Im Dialog mit Laurent Gérard

ATEQ Group

Im Dialog mit Laurent Gérard

CFO at ATEQ Group
ATEQ Group is a global leader in leak testing equipment since 1975. ATEQ products cater to industries like automotive, medical, and more. With an international presence, ATEQ provides innovative solutions for quality assurance. The company is renowned for its commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. Thanks to 4 divisions (Leak testing, E-Mobility, Aviation and TPMS), the ATEQ Group can offer global high-quality solutions.

How can ATEQ answer to the need of such different market and application?
ATEQ was established since now 49 years in France by Jacques Mouchet. ATEQ has expanded its presence globally with 40 subsidiaries and 8 distributors in all main industrialised countries. The group has also 9 manufacturing sites and 15 laboratories accredited ISO 17025 all over the world.

With more than 950 000 products sold and more than 5000 clients, the real big strength is our worldwide network. Every subsidiary has their own team built with strong technical profile, it helps ATEQ to answer rapidly all our clients and we accompany them during all the process: identifying the need, studying technically the demand, delivering the product, managing the installation, providing an efficient after sales service and efficient follow up such as regular calibration when required.

Is there any international specific regulations for leak detection that ATEQ needs to face on?
ATEQ is known for its commitment to innovation and technological advancement. The company continually invests in research (R&D team is divided around the world) and development to enhance its product offerings and stay ahead of industry trends. This focus on innovation enables ATEQ to deliver cutting-edge testing solutions that meet the evolving needs of its customers.

ATEQ adheres to strict quality standards and regulatory requirements in the design, manufacturing, and servicing of its products. This ensures that customers receive reliable and accurate testing equipment that meets their quality control and compliance needs. Some official regulations are specific depending on the application and the markets (particularly medical devices and home appliances), some clients may also have their own requirements.

With the growing focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility, what innovative solutions are gaining traction in the market, and how ATEQ can help to this global change?
ATEQ can contribute to the growing focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility by integrating green technologies and innovative solutions into their product offerings and business practices.

First, a big achievement for all the group is the obtention of the ISO 14001: it is an internationally recognized standard for environmental management systems (EMS). The ISO 14001 certification demonstrates to stakeholders, including customers, regulators, and the public, that an organization is committed to environmental responsibility and has implemented an effective environmental management system to manage and reduce its environmental impact.

Secondly, ATEQ is aware off all the mutations in the market thanks to its expertise and its internal and external networks. In the case, for example of the electrical market (whatever can be cars, motos, trucks, bikes…), ATEQ supports the OEM industries by proposing new solutions for leak testing the specific elements such as: battery (tray, cell, module) cooling circuit, inverter, guidance systems…

For this new market, battery leak testing is essential for electric vehicles, for battery packs any leakage can compromise safety, performance, and longevity of the system. One of the solutions developed by ATEQ Group for answering easily to the EV market regulations is the combination of the DNC technology described below and the large volume tester called F670LV.

Im Dialog mit Laurent Gérard
Im Dialog mit Laurent Gérard

What kind of innovations were proposed by ATEQ for to support this new E-Mobility market?
Differential Noise Cancelling (DNC) is an innovative technology developed by ATEQ for leak testing applications, particularly in the automotive industry. DNC is designed to enhance the accuracy and reliability of leak testing systems by minimizing the impact of background noise and external factors on test results. In leak testing applications, background noise, such as atmospheric air movement, machinery, or ambient environmental conditions, can interfere with the accuracy of the test results. DNC technology aims to mitigate this interference by analysing and cancelling out this »background noise«, thereby improving the sensitivity and reliability of the leak detection systems.

This DNC technology is used, combined with the F670-LV device. It is a breakthrough instrument able to leak test very large volumes using a new patented technology (based on pressure decay) thanks to the high sensitivity of our latest pressure transducer. By using ATEQ’s F670LV Differential Pressure Decay leak Tester with DNC, it is now possible to detect accurately pressure drops below 0.1 Pa/sec (equivalent to 1/100 mm water gauge pressure change in 1 second).

