Friday, 17 April 2015

Shapemill of Lefevre utilized for the restoration of the Pantheon in Paris

Founded in 1944, the Lefèvre group has long specialised in protecting and restoring architectural heritage sites.  In the early days the company's operations were concentrated in the Normandy region, which suffered wide scale destruction during the liberation fighting of WWII. The company went on to grow rapidly, extending its geographical reach to include the Paris area and the western regions of France. 
Lefèvre has gradually diversified its operations over the years, incorporating also traditional building and renovation works. Today, the Lefèvre group employs a workforce of around one thousand operating in the company’s regional branches (Léon Noel, Normandie Rénovation, Les Compagnons de Saint-Jacques, Jacquet, Sele, and Tollis), confirming its status as the top French specialist company dedicated to the restoration of architectural heritage sites.

Lefèvre Gennevilliers
Lefèvre's Gennevilliers affiliate is the group's most important site in terms of personnel, with at least 120 stone masons, builders, expert technicians, administrative staff, and many more besides. Since 2011 the Gennevilliers company has been headed by Vincent Gary, who previously operated as the works manager. “Currently our activity is split between 60% of marble block sawing operations and 40% of stone masonry for traditional building projects. Stone masonry in the building construction industry is assuming an increasingly central role in our company.  The market is currently divided equally between the public and private sectors, although as recently as 10 years ago public building restoration projects accounted for around 95% of our total work activities".

Sabrina Gagnereaux (Comartex), Vincent Gary (head of Lefèvre's Gennevilliers branch) Emmanuel Campain (Carrières Degan) and Franck Tribout (Comartex)
Breton CNC cutting centre 
Responding to the need to modernise their capital equipment and slash outsourcing costs, the Lefèvre group's management team recently decided to invest in a Breton ShapeMill CNC cutting and milling centre.
To date, we've converted around 300 m3 of Saint Maximin or Saint-Leu limestone (90%), contracting out only 30% of total production. We are about to reach the figure of 400 m3 and we're currently planning to cut the amount of outsourced work by half.  We'll also be able to perform contouring work for the other group facilities, creating complex structures that call for long production times".
The Breton ShapeMill CNC milling centre with 5 interpolated axes offers an effective vertical cutting height of 1.12 m (Z axis travel). This machine is equipped with a 27-position carousel type automatic tool store, allowing it to work with saw blades from 350mm to 1,000mm in diameter and with diamond drills and milling hobs, contouring tools, etc.

Vincent Gary however is careful to point out that the machine will not be replacing the manual craftsmanship of the company's skilled stonemasons. The machine will simply complete the company's existing human resources. “At the most, the machine will handle 70% of roughing operations, while the remaining 30% will continue to be performed by skilled professionals. Thanks to the numerically controlled milling centre, which features an integral water cooling and lubrication system, we can extend the working life of cutting tools and reduce the generation of airborne dust in the workshop. 

With this new machine we'll be processing around 20 - 30% of the volume of stone at Gennevilliers, making us far more productive and competitive. This development will allow us to work at full production capacity. With this system the plant can operate 20 - 24 hours/day, making for more flexible production times. Another plus is that we’ll be able to make high specification components that we had to contract out in the past because we lacked the necessary technical resources before acquiring this new machine".

For primary sawing requirements the plant uses two Bideseimpianti/Breton mono-wire machines, one of which is also used for contouring operations.
Thanks to its CNC milling centre Lefèvre can promote its work on the basis of its hi-tech capital equipment, creating a forward-looking and innovative profile that's a seamless match with the group's new generation of managerial staff.
Application examples of the ShapeMill CNC milling centre.  The machine is used for roughing and shaping operations. The company's skilled stonemasons and sculptors then perform the final finishing operations using traditional manual techniques.

There are twelve stonemasons employed at the Gennevilliers plant, three of whom on apprenticeships, plus three machine operators and one shop foreman.

copyright "PIERRE ACTUAL N°933 December, 2014".

For technical and commercial information on the Breton ShapeMill CNC cutting and milling centre, write to:
We’ll get back to you promptly.
Thank you for the attention and best regards.
Sergio Prior

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