Growth spurt for LEMO 5
Exactly 10 years ago, the LEMO 5 factory was extended to its current size. The company plays a crucial role in the LEMO galaxy, producing a significant amount of the brass components for its connectors.
43 years ago, outside of its headquarters, LEMO had only four locations in the world. So, when the fifth was opened in 1975, it was simply baptised LEMO 5. Its location was not chosen at random. The town of Delémont, nestling in the heart of the Swiss Jura, a mountain region of peaks and valleys, is the Swiss capital of screw-machining, and also the cradle of the world-renowned Swiss watchmaking and micromechanics industries.
Since the 19th century, the region has been home to technical schools that provide the specialist manufacturing training needed for the micromechanics and watchmaking industries. By setting up its factory in this area, LEMO got better access to the skilled labour required for its activities. “More or less the same machine tools are used in screw-machining and watch-making. They are high-performing and capable of working on a very small scale” says Gérard Maret, LEMO 5’s director.
For over forty years, the company has been manufacturing components for LEMO connectors. The smallest measure only 0.7mm in diameter, the largest 32mm. To give an idea of the quantities, the factory produces 470,000 hours of machines parts per year, almost 2,000 per day.
In addition to the wide choice of standard parts used across LEMO’s connector ranges, LEMO 5 staff work on 220 studies and prototypes every year. Manufacturing processes, specialist tooling, new machines and raw materials, launching pre-series… for new, high-performing products, research and experimental phases are absolutely necessary.
“We produce test components which are then evaluated by the LEMO R&D department. For every new series, we validate the process. The aim is to make sure that the criteria can be fulfilled in a cost-effective way. It is fundamental to have the capacity to innovate” says Gérard Maret. “We are continuously improving in order to meet customer requirements. We must be agile and efficient. It is not enough to only think in-house and implement improvements accordingly. Three years ago, we updated all manufacturing processes to comply with the ISO 9001/2015 certification. In order to remain at the cutting-edge of innovation, we also need to renew production tools constantly. Every year, we modernize our machine park. Through these substantial investments, we can keep up with a highly competitive market.” As summarized by Gérard Maret: “In order to stay competitive, we need to keep training and investing consistently. The two go hand in hand!”
Putting people at the centre
LEMO gives special attention to the human aspect of its organisation. LEMO 5’s human resources department strives to be proactive. “We ensure that our staff are motivated, empowered and well trained. With the right skills and a high level of knowledge, we will be able to face tomorrow’s challenges.”
The company invests significant resources in training its 235 employees continuously, in order to further develop their skills and know-how. LEMO 5 has recently installed a training centre for apprentice mechanics and polymechanics (a 4-year programme), as well as for improving employee know-how through continuous training. This training area has its own machine park and a certified instructor.
These last years, LEMO 5 has made significant investment in workplace health and safety promotion, in order to reduce the risk of accidents and to improve working conditions and the well-being of employees. Safety standards have been reinforced at every production stage and all employees have been specifically trained to learn how to apply such standards on a daily basis.
In the end, this is all for the benefit of the finished product. LEMO 5 are able to demonstrate that the more ergonomic the workplace is, the better it is for the quality of work. Hence, LEMO 5 is well prepared to meet the challenges of the future.