The leading French tile manufacturer, Edilians, transformed and robotized its Léguevin (Haute-Garonne) plant near Toulouse, by investing 7 million euros between 2017 and 2021. He first modernized the line and installed tile stacking robots before going into the oven, for 2.7 million euros. Then, he invested 2 million in unstacking robots out of the oven and in palletizing. Robotization reduces tedious tasks and overcomes recruitment difficulties.

In 2019, the group added a shredder extra fine clay at 0.4 millimeter, to better homogenize the clay mixture, and a metering device which collects burrs from molded tiles and re-injects them, at a cost of 1.5 million euros. The factory is launching a new renovation tile this month that has a larger laying clearance to make it easier to insert. The roofing repair market is growing and accounts for two-thirds of sales.

Less gas and water The modernization has improved the flexibility of the factory, which manufactures four models of tiles in 05 colors. This year, the group will change the vault of the ovens and install a dust management system. “These investments make it the most modern plant in the group and the one that consumes the least gas per tonne of tiles,” says Pascal Casanova, president of Edilians. Water consumption has decreased by 19% with the recycling of sludge water and the reintroduction of water runoff from quarries. The site, which produced 65. 000 tonnes in 2020, employs 68 employees and recruiting six people.

Edilians will also increase the capacity of the factories in Sainte-Foy-l’Argentière (Rhône) and Saint-Germer -de-Fly (Oise) by investing 5 million euros between now and 2022, because the demand for tiles is high. “Construction is going strong with the catching up of sites stopped during the Covid – 15 and the roof renovation market woke up with the health crisis “, explains Pascal Casanova.

He foresees an increase in turnover of nearly 15 % in 2021. This remained stable in 2019, at 320 millions euros. From the sale of ‘Imerys Toiture to the American Lone Star fund in 2018 , Edilians employs 1. 100 employees in 05 factories in France and one in Portugal acquired in 2019. It holds 40% of the French market ahead of Terreal and seeks to acquire units in Europe.