In 1909, Mrs. Jeanne LOBRY convinced her husband Jules, her sister and her brother-in-law to start their own business. The four of them mortgaged their respective houses to raise the sum of 6.000 French Francs. The partnership “MAILLARD et LOBRY” was created in Douai (France). It performed mechanical work for nearby companies.
The activity ceased during the First World War but restarted in 1919 and the company hired its first employees. A third partner in the person of Mr. Jean MAHIEU, the son-in-law of Mrs. Jeanne LOBRY, joined the business. The capital increased to 100.000 French Francs and the company name was changed to “MAILLARD, LOBRY et Cie”.
In 1929 the company became an LLC: “Les Ateliers Mécaniques du Douaisis”.
Research and development studies carried out in 1930 resulted in the filing of several patents in 1931. In 1936, Mr. Jean MAHIEU, graduated Engineer of the famous Arts et Métiers high school, was appointed Manager of the company and the business continued to grow following the rapid development of the coal mining industry of the northern part of France.
Once again, the Second World War marked a slowdown but activity resumed in 1945.
Every day, 150 transoms were shipped from the workshops and in 12 years, nearly 500 km of belt conveyor systems were produced, mainly for the coal mines of the region. The company became a leader on the domestic handling market. The product range was expended and diversified.
From 1959 under the management of Mr. Yves MAHIEU (Jean’s son), also a graduated Engineer of Arts et Métiers high school, the company continued its development. In 1966, 4,000 m² of new industrial buildings were inaugurated on Boulevard Vauban in Douai.
The company decided to target the European market with the creation of a range of complete handling systems. Business grew consistently and significantly until the mid-1970’s. New equipment and products were designed, patented and developed mainly in the airport sector: ground vehicles, aircraft tow bars, luggage elevators, etc. Customers were the most important airlines and airports worldwide.
The first oil crisis foreshadowed the start of economic difficulties, with a dramatic drop in investments in equipment for airports and in complete handling systems. Despite this difficult context, the company went through the crisis by reorganizing its activity and refocusing on its core business, the design and manufacture of rollers, pulleys and transoms.
The company’s name was changed to become DOUAISIS S.A. in early 1987.
At that time, the domestic market depended mainly on the mines of northern and eastern part of France and represented more than half of the turnover. As this market was doomed to disappear in the short term with the planned closure of the mines, DOUAISIS reoriented itself towards the manufacture of rollers for heavy and technically-demanding industries.
In parallel, commercial activity was focusing on new export markets, mainly to Africa, chosen for the wealth and quantity of its mines in many countries. Export turnover gradually increased until it represented more than half of the total activity of DOUAISIS.
Following a difficult economic context DOUAISIS was bought in 1995 by the company DAVID in Saint-Etienne (France) whose activity is complementary. Together, DAVID and DOUAISIS became one of the French leading manufacturers of rollers and pulleys and continued to develop worldwide.
For more than a century, its expertise and know-how has been preserved but also developed. Each year, employees retire with more than 40 years of service in the same company. They take true pride in this. Younger workers arrive to take over and ensure continuity and to contribute to a new chapter of DOUAISIS ‘story.
A great development opportunity materialized in early 2019 with the acquisition of DAVID DOUAISIS by an industrial group already active in the same field of activity. To date, this group has made it the largest French manufacturer and one of the most important at European level, of rollers, pulleys and transoms, with 160 employees and € 27 million in annual turnover.
Numerous group synergies have been put in place to develop the know-how specific to our trades, to gain in efficiency and to become a key player recognized in our field at international level. New investments are planned, and the working methods are redesigned to offer higher efficiency and competitiveness while maintaining the level of quality of our products, which has largely contributed to DOUAISIS 'reputation for more than 110 years with some of the most demanding end-users worldwide.