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Story about Pendar Electronique S.A. ex C.P.Clare Electronique S.A.
Posted: 18 Jan 2018, 23:22
Recently I read about the WIKI information on Pendar Electronique S.A. and it seems that the information is unclear so I will explain what happened between December 1985 and 1991 below:
In april of 1985, I myself, was travelling to Strasbourg via Paris and coming from Lisbon where my family had purchased from General Instruments Corporation a plant which was later named DCP Produtos Industriais (part of DCI Holdings GMBH). My purpose was to sell electronic components to Telic Alcatel for the famous Minitel project.
During this trip I met Jean Marie Peters, MD of C.P.Clare Electronique based in Proville, near Cambrai in the north of France. He was visiting the same customer to sell special electronic keyboards with REED technology.
We soon became acquainted with both groups and knowing that our group (DCP in Portugal and C.P. Clare in Cambrai) had been owned by General Instruments Corporation, it was easier to find out that C.P.Clare Electronique in Proville, Cambrai, France and the manufacturing, R&D and machines in C.P. Clare in Tongren, Belgium was up for sale.
We therefore started the purchasing process in New York and in Belgium for both, the premisses and plant in Proville and the machinery and parts as well as the R&D engineers in Tongren, Belgium. The process successfully ended in December 1985. The negotiations were carried out by my Father, Enrico Guzzetti, who had been President of General Instruments Europe at an earlier stage in his career. My older bother Enrique Guzzetti became Finance VP, Jean Marie Peters became Manufacturing VP and I, Roberto Guzzetti, became Sales & Marketing VP.
By mid 1986 we had moved all the machinery and parts from Tongren, Belgium to the plant in Proville as well as all the engineers. Our production consisted of special keyboards with REED technology, REED Switches and Clare/Pendar Switches as well as a fully automated Surge Arrestor manufacturing where we sold these products to France Telecom together with three other competitors.
During early 1987 we realized that we needed to enter the IBM compatible market with new keyboards 101-104 keys as well as 122 keys and we decided to fully review and reduce components for our new keyboards. We used the bottom part of the keyboard as a frame and we placed a silver coated mylar replacing also the double sided electronic card. Sideways we placed a minute electronic card with the RAM Memory. The top part of the keyboard was to hold the newly introduced Capacitor Switches. Finally, in order to reduce manufacturing times, we built and stocked the keyboards "blank" and added the legend with a "Tampo Printing" system which consisted in taking the keyboard out of stock, and each key would get impregnated from a cliche with the ink that after would go to an oven and "cook" the legend impregnating it in the key. We sold this process to Taiwanese manufacturers two years later.
As a result, we where able to manufacture keyboards with any legend and avoid the double injection keys which where long to produce and required a big logistics.
We managed this plant until my father decided to sell the group to The Andlinger Group, a group of ex ITT executives purchasing companies throughout Europe and USA. By that time, the investment was too big for us to be able to continue alone and the keyboard industry was evolving fast and lowering manufacturing costs. We therefore sold to Andlinger who never completed the sale and placed it under receivership without our authorization, so that they could pay less at the end of the process. In 1989, the company was sold to the CEDI Group, a manufacturer of alarm systems who did not know the strategy to turn sales into profit at least for keyboards. By then, the keyboard market was in the hands of South East Asian manufacturers and prices had slumped. The REED key Switches, although being an excellent and reliable technology had changed and the Pendar Switches with ACQUAP 4 approval where being replaced by lower technology switches in airplanes, the principal market.
So this is the story behing Pendar Electronique S.A. a business owned by an industrial family who had owned and managed businesses in Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and France.
Posted: 19 Jan 2018, 00:37
It's no surprise that this part of the story is still complicated!
I've been wondering why the same switches were made both by Pendar in France and Clare in Belgium, and I have reed switches (SI/SG/SIL/SGL etc) marked with the names of both companies ("Clare" moulded into the shell, then stamped "Pendar", as I recall).
From what you're saying, it sounds like the switches were not made by both companies at the same time, but rather, that the Clare switches are older and the Pendar switches are newer and were made following the transfer of equipment and staff from Belgium to France.
Are you able to confirm that this is the case?
Also, does the name Fernando De Almeida ring a bell? I was in contact with ESM, but the woman there didn't speak very good English and we weren't able to communicate very effectively. Not long after that, ESM closed down; it was after I learnt of this that I decided to upload the photos she sent me to the wiki, showing the factory.
