Investment casting: 30 years of development, serving the orthopaedics industry
Founded in 1986, the Marle Group’s ATS plant celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Founded by an Italian group specializing in the automotive industry, it has today become the leading foundry in France in the orthopaedic implants sector. Let’s take a look back at its successful industrial strategy.
Known as ATS, which stood for Automotivo Turismo Sportivo, the plant was set up in 1986 by the Italian firm Microfusione, specializing in investment casting. The original objective was to manufacture precision automotive components, using noble alloys and super alloys. This investment was among the initiatives supported by the French government in the Alès area, following the closure of the mines.
Rapid orientation towards the medical sector
As of 1990, ATS turned its focus to the medical sector and the manufacture of knee prostheses, at the initiative of its sales team. The investment casting process was perfectly suited to this booming market, notably facilitating the production of high-precision cobalt-chrome parts, offering excellent reliability. Back then, ATS was one of only a few firms offering this technology, and it met with rapid success.
Medical and aeronautics: the path of excellence
From the year 2,000 forward, the company also set its sights on the aeronautics market, with its exceptionally high technical demands. This new direction drove an enhancement of in-house skills and expertise, enabling ATS to attain a very high level of production quality, including proficiency in metallurgy, X-RAY inspections, penetrant inspections, control processes, and more. The factory is certified under ISO 9001 and EN 9100, and as of 2006, EN 13485, in recognition of its quality management system for the manufacture of medical devices.
A new dimension with the Marle Group
In December 2011, ATS became part of the Marle Group, an international leader in orthopaedic manufacturing. The group has invested 3 million euros in equipment, introduced an ambitious training plan, and overhauled the quality system, bringing it into line with the highest international standards.
These efforts were rewarded in 2015 by a successful inspection by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), a highly stringent examination which opens doors to international markets.
Having become a key player in the orthopaedics sector, the foundry in Alès currently produces some 400,000 implants per year, specializing in knee joints, and is ready to meet the challenges of overseas export, particularly to the American and Asian markets.
Since acquisition by the Marle Group, the teams at ATS have been engaged in an enormous collective effort to further enhance their skills and meet the demands of the medical market.
Having joined the company as a basic operator thirty years ago, I am now a team leader. I’m really proud to have been able to work my way up through the factory. The medical sector is highly demanding, requiring great attention to detail and professionalism. We must always remember that we’re working for patients!
The company’s strength stems from its know-how and the impeccable quality of its products. We have been able to successfully adapt to new markets, while also remaining focused on our core business: investment casting. We now have a very different approach to our products, involving a culture of controls and quality standards which has become paramount.
Engineering Department Manager