Each year, several companies located in Ariège stand out for their creativity and investment in the region. In 2021, several of them have taken on major challenges in the department.
The AHG mask company sets up in Varilhes
The AHG medical company, a subsidiary of Ateliers de Haute-Garonne (AHG), has become the owner of the former MKAD factory. Since February 2021, it has moved into the building where large titanium parts for aeronautics were produced, in the industrial zone of the municipality of Varilhes. The objective is to produce meltblown, a non-woven material at the heart of the masks, as well as surgical and FFP2 masks from the French brand Auriol Masques. Stéphane Auriol, director, planned 30 million surgical masks, 5 million FFP2 and 1.5 million square meters of filters per month.
40 production lines
Within the 10,000 square meters of the Varilhoise factory, the new activity began in May thanks to an imposing machine. Installed from February to May, it is 10 meters high and occupies 560 square meters on the ground. “It’s a factory on its own,” smiled Stéphane Auriol, one of the four managers of AHG – a family business managed by three brothers and a sister – at the beginning of June. “It is used to produce the mask filter,” continued Pierre-Alain Girard, meltblown project manager.
Forty production lines were then installed to produce the masks: “We create the elastic bands using a machine, the nose bars as well as the meltblown used as a filter, detailed Stéphane Auriol in November. The fabric comes from Europe. At the beginning we took it in China because there were no other opportunities. Now things have changed. “
To establish itself in Ariège, the French company, considered as one of the five most influential mask factories in France, was helped: “The government had subsidized 11 projects including ours, specified Stéphane Auriol. The region also participated thanks to the aid granted. “
50 employees from the surrounding region
Customer side, the “main” are “pharmacies, hospitals but also and companies, for example Airbus or Nova Group”, listed the leader. And to ensure: “This activity is sustainable because with the health crisis, companies are forcing the wearing of masks and this should last over time. “Among the 50 employees – the majority are Ariégeois – wearing a charlotte in the factory, eight are former MKAD.” A new contract has been formulated, said Stéphane Auriol. They wanted to continue the adventure with us. »An adventure during which AHG plans to sell the meltblown filter for other products such as industrial absorbents.
Kippit will settle in Prat-Bonrepaux
Toulouse’s sustainable household appliance company, Kippit, is about to set up in Ariège, in Prat-Bonrepaux. Indeed, the community of communes granted it a plot of 10,000 m² on which will be built a warehouse, of 5,000 m², used for the manufacture of a washing machine model. Like all the other products offered by the company, it is intended to last over time. However, designers say it will be up and running in three years.
End of work in 2023 or even 2024
As for the works in Ariège, they will be just as long as the development of this new device. The site should be completed at the end of 2023 or even early 2024. This installation in the department is also emotional for the general manager of Kippit, Jacques Ravinet: “My life is divided between Ariège and Haute-Garonne. Settling here is very important to us. “
Thus, forty positions will be to be filled in order to work within this establishment. “We will offer very different jobs. We will need employees for the production line, of course. But also profiles for logistics and administration. We would like it to be Ariégeois, but we do not hesitate to look for candidates elsewhere if they wish to come to Prat-Bonrepaux. “
This substantial work represents an investment of 3 million euros.
The Ô9, a source of water
In April 2021, Compagnie des Pyrénées launched its brand, Ô9, in Merens-les-Vals. It is in fact natural water drawn at an altitude of 1,332 meters from the source of Pédourès. This company also aims to be in a 100% eco-responsible approach. Indeed, for this, the directors of Ô9 have decided to market the water in a cardboard bottle whose plant materials are 88% renewable. As for the stopper, it is made from sugar cane derivatives.
Since its inception, the company has prospered. Over the year, the company produced nearly 16 million bottles. “This corresponds to around 42,000 over just one day,” notes Sébastien Crussol, co-founder of the Compagnie de Pyrénées with Damien Chalret du Rieu. In addition, this water is not taken in its entirety: “It is very little mineralized water,” remarks Sébastien. We take only 17%, we do not capture anything beyond reasonable. “
33 employees within the company
When something works, it goes without saying that recruiting goes with it. And for good reason, Ô9 already has 33 employees. However, it hopes to continue its development with 15 new hires by June 2022. “There will be 48 people working here,” says Sébastien.
As a result, with their employees, the managers decided to innovate with other packaging. “Bottle models are emerging, such as aluminum cans or this recycled plastic bottle and, of course, infinitely recyclable.”
About fifty partners
“We reached our objectives faster than expected”, rejoices Sébastien. Many customers have already become addicted to the concept of the Ô9. Among them, large companies such as Airbus, Thalès or more recently the SNCF. In addition, national events have also wished to have this water on their tables: The Voice or Dance with the stars. New Water continues to develop.
Map space Coatings moves to Mazères
Established since its creation in Pamiers, Map Space Coatings moved in the spring to its new premises in Mazères. Specializing in the manufacture of paints intended for the space or defense industry, the SME has been developing for several years a new range of thermal coatings which, in the long term, will no longer contain organic solvents. Map Spaces Coatings thus anticipates new environmental regulations. more restrictive. The new coatings have passed a series of internal tests, such as their ability to resist ultraviolet, gamma or X radiation. In Mazères, the investments may not be finished. The company plans to acquire a test laboratory using the existing conditions in the interstellar vacuum.