NB : translated from c/2021/10/27/powerex-europe-seul-fabricant-en-france-de-pieces-a-haute-puissance-electrique-est-installe-au-mans/
Powerex Europe, the only French manufacturer of high power semiconductors, is located in Le Mans
The company from Le Mans can be proud of its origins and its know-how. It counts among its ancestors some very large electronics groups: General Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Alsthom.
The former Westinghouse brake and signal company moved its power converter and power semiconductor activities from Paris to Le Mans in the 1960s. The merger of Westinghouse, General Electric and Mitsubishi Electric in the 1980s gave rise to the American brand Powerex. The Le Mans unit, renamed POWEREX Europe S.A., was bought in 1994 by an industrialist from the north of France and became POWEREX Europe Manufacturing and Assembly. It is integrated in the federation of companies specialized in electronics developed by this industrialist who employs more than 1900 people for a turnover of more than 140 M€.
Since this takeover, POWEREX Europe is an independent company that no longer has capital links with Powerex US, but retains the technical and commercial partnership.
The company, located on avenue George Durand in Le Mans, France, currently employs 15 people and is ISO9001 and EN9100 certified for aeronautical qualification. The current managing director François Dorchies, has been running the business since 2016. “We are the only ones in France to manufacture high-power diodes and thyristors. We encapsulate silicon wafers from Powerex US to manufacture our components.” These components are used for energy conversion. They are used for example to convert an alternating current into a direct current, or from an alternating current to an alternating current of another frequency…” Our biggest markets are aeronautics, railways and industry. The components we manufacture and sell are intended for equipment or installations requiring high power: aircraft, trains, tanks, alternators, industrial installations…”
The company markets its products in France but also exports to Benelux, Germany, Italy, Austria…and even Asia. The range is completed by the distribution of Powerex US products.
The French manufacturer must nevertheless deal with foreign competitors distributed in France. “One of our strengths is our flexibility, which allows us to be more inclined to work on customized products, small series, which are not covered by the large manufacturers. In the aeronautics and military sectors, for example, we have won contracts because we were able to meet the need for product customization. With our customers, we also solve their obsolescence problems on components from other manufacturers. Finally, we are very committed to offering our customers an impeccable service, particularly in terms of quality and respect for deadlines” says François Dorchies.
Each year, nearly 50,000 parts leave the factory. Like many industries, there was a time before covid and a time after covid. The activity of Powerex Europe has also been impacted. “Our first market being aeronautics, we have been hit hard. In addition, the cancellation of the Australian submarine order will eventually deprive us of about €200,000 in orders.”
Two other related activities
The use of this type of component generates a great deal of heat, so it must be possible to cool them. “The integration of our components in assemblies including a cooling system is an activity that we are seeking to develop. We do this at the request of our customers for first hand or renovation”
The last area of Powerex Europe’s activity is the provision of test and measurement and failure analysis. “We have a real know-how that we offer to our customers to help them test different products“.
Finally, François Dorchies and his teams are looking to the future: “We are studying the possibilities of our organic growth but also industrial opportunities to diversify our production and markets”.
Contact: François Dorchies 02 43 41 14 14 / powerex.fr / firstname.lastname@example.org