Fluid Automation Systems from the garage to the multinational

FAS was created in a garage in the Geneva area of Switzerland in 1971 by Peter Merz & Freddy Sarfati. Since 2009, the organisation’s running has been overseen by CEO Peter Matton at the company’s head office in Versoix, Geneva, whilst a 2,000 square metre manufacturing plant is located in Palézieux, Vaud. FAS GmbH located in Lünen, Germany and FAS Srl. located in Milan, Italy are in charge of developing FAS activity for their domestic market.

In 2004 FAS became a member of the Norgren group, part of IMI Plc, which provides motion and fluid control systems for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and end-users around the world. The resultant multi-national, 280-strong team consists of dynamic, results-driven individuals who are committed to expanding the FAS brand. The need for global solution requires competencies to be taken from a variety of companies. This has helped build a supportive sales network which spans over 30 countries. Regionally, the European area accounts for 80% of the activity. USA and Asia Pacific are currently and respectively representing 13% and 7%, but are expected to grow significantly over the next few years. This demands the production of over 4 million valves per year which drove a 2010 annual turnover of 75 M CHF.

FAS activity spans key sectors of Life Sciences, Rail, Printing, Food & Beverage and Environmental Monitoring. The related application requirements play a large part in product development; however, FAS pride themselves on being innovators and pioneers of products in the miniature solenoid valve field. 1974 saw FAS develop Microsol – the world’s first 15 mm solenoid valve – which has since become an industry standard. Its innovative design, unparalleled reliability and adaptability to a variety of customer interfaces provided a stimulus for the development of the rest of the FAS family. FAS now possess a valve range spanning six different products. Most recently, the 8 mm Chipsol valve was launched and takes the FAS size range from 8 mm – 32 mm. 40 years of long-term partnerships

FAS continues to invest heavily in research and development in its search for new generation products. Indeed, the company has a 20-strong team of research engineers. With more than 4,000 specific products, our activity is 85% custom, and 15% standard. Technical specifications from a variety of different environments and applications structure the knowledge of our company. We believe that all personnel should support the success of FAS. As such, personnel working in quality, sales, customer services and additional departments need to acquire a global understanding of our activities. Our training programme ensures managers are provided with the technological know-how and management practices necessary to make the most appropriate decisions on a project-by-project basis.

Our passion for providing competitive advantage to our customers means that we are always looking for the most innovative ways to deliver superior engineering solutions. The creation of co-development partnerships is one of our most effective mechanisms. This disregards the need to design, develop, assemble and test integrated subsystems, and allows FAS to work with fellow specialists to develop innovative new products. Concepts can be taken from the laboratory bench to the manufacturing floor without variability, error or delay, raising the quality of our products whilst lowering our production costs.

Such savings afford high precision engineering solutions and tailored OEM applications. This provides benefits to the strategic suppler, OEM and end-user The company’s strong product offering has strengthened FAS’s confidence in its ability to meet the needs of OEMs and deliver unique product solutions. Most of our customers have specific demands and find in FAS the solution to solve these issues. As a sector which has always demanded high precision engineering solutions, FAS continues to build on its achievements in Life Sciences and uses this as a framework upon which to develop its success in other sectors. Indeed, the presentation of the 2010 Frost & Sullivan award for European Solenoid Valves - Customer Value Enhancement for European Life Sciences OEM customers, highlights the success of its high precision engineering solutions in this industry. Between value and innovation

Through both the creation of co-development partnerships and the development of tailored OEM applications, FAS helps lower the total cost of ownership for its customers. Profit margins are maintained as the multitude of obscure costs incurred when working with various suppliers are removed. FAS’s expertise in fluid control provides customers with an advantage over their competitors which offers superior returns. In the specialised markets of Life Sciences and Inkjet it is false economy to sacrifice quality, documentation and logistics in order to obtain a lower component price. FAS recognise this; whilst we aim to lower the total cost of ownership by minimising short-term costs, we will not compromise on our ability to offer long-term benefits to our customers.

Following product and application success in the Life Sciences sector, FAS decided to form a specific sector focusing on the most demanding applications. Many of the sector’s applications require stringent levels of component cleanliness which are now addressed through the Medic sector. The 16 mm Flatprop range was launched in 2003, meeting and exceeding the new sector’s high standards. FAS have since developed this technology and pushed for its integration with different  products using the cartouche shape. The development of the 8 mm Proportional version of the Chipsol allows FAS to cater for a wider range of pressures and flow rates. This innovation and quality has been followed by the investment in a class 10,000 clean room to strengthen our position in this demanding market.

Our investment spans all levels and categories. Through fostering co-development partnerships with our customers, FAS has been able to tailor its technologies to offer the best solutions for dealing with aggressive liquids and gases. Our media separated valves have minimised dead volumes (<10 microl./min) and specific body & seal material as standard to ensure the best performance with every application. This separated membrane technology has been at the heart of our products for the past 30 years; the launch of the 3/2 MS 15 mm Microsol valve in 2008 shows our commitment to maintaining this standard into the future. A tradition for future growth

As a Swiss organisation, high precision and quality have always been at the heart of FAS operations. The co-development partnerships formed to meet customer product needs are not only essential for success in our industries of operation, but also help to set us apart from our competitors. The appropriate utilisation of such qualities will see FAS keep its position of leader in miniature solenoid valves and OEM specific partnerships across key strategic areas, such as Life Sciences, Rail, Printing, Food & Beverage and Environmental Monitoring and see it venture into new sectors too.





En français dans le texte

Du garage à la multinationale

Créée dans un garage en 1971, Fluid Automation Systems est une entreprise suisse spécialisée dans le domaine du contrôle des fluides basée à Versoix près de Genève et avec une usine à Palézieux dans le canton de Vaud. L’entreprise a une notoriété internationale et est leader mondial dans le marché des électrovalves miniatures et micro-fluidiques. Depuis sa fondation, FAS a suivi une évolution régulière et stable. Ces méthodes sans cesse remises en question et améliorées lui ont permis d’obtenir les certifications de plusieurs organismes (ISO, ATEX, CE, UL, VDE, SSIGE) ainsi que de nombreux prix.

En 2004, FAS a rejoint le groupe international IMI Norgren et continue à jouer un rôle important dans le secteur des électrovannes. L’entreprise a un catalogue de 4000 produits dont 15% sont standards et 85% développés pour chaque client spécifique. Le marché des électrovannes miniatures et microfluidiques est en expansion rapide. Les valves de 10 mm et 15 mm représentent la majorité des ventes de FAS complétant ainsi les activités de Norgren et de ses autres filiales.

By Peter

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