We love bringing in new machinery, and we take every opportunity to do our jobs more efficiently. That’s why we’re so excited about the addition of three new fully operational Mikron 700 U true 5-axis mills with pallet changers.
More of Everything
These machines have allowed us to increase our spindle capacity by more than 230 hours per week! That’s not all we’ve done to increase our efficiency, though. We’ve also added a third shift here at our North Carolina facility. The new three-day, 12-hour shift runs Friday through Sunday, and has not only increased our capacity for work, but also helped to ensure on-time deliveries during these particularly challenging times. It brings us great joy to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations when we know they have less to depend on right now than usual.
We won’t bore you with the details of why this machine is so great… oh who are we kidding – you probably love the technical specs as much as we do!
Each of these machines sit in a stiff and stable C-frame construction of cast iron. They have large-sized guideways and a double supported rotary table, which contribute to the confidence we have in the quality of parts we deliver to our customers.
We’re excited to see what the future has in store for our manufacturing capabilities as we increase our production and efficiency with these machines!
Just like nearly every other business in America, we’ve had to make some adjustments to how we operate in light of COVID-19’s disruptions. But adjust we have.
Standard social distancing protocols have been in effect at all our facilities since early March. The physical evidence of this is no longer uncommon, and our efforts don’t feel quite so strange anymore either.
Here’s what we’re doing to ensure our manufacturing employees and visitors are safe and remain healthy:
At the end of the day, the health and safety of our guests and team members is our number one priority. We’re keeping a watchful eye on the developments happening both in our country and around the world, and are following best practices outlined by the CDC and WHO.
We’re grateful we’ve been able to take such precautions and remain open for business throughout the duration of the pandemic so far. We’ll do whatever it takes to not only ensure the safety of anyone who visits our facility, but also to continue to provide outstanding quality work to our customers.
As a company, we push our own boundaries for several reasons: to perpetually grow, to identify areas where we can further educate ourselves, and to stay on the cutting edge of the aviation manufacturing industry. Right now, we’re knee deep in an opportunity that is delivering from all those angles!
Every part plays its part. We have the opportunity to machine 25 part numbers for flap detail fittings on a Bombardier Global Express 6000 aircraft. We’re machining these components using our new Mikron 700 U 5-axis mill with pallet changers (you can read more about those here!).
Our Takeaways So Far
This is the largest project we’ve had the opportunity to tackle so far. As expected with anything of this magnitude, we’ve had to make some adjustments along the way. But make them we did, and – can we be frank? – it’s going really, really well.
We’ve worked our way through the engineering of the project and are nearly done with the programming. We’ve shipped 10% of the order so far, and expect to complete it over the course of the next five months. Our production manager, Garret Wishon, said it best:
“As a group, we’ve collectively appreciated the opportunity to learn from this experience. We’ve cut our teeth, learned a lot throughout the process, and have certainly grown because of it. I’m really happy with the way things are going, and we anticipate additional work from Bombardier because of our output and performance on this project.”
Here’s to exciting growth as a company!
In August 2018, the Navy awarded The Boeing Company the contract to configure nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F aircraft to the standard Blue Angels' aircraft structure and modify to accommodate the team’s unique needs.
One of the key items of that installation is the oil tank storage system which our company was subcontracted for in October 2018 to complete for Boeing. The system is employed during the flight to pump a special oil back through the jet’s engine to produce the air show smoke that helps onlookers follow the team’s path through the sky while demonstrating its aerobatic maneuvers.
We are extremely proud to be able to support the legendary Navy’s Blue Angels program in this small way. Thus far, we have provided 5 of the 18 units through our manufacturing facilities in Somerset, Kentucky, and Kernersville, North Carolina.
It’s always nice to put a face with the voice on the other end of the line, and that’s never been truer than it is today when meeting in person isn’t an option.
If you’ve ever spoken with our Production Manager, Garrett Wishon, the smile you see in his picture comes as no surprise. Soft spoken and eloquent, Garrett is a natural leader with a knack for making things run smoothly.
Garrett has been in the aerospace industry for seven years. He began his aviation career with Haeco Americas, an MRO and manufacturing company, as a 5-axis programmer. He then moved up to a programming supervisory role, where he led a team of his own. Next, he spent two and a half years in production management where he managed programs for Airbus.
His background in manufacturing and machining caught the eye of Summit’s continuous improvement manager, who brought Garrett in to pick his brain about ways we might improve our processes. It turned out to be such a good fit that Garrett was offered a full-time position.
In his spare time, Garrett is an avid outdoorsman. He owns a couple small businesses of his own that involve making duck and goose calls, laser engravings and running field trials. When he’s not at Summit or working with one of his companies, you’ll find him duck hunting or fishing. Having grown up in the mountain foothills of North Carolina, it’s where he feels most at home.
He’s recently and happily married to his wife, who is a labor and delivery nurse at a local hospital, and also works in home health for special needs children.
A veteran who served as a Navy Corpsman, Josh Allen joined Summit in March as its Director of Manufacturing. It was quite the move for him from the big city of Boston where he most recently served as the Positive Train Control (PTC) Project Director for Keolis Commuter Services to the more demure city of Lexington, Kentucky, however, he says it has been worth it.
“I am really enjoying this position. The facility offers a lot of room for growth and the people I work with all really care about what they are doing. It’s also nice to be closer to my family in Alabama.”
Josh has been on a progressing flight in aviation, formerly working as a program manager for Star Aviation in Mobile, Alabama, a senior program manager for Zodiac Aerospace’s Airbus Program and as a senior program manager for Gogo Aviation in Chicago. In his previous roles, he fueled his love of travel and technology.
“I love traveling. I have spent a lot of time in France and Germany specifically, but I also love cities like Vegas and New Orleans. And when it comes to technology, I’m extremely interested in connectivity and integration in the commercial world.”
He commutes about an hour each way from Lexington to the facility in Somerset providing him some downtime to think about where he will travel next when the world opens back up.
In his off-hours, Josh is a lover of good food and wine. He also enjoys playing tennis, golf and taking an occasional hike or fishing trip.