Posted: 19 Jan 2018, 20:50
You are absolutely right. Clare switches where manufactured in Tongren, Belgium and in Proville France with US technology. After the sale of C.P. Clare Electronique to my family, the Tongren machines and its engineers where moved to Proville, about two and a half hours away from Proville, France. It was at this time that the CLARE name changed to Pendar.
As for Fernando de Almeida, yes I know him very well. He was our plant supervisor in our plant in Protugal (DCP Produtos Insdustriais S.A.R.L.). About a year after we bought the Proville plant, I invited Fernando to join us in France and this is how he became Plant Supervisor of Pendar Electronique S.A. After the fallout, Fernando, together with Alphonse Booets (Fuzzy) and Norbert Schepers decided to buy the REED business and the keycap double injection machinery creating ESM. I am not sure if they produced full keyboards and I also think that the Pendar Switches were left behind together with the Surge Arrestor business. This was around early 1990. I think that Fernando had health problems and I believe he passed away. The same happened with Jean Marie Peters in 2014.
Posted: 19 Jan 2018, 23:58
This is the article I found, with some details:
https://www.lesechos.fr/20/08/1991/LesE ... curite.htm
According to this article, a US company called "Clare Electronic" (I don't know who they are, as the US company was CP Clare) created Pendar Electronic in France in 1977. This is the company who appeared to become (or be bought by) CEDI.
When you say "the CLARE name changed to Pendar" it may be that you're saying that Pendar already existed, but that the Clare business changed over to the existing Pendar name. The Tongren factory didn't close, nor did Clare lose it, so I am guessing that you bought out only the reed switch machinery and took it to Pendar:
https://www.thefreelibrary.com/C.P.+Cla ... a019036639
(There is a bit more on my own page at http://telcontar.net/KBK/Clare-Pendar/
than there is on the wiki at the moment.)
I have an Entreprise F8909 from from 2001-03-19 (in French, and I don't understand it) that Isabelle Cachera sent me, belonging to ESM, that gives:
Ancienne Appellation : CEDI INDUSTRIE SA au 18/06/92
Ancienne Appellation : PENDAR INDUSTRIE SA au 17/06/92
The two dates here are a day apart, so it seems that both the Pendar and CEDI names were in use side by side until 1992. (Due to the language barrier in dealing with ESM, and my total lack of understanding about this document, I have not posted it publicly.)
"Pendar" was a US company who CP Clare bought out around 1966, which was renamed Clare-Pendar. It seems that a French subsidiary was created that re-used the Pendar name. That would make both Clare and
Pendar subsidiaries of General Instrument simultaneously.
Because keyboards with these switches are extremely rare (I don't think a keyboard with European-made Clare/Pendar reed switches has ever been seen) it's impossible to use keyboard examples to prove whether or not Clare and Pendar were both
making keyboard reed switches at the same time.
I think it's going to be some time yet until this all becomes clear.
Oh wait, I did add the F8909 form to the [wiki]Pendar[/wiki] page on the wiki after all. I don't remember doing that.]
Posted: 21 Jan 2018, 13:58
Daniel, lets see if I can make this story more clear.
As far as I know, C.P. Clare was (at the time of the sale to my family of the Proville plant and part of Tongren product lines) fully owned by GENERAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION. Just for the information, our family facility in Portugal was also purchased from this group. In fact, the previous name to DCP Produtos Industriais SARL was GENERAL INSTRUMENTS LUSITANIA SARL.
The brand name PENDAR existed on high mechanical switches in the USA. This is the reason why, my father Enrico Guzzetti decided to use this name since we held the rights to this brand name after the purchase. These switches had either Bronze, Silver or Bronze contacts and where used mainly in the Civil and Military Aviation market in the US. Definitely not applicable for computer keyboards but they were always known as PENDAR Switches.
When we bought the C.P. Clare business in Europe, these PENDAR Switches (nothing to do with the CLARE Reed switches) were sold also to airports for use in the control towers. In fact, during the time we owned the company, we sold some frames with Pendar switches to ADP Aeroports de Paris for installation in the control towers of Roissy CDG as well as Orly Airport in France. We also inherited from Tongren the AQUAP 4 approval from the United Nations to use some Pendar Type of Switch in the cockpits of military planes.
Now back to the Proville business: When my family started the sale of Pendar Electronique S.A. to the Andlinger group and then went into receivership, the CEDI Group changed the name of the Proville Plant to PENDAR INDUSTRIE thus keeping the same business format. I think that the CEDI INDUSTRIE name came on a second step when CEDI decided to go into the french equivalent of "Chapter 11" and therefore decide to use the Proville Plant to manufacture CEDI Alarm systems therefore selling at a very low cost to ESM who bought the product lines and some machinery either from CEDI or directly from the court. At this moment, with ESM, the same product lines were kept except for the Surge Arrestor and Keyboard manufacturing business which was discontinued. The rest of the product line business was maintained with no further R&D improvements.
