07 February 2019
Following a call for tender, the Environment activity chose the Electronics activity of LACROIX to support it in the electronic design, industrialization and production of its new-generation telemetry platform S4.
The challenge at hand was considerable, with investment approaching 10 million euros over four years (2012-2016). Here is a recap on a successful collaboration worthy of LACROIX’s ambitions:
Founded in 1971, the Environement activity of LACROIX designs and commercialises solutions for connected-technical-installations telemetry. With its expertise in the monitoring and the remote management of water networks (drinking water and waste water), the Environment activity also works with heating networks and is recognised as France’s leader in telemetry.
Projects of this scale require support from solid and reliable vendors. The Electronics activity advantage is to be in control of the whole design and manufacturing process.
Frédéric Chevalier, Supply Chain & Quality Manager at the Environment activity of LACROIX
The geographical proximity of the engineering office and factory, which are both located less than 150 km from the Environment activity, was a contributing factor in researching and producing the best product possible. A product designed and manufactured in France with the concern of an optimized cost price.
Bringing together a dedicated project-team, comprising members of each of LACROIX’s business areas, enabled major responsiveness and a better timeframe for the product’s launch. By centralizing research and production in our own facilities, the Environment activity secured a smooth transition from design to manufacturing, with no additional industrialization phase.
To respond to its market and to its clients’ expectations, the Environment activity imagined the S4 ecosystem. A solution made disruptive by its compactness and ease-of-implementation, applied in particular to hydraulic networks (S4W) and energy networks (S4TH).
Beyond the requirements in ergonomics, the teams had to integrate new considerations relating to connected objects. Cybersecurity has become a major issue for water and energy management sites.
Jean-Michel Meric, Head of R&D at the Environment activity of LACROIX
It was also essential for the end product to stand the test of time, with a life cycle of approximately fifteen years. Finally, also key in launching this new range was to control manufacturing costs, to attain the product’s retail price objective.
Compact, simple, modular, durable and competitive… For the S4, we set the bar very high at the outset at all levels, to provide a premium solution which would be suited to the range of key issues identified in the field.
Igor Houdant– Hardware R&D Manager at the Environment activity of LACROIX
This project’s success relies on two key factors: the commitment of the Environment activity to involve our engineers from the very start of the project, and the ability of our respective teams to collaborate. Since the research phase, we’ve enabled follow-up on the new range of the Environment activity products, from the design phase to the manufacturing phase. This design allowed us to integrate the requirements for the product’s serial manufacturing upstream, and to transform them into a product which was in keeping with the original specification document.
Applying various design rules (Design For Manufacturing) ahead of the platform’s industrialization meant that the usual non-quality or non-compliance costs could be cut; all products were, in fact, designed for optimal testing (Design To Test). In order to align technical feasibility with cost objectives, we were also active in purchasing electronic components (Design for Procurement) so as to offer the best possible value for money.
In total, as part of the S4 project, we designed thirteen electronic cards broken down into seven compact product versions, six communication modules and around ten input and output modules.
Over more than four years of close collaboration with our colleagues at the Environment activity, we’ve successfully completed a highly ambitious project and are justly proud to have supported them in developing the S4 technological platform!
Antonio Ribeiro – Account Manager at the Environment activity of LACROIX