« Today, my role is to ensure SABCA’s business development, particularly in Toulouse, for the actuator market as SABCA is positioned on both the space and aerospace segments«
As we approach the Paris Air Show, we have spoken with Jean-François Lumens. A mechanical engineer with a degree from the Faculté Polytechnique de Mons in Belgium, Jean-François is Business Development Manager – Actuation Systems – at SABCA.
« I started my career in Sonaca’s design office, where I worked on anti-icing systems. Then I joined ESSP SAS (European Satellite Services Provider) in Brussels, whose ambition was to provide navigation services to air traffic, thanks to the EGNOS system developed by the European Space Agency. In 2009, this start-up moved to Toulouse and I followed the company. The whole family moved to the « Ville rose » and stayed. At the end of 2019, an opportunity opened up for me at SABCA to take charge of actuator business development while taking advantage of my presence in the South-West of France. Although the world of air traffic is a fascinating subject, I was happy to return to my first love as a mechanic. Joining SABCA allowed me to get back to those fantastic machines that are aircraft! »
Building the link between SABCA and the Toulouse ecosystem
« Today, my role is to ensure SABCA’s business development, particularly in Toulouse for the actuator market, as SABCA is positioned on both the space and aeronautics segments. The aim is to identify new opportunities to enable the skills of SABCA colleagues to be adopted by the aerospace world. »
How is Belgian aeronautical excellence perceived abroad?
« If we compare ourselves with our big neighbours, Belgium represents a more limited ecosystem due to the size of the country, but Belgium has no reason to be ashamed of its skills! If there are so many Belgian components on European launchers, and on all the aircraft of the world’s leading manufacturers, it’s not by chance; it’s because the skills, know-how and supply are recognised! »
The aerospace sector on the move
« In the past, the focus was on improving air safety and operational costs, which led to improvements in aircraft fuel consumption and emissions. And air transport is extremely safe.
Today, in addition to these objectives, the environment has become a major issue, requiring significant development and investment. From my point of view, it seems to me that the players in the industry are all taking the matter very seriously, assuming their responsibilities and aligning their priorities. The challenges don’t concern just one player, but all of them: sustainable fuels, aircraft electrification, air traffic optimisation, and so on. Every aspect is subject to improvement, and I don’t know a single contributor who isn’t working on it.
Would you like to share a memory, a success, a proud moment?
« Sure, I would mention the contract recently signed between SABCA and Airbus for the design, development and manufacturing of a new A350 Flight Control actuator. This pure electrical actuator will equip all A350 variants from 2025, offering additional weight saving while meeting the highest reliability standards.”
SABCA had been looking to enter the highly specialised flight control market for several years, and we were clearly the challenger. With the confidence of the Management, the whole team was fully committed to this objective. Thanks to our talented colleagues, we succeeded in convincing Airbus of the superiority of our solution and our industrial capacity for this new type of equipment.
Would you like to continue the discussion with Jean-François?
We look forward to seeing you at the Salon International de l’Air et de l’Espace in Paris from June 19 to 25.
Image: Jean-François Lumens © SABCA