As for keyboards with REED switches, there are lots of special keyboards manufactured with and without enclosure to customers such as Alcatel (for their TELEX), La Sagem (for same use), SMT Goupil for special keyboards at their very beginning, Memorex Telex Corporation (prior to selling our capacitive technology keyboards), Apollo in UK, Normerel in France, Wordperfect France and many more. All these customers had been customers also prior to the sale of the business to my family so we can deduct that yes, the same REED switches named Clare and later named PENDAR.
As for the TONGREN Factory Sale to GUNTHER in 1997, yes, C.P.Clare kept the REED manufacturing but ONLY for sale in the US. In our purchase agreement they were not authorised to sell in Europe for 10 years after the sale.This could account for the different brand names (Clare - Pendar) as the switches produced in the Tongren plant after the sale to my family, went for US Customers and the Pendar name was for switches manufactured in the Proville Plant for European customers.
Posted: 21 Jan 2018, 17:29
By "Bronze, Silver or Bronze contacts" I assume you meant "Gold, Silver or Bronze contacts", since good metal-contact switches use gold alloys.
The keyboard reed switches are divided into two types: high profile and low profile.
Low profile comprises SFL, SGL and SIL series ([wiki]Clare/Pendar low profile reed[/wiki]) made in Europe, and [wiki]Clare-Pendar Series S880[/wiki] made in North America. SFL/SGL/SIL use separate tooling and are not quite the same shape, but they are largely identical and should be interchangeable. I have some of both types (in fact, I have just over 40 different Clare and Pendar European reed types).
High profile comprises SF, SG, SH, SI and SK series ([wiki]Clare/Pendar high profile reed[/wiki]) made in Europe, and [wiki]Clare-Pendar Series S820[/wiki] made in North America. Clare-Pendar Series S820 is the only type ever seen in a keyboard, with the one exception of an S88020 switch being used for a locking key.
SF/SG/SH/SI/SK is a different design to S820 and they appear to be incompatible. If reed switches were being made for sale in the US, I'm curious whether this included the high-profile reed switches, or only the low-profile reed, as the latter are the only ones that appear to be physically compatible with their North American counterparts.
I have a load of catalogue pages from the US, but sadly most of them don't indicate the brand that the catalogue was using. As Clare-Pendar is the brand that appears on the odd page, I'm using "Clare-Pendar" to refer to all US reed switch types, although "Switchlight"/"Switchline" was apparently sold under just the Pendar name. Some other keyboard switches were branded as General Instrument or CP Clare — it's very complicated.
I guess what I need to do is draw this all out as a chart, to have some hope of keeping track of who owned what and what was called what and when … !
Posted: 21 Jan 2018, 21:56
In fact, you bring my memory back. High profile Reed switches are the "higher case" ones and Low Profile are the "lower casing" switches. The High Profile switches are most probably older once they were used in ATM's at the beginning. The low profile switches were used for keyboards and eventually later models of ATM's. Although I recall some references, I think that the US versions manufactured in Tongren with Clare brand went to the US market and these were mostly low profile switches once they were developed later to reduce size.
The "Switchlight" line is what I was mentioning earlier with yes, Gold, Silver or Bronze contacts and were used in airplanes. Nothing to do with REED switches. As an example, if you took an earlier flight with Boeing 737 jetplanes, the switches used to call the steward or switch the light on, are Switchlights most probably with either Bronze or Silver contacts. The ones with Gold contcts were used in the cockpit of these planes.
At the Proville plant, we manufactured keyboards mainly with low profile reed switches. We also did metal frames with switchlights as needed once we had a milling machine. As an example, I recall that one day early in the morning, the captain of a Pakistan Airways 747 came to our plant with a frame full of switchlights (about 20 of them) and asked us if we could repare or replace the full frame with new switches once that his plane was stranded in Roissy Airport and he was unable to fly the plane until the frame was fully replaced which is was we did during the day and he left with the new frame and switches back to CDG at the end of the day.
Send me the chart when done and I will try and see if I can assist you as best as possible.
