Moving forward on performance

In order to improve its production tool, the Ardennes-based company, based in Ham-les-Moines, will upgrade its horizontal hot forging line for €1.3 million. This element, essential to its production, will be installed in early April 2020 with a view to starting up in May 2020.

“We will continue to improve our competitiveness and ensure that we can meet all demands, in our niche sector, regardless of the axle tonnage,” said SAE-SMB Site Director, Mickaël Magnier.

“In parallel, we will step up our commercial development on the nine-tonne axle, the most common on the European market,” he said.

This modernisation process requires an additional investment of €300,000 to acquire new tools and other equipment for machining, welding and cataphoresis treatment.

In addition, SAE-SMB Industries recruits many profiles necessary for its development.

Seven positions remain to be covered, such as a sales representative, an IT manager, a design office engineer, a production manager, but also a welder, a turner-miller and an order preparer.

“The 2019 financial year was satisfactory despite a significant erosion of the market between March and June, SAE-SMB Industries returned to a classic business volume in the second half,” said Magnier. “To the point where today we have visibility for several months on our order book thanks to a notable recovery since September.”

SAE-SMB Industries employs 80 people, five of whom are temporary workers, produces more than 10,000 axles and has a turnover of over €21 million. This turnover (48 per cent in exports and 52 per cent in France) was recorded with more than 200 OEM and spare parts dealers. The customers are manufacturers of specific industrial vehicles (low-loader, container carriers, tank carriers, vehicle carriers, special transport or various materials) but also with European manufacturers of more conventional semi-trailers, used for road transport of goods and fitted with 3 x 9 tonnes axles from the Airmax range.

In addition to its commitment to overhaul its operations, SAE-SMB has also created the NOS brand to assist road transport fleets with procuring spare parts at competitive prices.

With a history spanning 70 years, SAE-SMB Industries has managed to maintain a partnership of trust with its historic suppliers.

Due in part to its membership in the ADR Group, SAE-SMB Industries can use the test laboratory at its disposal and, thus, test and select the spare parts offering the best performance at the best price.

This refurbished ADR test centre at Uboldo, near Milan, Italy, will reportedly be used by SAE-SMB Industries to carry out complete axle tests. The selection of spare parts is not only made by the reputation of the manufacturer’s brand but also by concrete comparative tests simulating with rigour the entire life of the part.

At the start of 2020, NOS will offer a range of trailers, semi-trailers and trucks. It will offer brake discs, air bags suspension, brake pads, bearings, shock absorbers, drum brake shoes, drum brake linings. Other products will be added according to the needs of each market since our offer will be presented in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.

“Of course, we want to cover the continents on which we are already present,” said SAE-SMB Industries Sales & Marketing Director, Frédéric Perez.

Our offer will expand as the needs of each market grow,” he said. “We have solid partnerships around the world and a test laboratory that allow us to offer a range of quality at the best price.”

In 1947, three technicians specialising in mechanical engineering began the production of axles for industrial vehicles, with the support of ‘Thomé Industries’.

The new company, Société Ardennaise d’Essieux, grew rapidly due to the reputation of the Thomé Industries group in the heavy industry sector and the know-how of its three creators. Over the years, SAE has become a leader in the production of industrial axles in the French market, gaining a prestigious position on the European market, due to the quality and reliability of its products.

Specialised in assemblies and founded in the 1970s, the company SMB later became the exclusive supplier of axles and suspensions for all trailers of the General Trailers group (Fruehauf, Benalu, Trailor) and Titan, including Fruehauf in Europe, Africa and Japan.

Since the 1990s, SAE has become a reference brand and united with the German group Gigant, which specialises in the production of mechanical and pneumatic suspensions. This transaction enabled SAE to provide its customers with axles equipped with suspensions.

Over time, the company has specialised in the supply of undercarriages for special or lowboy trailers, tanks, skips and forestry trailers by equipping them with steering axles with drum brakes or disc brakes.

In 2006, the two companies SAE and SMB merged to found a large group of axles and suspensions, reaching the maximum production of 50,000 axles in 2008 for a turnover of €90,000,000.

In 2013, the ADR Group, the world’s leading agricultural axles, purchased SAE-SMB Industries and injected more than 8 million euros. This investment made it possible to renovate the production tool by making it more functional and by adding a cataphoresis unit for anticorrosion treatment of the axles.

In 2018, launching new markets, SAE-SMB Industries establishes its Middle East entity under the name SAE-SMB Middle East.

In 2019, in its race for international development, SAE-SMB Industries moved into the strategic Asian market with entities in India and China. 

SAE-SMB Industries is proposing a new nine-tonne disc brake axle – the Airmax – for trailers
The nine-tonne Airmax is reported to be a forged one-piece axle body which gives it ‘unequalled’ strength. ”At the bearing area of the cartridge bearing, the rockets are hot rolled by a ceramic ball to locally increase the resistance of the material,” SAE-SMB said in a statement. “The hub is fully treated by cataphoresis to protect it from any oxidation. Its particular shape with corrugated relief allows a ventilation in the heart of the disk and thus avoids that the heat of the latter comes to disrupt its operation. “The disc has a styling zone with ventilation openings that allow the air flow to pass through this zone and thereby cool the hub. The heat remains on the track of the ventilated disc.”

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