ATEQ has also created in 2022, a new »Electrical Department« to answer new products need for the EV markets, we provide innovative electrical solutions for battery production lines.

Is ATEQ noticing a faster acceleration of market changes in some geographical areas than in others?
Of course, some big tendencies can be identified between geographical areas. For example, in the case of the EV market, the Asian mobility market production has »exploded« earlier than the European one or even the American one (all 2 wheelers in China are now electric). Our international network is our big strength: we have strong internal tools to be sure that the exchange of information between our subsidiaries is optimal. This shared commitment ensures to our customers: quality and promptness of response. This is our main mission, putting customers first. In this case, a great example of ATEQ current involvement is the construction of a special test room in main our facilities in France, dedicated to the high-pressure tests for the new mobility hydrogen market. Some of our clients asked for specific tests for new components to be leak tested such as tanks, bipolar plates, fuel cell… Answering its customers new quality and safety concerns is paramount for ATEQ to ensure they get the best testing products and services. And as, ATEQ is concerned about the new potential issues surrounding its clients, we surround ourselves with experts to provide them with the best advices and support in terms of products, quality standards and certifications.

How is ATEQ currently involved in the hydrogen sector, and what strategies or innovations is the company implementing to address the growing demand and challenges within this industry?
From hydrogen components testing to final assembly inspection, ATEQ’s solutions help manufacturers during their production process.

In a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCV), several components require accurate leak testing to ensure the safety and efficiency of the hydrogen system: hydrogen tanks, hydrogen fuel lines and connections, hydrogen fuel cell stacks, hydrogen seals and fittings, hydrogen storage and refuelling infrastructures.

By offering specialized testing equipment, ATEQ helps for the safe adoption of hydrogen fuel cell in vehicles or airplanes, as a clean and sustainable solution.

ATEQ has also created in 2022, a new »Electrical Department« to answer new products need for the EV markets, we provide innovative electrical solutions for battery production lines.

Looking ahead, what are the key areas of focus for ATEQ’s future projects?
ATEQ Group is still developing new products for existing markets and searches for new innovations in the mobility leak testing area but also in the aviation and TPMS industry.

One of the great achievements accomplished by ATEQ is the recent acquisition of VIC (Vacuum Instruments Corporation) based in New York City. VIC is one of the world’s largest companies devoted solely to the research, design, manufacture, distribution, and service of helium leak detectors, gas handling equipment, and complete leak detection solutions. VIC designs and manufactures portable helium tracer gas leak detectors, console tracer gas leak detectors, and dual gas portable leak detectors with »sniffing« leaks capability.

How do you envision these initiatives contributing to the company’s growth and innovation objectives?
This acquisition is a strength building opportunity for the ATEQ Group; it permits the widening of our existing product range and the penetration of new markets where ATEQ is not yet positioned. By acquiring Vacuum Instruments Corporation, ATEQ also has access to a significant number of new R&D engineers with few active patents. Those professionals are specialized in their field, enabling ATEQ Group to gain access to new knowledge and tools. Applications concerned by the VIC tests are wide: automotive industry, medical devices industry, aerospace and defence industry, e-mobility sector or HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) industry.

Jacques Mouchet, ATEQ President, has also created a new venture: SUN ICE ENERGY. With 7 patents covering the thermal storage in Phase Change Materials of solar or over intermittent energy. The field of applications of this new company covers all climate control markets: Buildings, houses, data centres, ice-skating rinks, and food storage. By solving the main drawback in PCM storage, the low conductivity of organic compounds, he has opened the door to the general use for them in cheap and long life units to replace the electric energy storage in thermal applications. Organic PCM used are from fossil (paraffin) or natural »bio« sources like palm oil.

PCM thermal storage has a life time of more than 50 years is safer and has a kWh cost at least 20 times cheaper than batteries.

Dr. Wolfgang Eckelt, High Performance | Top Company Guide