A notable family-run business is at the heart of the Notre-Dame Cathedral’s restoration, particularly the lead roof that was devastated by a fire on April 15, 2019.

Le Ny, a family-owned business based in Dardilly near Lyon, France, stands at the forefront of metal fabrication and historic building restoration. Founded in 1933, Le Ny has built a reputation for exceptional craftsmanship and expertise in handling complex metalworking projects. Specialising in the restoration of iconic structures, the company combines traditional skills with modern technology to preserve and enhance historical heritage.

Central to their operation is the RAS TURBO2plus folding machine, a pivotal tool for bending complex parts efficiently.

Merging Tradition with Technology

The restoration emphasises traditional methods, using lead — a material long associated with historic roofing projects. Le Ny as a studio have a history dating back to 1933, and has been one of the selected few entrusted with the cathedral’s roof restoration. The artfully crafted individual elements are manufactured in a shared workshop specially set up for this purpose. It is a large joint project, converting a considerable 400 m² roof area.

The project has not been without its challenges, from working with the traditional materials through to maintaining the historic look of this iconic building.

Challenges in Crafting Lead Bricks

Since January, the team has been meticulously bending lead tiles on the RAS TURBO2plus. These tiles ensure the cathedral’s roof is watertight and durable. This labour-intensive process involves hand-cutting and bending, a testament to the craft but also a hard task given the tiles’ weight of 60 kg each.

“We manage only 15 pieces a day, aiming for at least 550 bricks,” shares Cyril Téoli, head of the metal workshop. The restoration accounts for a significant portion of the company’s annual revenue, prompting the investment in advanced bending technology from RAS Systems to enhance efficiency and precision.

Logistics of Installation at Heights

With a deadline looming, roofers are tasked with installing the lead tiles within a month and a half, utilising 300 tons of recycled lead traditionally cast in sand. The absence of original plans necessitated innovative approaches, as Jean-Christophe of Le Ny, the company owner, mentions, “We started from scratch, developed a prototype, and got it approved by the architects.”

A Legacy of Historic Restoration

Renovating iconic structures like the Palace of Versailles and the Palace of Justice in Lyon has been integral to Le Ny’s operations. The Notre-Dame project is unparalleled in its scope and significance. “This is the construction site of my life,” Jean-Christophe Le Ny reflects, acknowledging the once-in-a-lifetime scale of this endeavour.

How could RAS change your operations?

For those in the UK looking to elevate their metalworking capabilities, Press and Shear are your go-to distributors for RAS Systems. As demonstrated in the meticulous restoration of Notre-Dame, RAS Systems’ machines offer unparalleled precision and reliability. Whether you’re tackling large-scale restoration projects or intricate metal fabrications, Press and Shear can equip you with the tools needed to succeed.

Contact Press and Shear today to discover how RAS Systems can enhance your craftsmanship and contribute to your next big project.

Original case study shared by RAS Reinhardt Maschinenbau GmbH.