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LN Industries SA : when technology meets design

Mis à jour le 23/03/2016

LN Industries SA has developed a new composite material and process for the manufacturing of components that combine technology and aesthetics, destined for the watchmaking industry.

The ability to use new composite materials, different from traditional epoxy resin, can produce new three-dimension shapes.

A Geneva-based company founded in 1905, LN Industries specializes in the manufacturing of carbon fibre components for structural and decorative applications in luxury goods. To remain competitive in its field, the company has to find new solutions in manufacturing and product design.

The company, which has about 200 employees, had initially developed a new composite material to offer to high quality pen manufacturers. But it is in the watch market that the demand for this new innovative material proved stronger and LN Industries ultimately turned towards this market to deploy its innovative project.

A new composite material

Thanks to a new innovative manufacturing process, LN Industries is able to produce components for luxury goods, mainly for watch bezels which must meet both technological and aesthetic needs. Indeed, the material must meet accuracy and resistance requirements, without neglecting the aesthetic appearance since the final products are destined for luxury accessories, including pens and watches. The use of the new composite material allowed the creation of new three-dimensional composite structures, which was not possible with the traditional epoxy resin material.

The shift towards the watch market was made possible after a CTI project, which helped to develop new ideas and identify the needs of the watch industry.

Time-saving and efficiency thanks to Alliance

The development of this new material required high-level expertise in composite material engineering. As a member of the Alliance Association, LN Industries naturally turned towards Alliance to help develop a project with the suitable academic partner. To begin with, a request for a CTI innovation check enabled LN Industries to do preliminary studies. A CTI project was then developed with Prof. Jan-Anders Månson and Dr. Yves Leterrier, from the Laboratory of Composite and Polymer Technology (LTC-EPFL), as academic partners.

Alliance has greatly facilitated contacts with the academic network and has invested heavily in the development of the project, and thus allowing LN Industries to gain both in time and efficiency. Following this CTI project, LN Industries has focused entirely its development on applications and components intended for the watch-making industry.

Good financial returns expected

LN Industries has now completed the industrialization phase and prototype qualification, fulfilling the design and functional requirements of their customers. A patent was filed in November 2014 for these new materials and processes. Creating an innovation structure within an SME is a heavy and expensive process. However, to ensure its future, the company relies heavily on innovation in order to stay ahead in the highly competitive field of composites (carbon fibre or others) for the luxury industry. Didier Dietrich, Director Innovation at LN Industries, confided that he expected good financial returns for this project, which should have a substantial impact because of its high growth potential .

Contact: alliance@alliance-tt.ch