In the context of the official inauguration of Minatec (Maison des Micro et Nano Technologies) this week in Grenoble, Tronic’s Microsystems expressed its expectations. “Our first hope is to industrialize concepts that will be developed in labs. In other words, Minatec will offer us a real source of technological ideas for industrialization”, commented Vincent Gaff. At this point, Tronic’s does not intend to send engineers to Minatec’s labs since it has its own clean rooms. The company, however, supports fully the initiative as “it will intensify the international attractiveness of the region”, said Gaff.
Grenoble is now given full acknowledgment of its expertise in microelectronics and software technologies. This was proven in 2005 with a decision by the French government to launch a pole of competitiveness, dubbed Minalogic (MIcro NAnotechnologies et LOgiciel Grenoble-Isère Competitivité), around miniaturized chips. Intending to build a centre of international dimension, Minalogic will place in the hands of academia, research laboratories, and the industry in the fields of micro and nanotechnologies as well as embedded software the ability to insure a long term competitive advantage.
As an active member of Minalogic, Tronic’s Microsystems will participate in the recently launched Smart Electricity project and contribute to the development of multifunctional sensors aimed to reduce electric power consumption and bring intelligence to buildings. These highly integrated and miniaturized sensors will capture humidity, temperature, and pressure within a building. Tronic’s implication in this project will consist in the co-development, and potentially the manufacturing, of the component, noted Gaff.
Tronic’s Microsystems is located in Crolles, near Grenoble, with 650 m2 dedicated to tests and production including 400 m2 of clean rooms. In January 2005, the French company opened a sales office in San Francisco (California) so as to get closer to its existing customer and attract new ones. It also has two representatives in Japan to cover the Asian market.
With a portfolio of ten customers on the three continents, Tronic’s does not fear any competition from Asia. “Our strength is our ability to develop and manufacture ‘moutons à cinq pattes’, that is to say highly specific and customized products that typically range from a few thousand units to a few hundred thousand units per year depending upon customer requirements.
For the year 2005, Tronic’s published a 5.862 million euro revenue and an operating income of 6.2 million euros. “We are still not profitable but we are about to reach this goal”, indicated Gaff. The company’s main source of revenue originates from the production of inertial sensors (75%), the rest being the development of other inertial sensors for laboratory instrumentations and microfluidics.
Tronic’s now counts 46 employees, a modest progression from the total of 44 employees announced in 2003.