Posted: 21 Jan 2018, 23:28
Here are the US-style tall reed switches in a keyboard:
photos-f62/control-data-corporation-cc6 ... 11496.html
That's the only discovered full keyboard of those. The type more commonly encountered is what we believe to be called [wiki]Clare-Pendar Series S840[/wiki], which have been used by NASA; these are plain exposed metal contact. I'm not aware that these were ever made in Europe, but it's not impossible. It's funny how not a single keyboard with the low-profile reed switches has ever shown up anywhere that we're aware of, because we've encountered all manner of rare an intersecting items. I guess we don't have enough people in France making these kinds of discoveries!
Silver and bronze contacts sound very suspect though, as both tarnish readily.
Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 01:41
Do you (or anyone else for that matter) understand that F8909 document?
According to you, ESM was started in early 1990, which roughly ties in with the ancienne appellation dates on the F8909 document (from 1992), so now I have to wonder what on earth that document is about, that took place in 2001? I was figuring that ESM was started in 2001, but that's nowhere close to what you're giving.
The chart will take a little while yet — still got some clean-up and figuring out to do before I even post anything here. I also want to try adding more of the US side of things first.
Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 23:58
OK, these are all the details I have managed to obtain:
The inward arrow ends (Tongeren, Gunther, IXYS) indicate where I don't have a start and/or end date for that company.
I've left out your date of 1990 for CEDI → ESM as it doesn't seem to fit — I need clarification on this. My contact at ESM was Isabelle Cachera but I've lost contact with her after ESM closed.
Posted: 28 Jan 2018, 22:04
Looks clear to me. Not quite sure when the Tongeren plant was initiated and not sure if it worked as C.P. Clare after the sale of part of it to us (at least for a couple of years). ESM was operating for 16 years (Approx.). If it ceased its activities in 2015, this takes us to the year 2000. We need to find out what happened between CEDI and Pendar Industrie during the 90's. In my opinion it was all part of the CEDI Group but need to confirm this. If CEDI/PENDAR Industrie went into receivership in the year 2000, this will explain the no activity during 2000 and the buyout by ESM from the auction when it went into receivership once this could take 12 to 18 months to get reorganised to ESM.
I am currently travelling in Latin America. Please give me some time and I will find out about Isabelle Cachera. If you have a mail address or phone number, I will be glad to investigate further once that I speak fluently Portuguese and French. I will also see if I can reach Fernando de Almeida's friends in Portugal.
Posted: 28 Jan 2018, 22:28
Just to clarify, a a mail address or phone number for whom? I have no details for ex-ESM staff.
I only drew Clare-Pendar up to 1980 as it seems that the Clare and Clare-Pendar brands started to be replaced with the General Instrument brand somewhere around then. There were various sales of the Pendar switch technology in the US, but I didn't get any details on the actual fate of Clare-Pendar itself.
There's also the confusion about there being this US company called "Clare Electronic", which I've never heard of.
Posted: 29 Jan 2018, 17:36
It seems confusing. All I can tell you is that the period between 1985 and 1990 is accurate. The rest and forward should not be hard to clarify once that I knew some of the actors in the ESM aftermath. My question about the mail or phone number was just because you had been in contact with Isabelle Cachera whom I trust, must have been Fernando de Almeida's partner or maybe Jean Marie Peters (ex Managing Director of Pendar Electronique) assistant at that time. As for the "American Clare Electronic" I have no idea and I also doubt about its presence after the sale of the business to us, but it could be that they had the "Switchlight" business line in the US after the sale once it could well be tht they were still manufacturing switchlights in the US.
Posted: 29 Jan 2018, 22:15
The e-mail address I had for ESM was closed down, and that was all I had.
Posted: 02 Feb 2018, 11:47
Maybe you should talk to Alfons Boets, ex partner and Managing Director at ESM. You could find more information if you contact him. Here is his Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/alfons.boets
Alfons is a good person and I am sure you can get a clearer picture on what happened after the CEDI Group left this business to them.
Posted: 02 Feb 2018, 13:44
I don't have a Facebook account and I have no plans to, ever.
Posted: 02 Feb 2018, 21:05
Thats your problem, not mine
Posted: 02 Feb 2018, 21:57
Well, then I guess this is over.
Posted: 02 Feb 2018, 22:05
Don't you have any other means to contact Mr. Boets? It would a pity to let this die at this point.
Posted: 04 Feb 2018, 13:53
I came into this blog to clarify what happened with Pendar between 1985 and 1990. I haven't been in contact with anyone since and my sole scope was to inform about Pendar Electronique S.A. during the period we owned this business. Its not my wish to look to see whatever happened after, specially since it seems that the answers given to me when I make suggestions are answered with no interest. My clarification as to what happened with Pendar is done.