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The origins of Tractel Secalt go back to 1948 with the creation of the Société d’Études et de Constructions d’Appareils de Levage et de Traction (SECALT), in an 80 m2 room that was once a glove factory in the Grund district. However, the Tirfor® winch, a traction and lifting device with a passing rope, was invented already in 1941 by the founders of the company. This invention was a revolution in its time and allowed it to grow.

Specialised in access solutions and other means of lifting people and materials for all types of projects (high-rise buildings, infrastructure projects), the company employs 54 people in Luxembourg.

Three areas of expertise

The takeover by the French group Tractel dates back to 1983: a marriage of convenience between two companies with similar activities, but on different geographical markets. The new group has grown over the years, to the point where it had to move to more modern premises in Foetz in the south of the country in 2016.

“The move concerned the local and global management, the design, research and development offices, the sales team with currency traders, the supply chain and the technical teams. In other words, a plethora of activities for which each player has a high level of qualifications and applies ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO 45001 certified management systems,” explains Mr Benoît Patanchon, who has been managing Tractel Secalt since summer 2020. “We cover all world markets, except North America and South East Asia; that is, more than 100 countries. The group has over 400 patents filed, proof that innovation is part of our DNA.”

The Luxembourg-based company has three specific areas of expertise: temporary access solutions (equipment for one-off interventions); permanent access solutions (equipment for the maintenance of building facades, the design of which is based on architect plans) andthe development of specific solutions for industry and infrastructure.

International references

Tractel Secalt has a number of international references, starting with the spectacular Duo Towers in Paris, the tallest buildings in the French capital after the Eiffel Tower and the Montparnasse Tower. Designed by the architect Jean Nouvel, they feature a number of audacious shaped facades, making the development of an access solution particularly complex. Following a call for tenders, Tractel Secalt was selected to deliver six building maintenance units.

Another example of a renowned worksite is the international experimental thermonuclear reactor ITER, for which the company’s expertise was sought in early 2021. “We will not only provide a custom access solution for welding and core assembly by robots, but also a different approach in terms of surface treatment for our equipment. Indeed, due to the risk of contamination in the reactor vessel, it was not possible to use conventional protection techniques”, explains Maryline Moreno, R&D Project Manager at Tractel Secalt.

Researcher and R&D project manager at the Gabriel Lippmann Public Research Centre, then at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, for nearly 14 years, Mrs Moreno knows the Luxembourg industrial fabric well. Goodyear, ArcelorMittal, Circuit Foil or Rotarex are some of the companies she had the opportunity to collaborate with in her career. She turned the page on public research and joined Tractel Secalt in 2021, without forgetting her first love.

Valuable support

“I am aware of how lucky we are to be operating in Luxembourg in such an ecosystem. The support of the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation are very valuable in this context. We also want to make Luxembourg shine beyond its borders,” she points out.

In addition to making contacts with industrial and research players, Luxinnovation also assists Tractel Secalt in the preparation of a research project under development.

“Being the main point of contact of industrial players is an integral part of our missions”, explains Caroline Muller, manager of the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster. “Within our Customer Relationship and Support department, the cluster managers listen to companies to help them innovate, develop their growth and face the challenges of digital and ecological transformation. We define the needs of companies before referring them to Luxinnovation’s internal experts and we identify potential partnerships with other players in the Luxembourg ecosystem. The work we are doing with Tractel Secalt is an excellent illustration of this.”

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