This Walloon technology gem recently took a major step forward in its expansion with the opening of a new plant in Nivelles.
The company has risen to become a world leader in heat pipes and thermal control systems for the space industry since its 51% acquisition by French giant Airbus Defence & Space in 2017; the rest is held by Wallonie Entreprendre.
A Walloon success story
Founded two decades ago as an ex-spin-off from Sabca and ULB, EHP has rapidly taken up a position as a major player in the Belgian space industry. Thanks to innovative products and constant growth, the company is now acknowledged as the world leader in the supply of heat pipes, essential components in the thermal regulation of spacecraft.
A 15-million-Euro Investment
EHP recently invested around €15 million in a new, ultra-modern 10,000 square-metre plant in Nivelles. This expansion is a major turning point for the company, enabling it to double its production capacity and at the same time to modernise its equipment. The new plant is equipped with a state-of-the-art clean room, advanced testing facilities and additional space, and has been built in partnership with the company inBW under a long-term agreement.
Heat pipes: an essential component
Heat pipes play a crucial role in cooling power electronics in spacecraft. They efficiently transfer heat from a hot zone to a cold zone, avoiding any heat dissipation along the way. Demand for heat pipes is constantly growing, whether for the European Space Agency (ESA), satellite constellations or telecommunications services operators.
Rapidly expanding production capacity
Thanks to its new plant, EHP already estimates its production capacity at around 5,000 units a year; it could reach 8,000 or even 12,000 units a year in the future. This expansion is not limited to Europe, as EHP is also deploying in the USA and Canada, seeking to play a key role in constellation projects on the other side of the Atlantic.
An undisputed competitive advantage
In Europe, EHP faces a competitor in Spain, but this company has more limited capacities and longer lead times. In the USA, the main rival is ATK Orbital, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. With its new plant and expanded production capacity, EHP is well positioned to become the preferred partner for future thermal control system requirements.
Diversification and ongoing growth
In addition to heat pipes, EHP has extended its product range by developing larger thermal systems and deployable radiators, thus reinforcing its market presence. The company also manufactures robotic arms used to deploy electric thrusters on satellites, a key component in the space sector. EHP now employs almost 100 people, twice as many as when it was acquired by Airbus, and boasts a turnover of €13 million, with growth prospects of around 15% a year.
It is a shining example of technological and industrial success in Wallonia
Thanks to its know-how, innovations and constant growth, EHP is raising the profile of Wallonia on the international stage, together with its favourable ecosystem for the space industry.