Industry and the set of technological bricks that make it up: an approach in which the digital chain built around TopSolid will be essential. A technological adventure to be continued...

Alexandre Lacour’s opinion: “The collaboration between Someflu and TOPSOLID, based on a logical technical approach, has been built progressively throughout our development: their business engineers are true technicians who understand our needs and expectations, always ready to help us with informed advice.”

Strengths of the TopSolid applications :

- User-friendliness and 3D modeling power

- Ability to quickly and economically customize pumps

- Successful partnership with TopSolid teams: support, skills, team commitment, follow-up and adaptability have created links and a true partnership, especially for large-scale digital projects.