The 2010/10/04 at 14:29
Alexandre T. Analis
“Innovate together to protect life” is the motto of Lemer Pax, radiation protection specialist in fields as varied as nuclear medicine, medical imaging, interventional cardiology, research, and civil nuclear engineering. The Company, based in Nantes-Carquefou (France) designs and develops an impressive range of products, some of which are unique on the world market.
“Our know-how is the fruit of cutting edge expertise in the knowledge of materials and their use in protection against ionising radiation,” says Pierre-Marie Lemer, Chairman and Managing Director of Lemer Pax. “Our original activity, medical imaging, began with the protection of radiologists from X-rays, and the protection of workers in civilian nuclear power stations. Thanks to the knowledge we acquired, we have developed other activities and made products both for the protection of operators in nuclear medicine and cardiology, and for new programs and decommissioning operations in the nuclear industry both on land and on ships.”
In narrow niche markets, innovation is a must. The plural executive of Lemer Pax fully understood this when it allocated almost 10% of its turnover and 20% of its staff to R&D. “In 2008, with the aim of managing its growth and international ambitions, the Company introduced a restructuring program, integrating staff training, the recruitment of fresh resources, and the setting-up of an omnipresent quality department,” explains Valérie Chevreul, Executive Officer. “An export unit speaking no fewer than 7 languages was set up and organises the day-to-day work of a network of distributors.”
Its constant capacity for innovation and the relevance and quality of its radiation protection have unquestionably earned Lemer Pax recognition in markets both in France and abroad. Its products are sold all over the world and are already exported throughout Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India, Australia, Europe, the United States and North Africa. This focus on research has enabled Lemer Pax to become the first company in the world to have industrialised the assembly of optical lead glass.
In 2010, it was elected by OSEO Excellence as one of the 2,000 most innovative French companies Lemer Pax was also chosen to take part in the LIDEC decommissioning of old infrastructures program (the Chinon nuclear power station), as well as in new programs to create nuclear sites in Russia and Japan. “450 new nuclear power stations will be built in the world by 2030,” announced Pierre-Marie Lemer. “In this field as in others, there are real opportunities of development for us.” Lemer Pax is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485-certificates, and has been one of the first companies in its sector to work on quality assurance. “To offer a 50 year-guarantee in the nuclear industry, you need a genuine culture of performance and quality,” adds Lemer.
Describing all Lemer Pax’s radiation protection products would be a tall order since its catalogue of standard products already includes more than 500 items. In brief, it might be said that the company rests on three pillars: a catalogue of finished products, R&D and personalised products and services. These correspond to its three branches of activity in radiation protection: nuclear medicine, interventional cardiology, and civil nuclear industry. With this triple offer, Lemer Pax has attracted prestigious companies such as Areva, the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission), Cegelec, Cern, Cisbio/IBA, CNRS, EADS, EDF, GE, Inserm, NEG, Philips, sanofi-aventis, Siemens, Snecma, Thomson, Total, and Toyota to name but a few.
Its flagship products are shielded hot cells for radioisotope handling automatic injectors (Jetti, Posijet) of FDG (or other cyclotron-produced molecules) for PET scan imaging, radiation protection cabins for cardiology (Cathpax), and lead glass radiation viewing windows used in the civilian nuclear industry.
Over and above these, there is also the manufacture of a 99% recyclable shielded electric hoist for radioactive loads lifting. The Company has also produced two new recyclable material ranges: Densiplast, a plastic of the same density as lead which could replace wheel weights in cars, and Novashield, an ecological thermoplastic material that stops rays better than lead. Noteworthy too, is an entirely static computer originally devoted to data-recording on Posijet which can be transferred to other extremely-demanding conditions. The Hydroptere, fastest sailing vessel in the world, has thus been able to retrieve 100% of her data with the Posibox by Lemer Pax, for the first time since the launching of the project ten years ago.
Lemer Pax intends to continue its expansion and will be moving to a new site, though still in the Nantes region. It has just opened a subsidiary in New York, and aims at increasing its export turnover from 15 to 70% of total turnover within the next five years. A joint venture with an Indian company to locally distribute nuclear medicine products for medical imaging is also expected to see the light anytime soon.
Today, Lemer Pax has a staff of 50, collaborates with more than 200 subcontractors, has filed more than 50 patents and recorded a turnover of 14 million euros last year (+25% growth a year over the last five years).
Further information on lemerpax.com, lemerpax-materiaux.com, lemerpax-medecinenucleaire.com, lemerpax-nucleairecivil.com and lemerpax-protectionantix.com
Solar Odyssey, a Lemer Pax innovation
Through many internal technology transfers and with the protection of human beings as its constant guiding principle, Lemer Pax has identified real possibilities for development in the solar energy sector, in particular in maritime electro-solar propulsion. This is a familiar playground for Pierre-Marie Lemer, a sailing and multi-hull enthusiast. From his original idea for electro-solar multi-hulls and following a meeting with two well-known sailors, Frédéric Dahirel and Jean Maurel, the idea of sailing round the world on solar power alone with zero CO2 emissions on the experimental platform of the trimaran Solar Odyssey, came to fruition at the end of 2008. Like all the company’s activities, the project was achieved after numerous R&D studies whilst at the same time recycling elements from other technological and sporting adventures. The boat’s central hull came from Alain Gautier’s ex-trimaran, Foncia, and the floats are the first versions of those used on the Hydroptere, the fastest sailing vessel in the world. In Fall 2010, Solar Odyssey has been launched and began hydrodynamic validation tests, with the aim of chasing the Atlantic electro-solar record in early 2011, before sailing round the world via Panama and Suez, the first to take up this challenge. The knowledge acquired has already validated the creation of a maritime department integrating electro-solar propulsion, with an industrial development as the objective: the introduction of complete propulsion systems onto the market. Lastly, other validations in composite manufacturing gathered on this project are expected to have real repercussions on the Company for the design of shielded hot cells for nuclear medicine.
Follow the Solar Odyssey adventure on www.solar-odyssey.com.