Initially, Desami rented machines to install safety barriers and sold certain associated products.

The idea of offering products that did not require additional costs for reinforcing bridges quickly gained ground. And so the DOLRE project was born and the company took off! 

  • Industry 5.0
Success criteria
  • Sales revenue inscrease
  • Job creation
  • International development
  • Disruptive innovation

There came a time... when we wanted to design more aesthetic and less restrictive guardrails for bridges, so that savings could be made for project owners", explains David De Saedeleer, director of the holding company which groups together Desami Belgium and Desami France. 

Strength, quality, aesthetics, savings and innovation: a winning combination.

In 2016, DESAMI submitted its DOLRE project to the MecaTech cluster, working on the development of an innovative guardrail. The company and its partners (Ateliers JLM, GDTech, Catholic University of Louvain and University of Liège) received over €1 million in funding from the Walloon Region.

“We have designed a guardrail for engineering structures with force limiters and force distributors," explains David de Saedeleer. “Intended for bridges, it is extremely resistant, having passed the crash tests that are compulsory for this type of equipment, which must be capable of restraining cars and heavy goods vehicles at high speed. But above all, the DOLRE guardrail limits the additional forces applied to the bridge structure, and therefore saves on the reinforcements to be installed on the structure, and consequently reduces the duration of the works." 

In September 2017, the first two DOLRE products passed full-scale crash tests. In June 2018, the 3rd safety barrier followed in the footsteps of its two big sisters.

Innovative products mean rapid growth, but not always where you'd expect it.

Initially, one of the challenges was to convince the first customers of the benefits of the products, without any references. The target markets were Belgium and France. However, to the great surprise of the entrepreneur, some Australians soon came to the company's offices located in Charleroi. 

Convinced by the quality of the products, they offered to organize a conference and meet potential customers. Over the course of the year, Australian orders began to arrive, and the first containers were shipped. An Italian bridge was recently inaugurated and soon the slides will be exported to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. In general, it takes a year of preparation and two years of marketing to develop a market in a country. 

Timescales are shorter when customers are interested in the products because they invest in the project, in particular compliance with standards and authorizations. For the time being, 15% of their turnover comes from exports, but DESAMI intends to increase its share of foreign sales, as other countries are already in the pipeline.

The MecaTech cluster, a booster of growth and innovation

"It was thanks to the MecaTech cluster that we were able to obtain funding for R&D. When we started out, we didn't have much. Fortunately, we were well supported. The MecaTech cluster is an extraordinary tool that enables small companies like us to launch into innovation," admits the entrepreneur. 

DESAMI, thanks to the DOLRE project and its derivatives, is experiencing strong growth: from sales of €1 million in 2016, €10 million are expected by 2024, and the company currently employs the equivalent of 20 full-time staff at its Belgian and French sites. 

DESAMI concentrates its activities on development, sales and installation, and currently outsources all its production. For example, DESAMI provides continuous work to Entranam, a company with adapted work for disabled people in the region of Namur.