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31 January 2020

JEMA: a SME between niche markets and large-scale projects

Company Life

What do IBA’s advances in proton therapy, improved metal recycling at Metallo, John Cockerill’s R&D projects in electricity storage, or the energy transition to hydrogen have in common? In each of these projects we find JEMA, a SME specializing in high performance power supplies.

About JEMA

Founded in 1937, JEMA designs, develops and manufactures high-performance power supplies for various sectors such as particle science, metallurgy, industry, infrastructure equipment, electrical networks, surface treatment processes, etc.

JEMA has acquired in the last 35 years an exclusive knowledge of direct current power supplies and auxiliary applications related to particle accelerators.

Some projects and applications in physics – such as cyclotrons and IBA proton therapy centers with which we have been working for over 30 years - require ultra-precise and stable power supplies over time

Today, JEMA is participating in several ambitious projects such as the MYRRHA particle accelerator which will ultimately bombard the nuclear waste from the SCK-CEN reactor. In this context, the SME supplied the magnets and power supplies for the injector, the first component of the accelerator and the reactor which the Belgian Federal Government included in its National Investment Pact.

Basically, we are acting here in the same kind of application as IBA, except that it is not a cyclotron here but a linear particle accelerator (LINAC). In both cases, the expectation is to have a very precise and stable supply in order to create a constant magnetic field which effectively fulfills its mission: in the case of IBA, eradicate cancer cells; in the case of MYRRHA, the goal is transmutation of radioactive waste, reducing significantly their time impact. Advances in IBA or other industrial applications are notably linked to continuous collaborations with loyal partners such as JEMA.

At the heart of the energy transition

Today, there are new challenges in terms of conversion and storage of green energy in which JEMA is already involved. For example, they made converters for John Cockerill’s Miris project, a kind of “laboratory” for different types of batteries. JEMA also provides its expertise in the field of hydrogen production where the supply of electrolysers also requires very specific performances.

A role to play in the circular economy

New processes are also emerging such as recycling and circular economy processes. Revolutionary industrial installations contribute to the recycling of some metals and, therefore, require power supplies of several MW and implement completely innovative designs. This is the case of Metallo, for a brand new furnace intended, among other things, to recycle zinc and copper, and which has significantly increased recycling yields. Experience in engineering, careful selection of components, constant technological watch, intelligent control systems, integrated industrialization are some of the assets of JEMA, a leading player in its field.

As a SME, we have the flexibility to adapt to niche and emerging markets where our innovation dynamic plays a key role. In this type of project, we are probably more efficient than some large groups. The challenge is not to confine ourselves to ‘one of a kind’ type projects, but also to establish long-term partnerships, as with IBA. It's a balance to find.

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