“10 years ago, titanium represented 7% of the weight of a commercial aircraft, today it represents closer to 15%, and this is continuing to increase. As a result, the lead-time of working with mills has increased significantly.”
Can we have an introduction to Acnis international?
Acnis International is one of the main distributors of titanium alloys in Europe, supplying titanium for aerospace and medical applications. Our headquarters in Lyon was opened 26 years ago. We add value to our customers not only in our quick delivery time of titanium products, but also through the specifications of the titanium we provide. At our Paris plant we do our own titanium cutting so that we can provide our customers with very specific shapes, sizes and standards of titanium. We also have a dedicated engineering team to help our customers make the right choice of product for their particular needs.
Because we are ISO qualified, we guarantee 100% transparency with our customers at all times, and we provide all specifications and certificates for the titanium we supply. We are EN1920 certified for aerospace applications and ISO13485 certified for the medical market, so we are always auditing our procedures to retain these standards.
Our main customers in aerospace are Dassault and all of the subcontractors of Airbus and Airbus helicopters. Most of our customers are currently in France because when we bough the company three years ago it was operating exclusively within France, but we are increasingly attracting overseas customers, mostly from Spain, Germany and Switzerland.
What trends are driving demand for Acnis’ services?
Titanium is doing particularly well at the moment as a result of the increase in composite materials being used in aircraft manufacturing, as titanium works well alongside composite materials. The increase is significant: whereas 10 years ago, titanium represented 7% of the weight of a commercial aircraft, today it represents closer to 15%, and this is continuing to increase.
As a result of this trend, the lead-time of working with mills has increased significantly; 10 years ago ordering directly from a mill would incur a waiting period of around six months, today it would incur a period of around nine months, so our services as a distributor are highly in demand. We have been focusing on obtaining as much supply as we can so that we can service our customers quickly and efficiently, and we have an inventory of about 500 tonnes of titanium, which means that we are able to deliver orders within a week.
What is the competitive landscape like in titanium production and distribution?
We do face competition from other distributors, but we differentiate ourselves with our low waiting times and also by our ability to provide customers with a near-to-shape product service. Very few other companies have either the number of machines that we have, or machines that are as advanced as ours when it comes to providing near-to-shape optimization.
We are also unique in that we are very specialized in titanium alloys, and we choose not to work in aluminum and steel because remaining focused on what we do best has always been our strategy. We will not diversify because we do not want to be a generalist on the market; we want to excel in the titanium market and some technical alloys.
What role do you expect to play in the global growth of the aerospace industry in the coming years?
We are expecting a 10% increase in revenue in 2018, and are aiming for a 5% increase in each following year. We have recently acquired a new office space and larger warehouse facilities in order to be ready to meet increasing demand, and to grow with the industry. We are also working to expand our service offering within titanium distribution by improving our cutting machines’ capacity to perform tasks like laser cutting and decoiling.