Bell Helicopter officially opened its composite manufacturing facility in Broussard, La., yesterday. The new 28,000-sq-ft facility was designed specifically for manufacturing and repairing composites for most of the helicopter manufacturer’s in-production and legacy fleet. Bell said it implemented lean manufacturing processes throughout the facility to improve efficiencies and reduce lead times.
To automobile mass-producers, automation in the aerospace manufacturing probably looks fundamentally immature. However, Boeing’s efforts in introducing robotics into 777 production at its widebody plant in Everett, Washington, have translated into some considerable efficiency gains following the company’s transition some eight years ago to a moving, U-shaped assembly line and simultaneous implementation of lean production processes.
Vector Aerospace has added a new 45,000-sq-ft office and hangar complex at its Andalusia, Ala., helicopter MRO facility. The added space doubles the size of Vector’s facility and will fit up to 20 aircraft concurrently, according to the company, as well as facilitate implementation of lean manufacturing processes that will reduce turn-around time for customers. Vector plans to expand the Andalusia workforce to 170 employees from the current 140.
Cessna is doing more than introducing new business jet models. The Wichita airframer is changing the way it does business with its customers. That is the message from Cindy Halsey, the company’s long-serving vice president of interior design and engineering.
Mike Redenbaugh has made quite an impact at Bell in the 18 months since he became the company’s CEO. He moved in at something of a low point in the company’s fortunes, with an aging product line and the embarrassment of competitor Eurocopter claiming more than 50 percent of the domestic turbine market.
With new management and the goal of transforming itself from a development company to a lean production aircraft company, Adam Aircraft put a key foundation block in place here yesterday when it signed a 10-year agreement with SaferJett to provide training for the A700 VLJ and A500 at a facility on Alliance Airport, Fort Worth, Texas.
PATS Aircraft, part of DeCrane Aerospace Systems, will be expanding its facilities and hiring up to 200 additional employees over the next 18 months in response to its strong business growth, the company announced yesterday. PATS provides auxiliary fuel systems and interior completions work for business, commercial and military aircraft manufacturers.
Emteq of Milwaukee is consolidating its aerospace cabin and lighting companies into a single facility at New Berlin, Wis., effective November 1. The new 57,000-sq-ft layout was derived from the Japanese lean manufacturing principle and will allow for expansion from 150 to 350 employees over the next three to five years. The new address is 539 South Emmer Dr., New Berlin, WI 53151.