for the “factory of the future” project in Angers
which is nearly double that of the current area
which will be in addition to the current 250
Atos is an international leader in digital transformation with 109,000 employees. #1 in Europe in the market for servers, supercomputers and cybersecurity, the group provides integrated solutions for all business sectors worldwide. The company Bull, which Atos acquired in 2014, was established in Angers in the early 1960s. This site in Atlantic France specialises in the production and testing of supercomputers, quantum simulators, high-end servers, as well as cryptology and cybersecurity products and technologies.
With its new “factory of the future” project and the deconstruction and reconstruction of its historic site in Angers, Atos is embarking on industry 4.0 and will make Angers the new flagship of the group on an international scale. A true European centre of innovation, the plant has also been designed to optimise resources, reduce its carbon footprint and improve the quality of life at work for its employees. Below is an interview with Vincent Sarracanie, SVP Supply Chain & Manufacturing at Atos.
Can you explain the genesis of this project?
Vincent Sarracanie : The Big Data and security market is growing rapidly. We therefore had to make decisions for our Angers site, because we found ourselves faced with a double problem: modernising our installations, which date back to 1962, and anticipating the future to better face the challenges of tomorrow. From there, two scenarios were considered: building a factory on a new site or rebuilding on the existing one in order to redo everything. In the end, the second option was favoured.
Why did you choose to rebuild your Angers plant on the same site?
Firstly, because we have been based here for 60 years. We could have built a new factory in Germany for example, but Angers and the richness of the Atlantic France ecosystem quickly convinced us otherwise. As for the choice to rebuild on the existing site, seen as Atos is a key player in low-carbon digital technology and is committed to an eco-friendly transition, we wanted to be part of a process of “no net land take” and thus rebuild on our own industrial site.
Why did you want to engage in a sustainable and responsible approach?
By choosing not to artificialise new soils, we wanted to reduce our carbon footprint right from the design phase of the project. Eventually, the green spaces on the site will be multiplied by 8 and the solar panel roof will supply the factory with electricity from renewable energies. In addition, we have planned to reinject all the so-called “fatal heat”, which comes from the construction of servers and supercomputers, into the district heating network. The project will be BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certified, the highest certification in construction, which guarantees maximum respect for the environment, beginning with the design of the plans until the end of the building’s life.
The support of the Atlantic France regional council was quite crucial for this project. From the start of our reflection, in February 2021, elected officials and regional services listened to us.
How do the Atlantic France Region and local authorities support you with this project?
The support of the Atlantic France regional council was quite crucial for this project. From the start of our reflection, in February 2021, elected officials and regional services listened to us. We sat around the table with Solutions&co, the economic development agency of Atlantic France, and ALDEV, the economic development agency of Angers Loire Métropole, to present our needs and explain our ambitions. Quickly, this industrial project mobilised local players who brought us their expertise on the project’s feasibility. The Atlantic France regional council granted Atos a financial aid of €1.5 million. Beyond what the budget represented, it shows the interest of the region for the reindustrialisation of its territory and its commitment to create qualified jobs.
What are the next big steps ahead?
The construction project officially started in February 2022. By the end of this year, the construction site will begin with the demolition of the old building. The new constructions will begin in June 2023. The project will be delivered in two stages: a first phase in 2025, then a second at the end of 2026. In total, we will double our current production capacity, while improving productivity by 30%, and reduce our operating costs by 30% as well. We are reinventing our factory to make it the flagship of the Atos Group.
The new Atos location seen by Solutions&co
With Gonzague Mannessier (Companies & Territories Manager)
Keeping Atos in Atlantic France, and in Angers in particular, was a priority for our elected officials. Obviously, this is a company we know well. We had already supported them with another project in 2018: the construction of a supercomputer test centre. In February 2021, when the managers came to present their new ambitions to us, we quickly got to work with ALDEV to offer Atos the most appropriate real estate solution. Giving new life to the historic Bull site has become obvious to all of us. It is an ecological, innovative project that is part of a policy to revitalise the city and an entire district. The Region is providing €1.5 million and Alter eco, the planning and economic development agency of Angers Loire Métropole and the Maine-et-Loire department, will ensure the overall restructuring of the site in order to accommodate the new 4.0 factory of Atos.
At Solutions&co, we label ourselves as a project facilitator. We work alongside managers and entrepreneurs to not only offer them the most relevant real estate plans, but also, and above all, to place their project in a rich and connected ecosystem. Our territory is attractive and dynamic and it should benefit everyone. Atos is the perfect example of a great success story.