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A Cornilleau Billiard Table

Cornil­leau, Euro­pean leader, man­u­fac­tur­ing leisure table ten­nis equip­ment, is locat­ed in Bon­neuil-les-Eaux in the Oise region. The com­pa­ny been inter­est­ed for a long time now in inno­va­tion in all its forms and has an in-house design engi­neer who grad­u­at­ed from UTC-Compiegne. 

After three years’ design work, the R&D work­shops of Cornil­leau brought out last sum­mer a brand new prod­uct, the result of a real chal­lenge for the Picardy-based com­pa­ny’s teams. It is the first out­door bil­liard table called Hyphen, a link between ele­gance and leisure, design and con­vivi­al­i­ty. A for­mer UTC stu­dent from the Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing major, and the elec­tive spe­cial­i­ty Indus­tri­al Design engi­neer­ing course joined the adven­ture and took part in the design of this bil­liard table. Romain Radreaux, 26 years old, was recruit­ed in June 2018 by Cornil­leau for his know-how com­bin­ing aes­thet­ics, mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing and use. “Think­ing about design today means putting one­self in the place of the user, think­ing about the mechan­i­cal con­straints with­out for­get­ting the great impor­tance of aes­thet­ics in all this. For me, that’s what design is all about and Cornil­leau has under­stood that,” con­fides the engi­neer who is part of the R&D team, com­pris­ing pro­to­typ­ists, engi­neers and project man­agers and head­ed by Nico­las Havard. Inno­va­tion-relat­ed func­tions account for 10% of the 90-strong com­pa­ny’s work­force, which is still the Euro­pean leader in its sector. 

Tables, bats and balls “Made in Oise”

The brand pro­vides tables for events organ­ised by the French Table Ten­nis fed­er­a­tion, in par­tic­u­lar the French cham­pi­onships. It is dis­trib­uted in more than 80 coun­tries, designs and man­u­fac­tures all its tables in France and places inno­va­tion at the heart of its devel­op­ment for more than 80,000 tables man­u­fac­tured per year. Cornil­leau report­ed a turnover of 27.5 Meu­ros in 2019 and a remark­ably high lev­el of inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment. “We export to 85 coun­tries, includ­ing the Unit­ed States, where we opened a sub­sidiary in 2019. The Amer­i­can mar­ket is very strate­gic for us,” assures François Robert, the com­pa­ny’s sales direc­tor, who has con­tin­ued – ever since the cre­ation of the com­pa­ny in 1946 by Émile Cornil­leau — to devel­op busi­ness by cre­at­ing tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs. One of the most notable dates back to 1988 and the cre­ation of the out­door table with a sol­id lam­i­nate top. In 1995, more ergonom­ics were intro­duced with the com­pact table; in 2005, Cornil­leau launched the out­door com­pos­ite bats “Made in France”.

Always innovate

“Among the inno­va­tions that we are proud to have devel­oped are the Park table, a durable, all-weath­er mod­el ded­i­cat­ed to open-air play­grounds, and ultra-durable out­door rack­ets with inde­struc­tible sur­faces such as the Tacteo and its eco-designed cousin, the Soft­bat. We are also inno­vat­ing in the field of com­pe­ti­tion; for exam­ple, we have cre­at­ed a com­pe­ti­tion rac­quet sur­face, Tar­get Pro GT, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Miche­lin. For us, the cul­ture of design at the ser­vice of inno­va­tion is a way of sub­li­mat­ing every tech­no­log­i­cal advance. It allows us to devel­op a top-of-the-range brand image and also, of course, to dif­fer­en­ti­ate our­selves from the com­pe­ti­tion,” explains Nico­las Havard. R&D is a real asset for the com­pa­ny, as is “Made in France”. 

Exports are affect­ed, rep­re­sent­ing 55% of turnover. Cornil­leau is a good exam­ple of how com­pa­nies can com­bine the ingre­di­ents for suc­cess. The search for qual­i­ty, the dri­ve to gain a com­pet­i­tive edge, dig­i­tal tran­si­tion and the cir­cu­lar econ­o­my. Indeed, two years ago Cornil­leau also launched the first out­door bat made from recy­cled mate­ri­als. Called Soft­Bat, the mod­el is the fruit of this cir­cu­lar indus­try. Armor Lux sup­plies used cloth­ing to a com­pa­ny that is able to recov­er the mate­r­i­al and recom­pose it. The plas­tic used by the leader in table ten­nis equip­ment came from reprocessed used tex­tiles. More recent­ly, on Novem­ber 5 last, Cornil­leau was award­ed the Sett d’Or de l’in­no­va­tion 2019 at the Salon des Equipements et Tech­niques du Tourisme for its weath­er and shock-proof bil­liard table which con­verts very eas­i­ly into a gar­den table. 

Le magazine

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