Category Archives: Aerospace

What Bombardier’s Sale to Delta Means for Commercial Aerospace

Bombardier’s new C Series aircraft has found a customer – creating a significant milestone for the company. By ordering 75 CS100 aircraft with the option to buy another 50 later on, Delta has become Bombardier’s biggest customer with the sale valued at about $5.6 billion at published rates.

But this isn’t just an achievement for Bombardier, as the announcement has implications for the entire aerospace industry. This one order establishes the company as a competitive force to be reckoned with. While it doesn’t necessarily threaten the current “duopoly” of Boeing and Airbus yet, it is a step toward leveling the playing field.

As for the aircraft being purchased, the C Series has a number of positive attributes that likely attracted Delta. It is a single-aisle plane fitting into the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market (a new introduction for Bombardier), and uses advanced materials along with a Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G engine to boost fuel efficiency.

Inside the cabin, passengers will find 19-inch-wide seats, ample overhead storage, and an exceptional view, as this model boasts the largest windows in the single-aisle aircraft market. It is also the quietest commercial jet in its class, making it a comfortable experience for those on the ground and in the air.

With the successful launch of this aircraft into the commercial aerospace sector, Bombardier is further positioning itself as a heavy hitter in the industry. We look forward to seeing what else they have in store for the future.

The True Impacts of Lower Gas Prices in Aviation

Recently, fuel prices have dropped, but there seems to be disagreement about how this affects airlines. Fuel prices are often hedged, which means airline companies try to protect their losses by buying fuel at set prices months in advance. The benefit is that if fuel prices rise, they are locked into lower prices. The drawback is that if prices drop, the airlines will lose out on potential savings. With continually dropping fuel prices, travelers are wondering why fares aren’t dropping as well.Airplane_silhouette

It’s rare for a company to lower prices, even if they’re seeing improvements to their bottom line. Instead, companies look for ways to make upgrades that are often long overdue. Many airlines are now able to invest in new planes or remodel existing terminals. Some are even adding more flights. As long as seats are in demand, there’s no reason for the airlines to drop fares. Just last year, air travel demand increased by 9 percent.

In addition to airlines buying newer planes and tackling aging terminals, some are also dealing with higher labor costs. For example, United has to pay their pilots more for the next three years from a contract extension deal. This extension will cost the company an additional 13 percent in pilot wages the first year, 3 percent the second year, and then 2 percent for the following year.

As with any business, airlines that don’t take increased profits for granted will fare the best. Should prices on fuel dramatically increase, having more flights and newer planes could be more of a burden than a benefit. With crude oil prices dropping over the past four years, and dramatic drops in the last year, it’s only natural to think prices will rise again at some point.

A Look at Aerospace Manufacturing in Ontario

The aerospace manufacturing sector in Ontario brings in annual revenue of 5.3 billion dollars, which can largely be attributed to exports. In fact, 80% of that number accounts for satisfied global customers and buyers who rely on Ontario’s contributions to carry their supply chain from concept through to actual production.

Why Ontario?

The reasons are many and the Ontario Canada database does a great job of putting them in perspective.

Having an educated workforce that benefits from the presence of universities and programs that train students on cutting edge technologies like light weight composites and digital imaging helps. As does a competitive tax structure that helps keep manufacturing costs lower than any other G7 nation in the world.

The accelerators and incubators focused on the aviation industry foster a culture of inquisitiveness and excellence. The workforce is capable of custom creating parts to the most demanding specifications while concentrating on reducing greenhouse emissions and bringing down the fuel requirements per passenger.

Ontario is a hub of aggressive and collaborative research and development. From landing gear systems to satellite components to electronic systems and avionics, the 200 plus manufacturers serve and support all possible areas of the aviation industry with reliable, just in time products and services.

Ontario Manufacturers Making an Impact

The province boasts over 125 aerospace programs which help set Ontario apart as a leader in manufactured components. The sky is the limit and the coming decade will set the tone for the future of aerospace design.

Ranking high on the list of Ontario’s Top Aerospace Manufacturing Players, Shimco is known for our innovative solutions and proactive R&D projects.

With a track record of success, we excel at using high grade CNC machining and proprietary processes to add exceptional detail to our custom parts that are unrivalled in the industry.

We are proud to be considered a “high flyer” in Ontario, and continue to push ourselves toward further growth. To learn more about our company and how we fit into Ontario’s aerospace manufacturing landscape, feel free to visit us online.

New Materials Revolutionizing the Aerospace Sector

The development of new materials isn’t anything new in aviation. Early airplanes were cloth and wood, but over the years metals and other more advanced materials like carbon fiber have become commonplace. Manufacturers such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Embraer, along with organizations such as NASA, DARPA, and the Pentagon, are all investigating new materials for aircraft manufacturing.

New composite materials do bring certain challenges with them, particularly when it comes to building something as large as an airplane. One reason they have become so popular in the automotive process is because an assembly line for vehicles doesn’t need large parts, they just need parts quickly. Building an airplane doesn’t demand a rapid build but it does require parts that are enormous. These pieces currently require a lot of energy, and large ovens for manufacturing.

A new process being developed by engineers at MIT goes quite a ways towards addressing this problem. Using a carbon nanotube film, connected to a power source, the film can stimulate a composite to solidify. Currently, to build large aviation parts with composites, a major capital investment in the form of a large oven is necessary. This method would reduce the cost of composite parts.

Another challenge is the necessary material property requirements for aerospace. The automotive industry, where composite use is high, does not have the same strength, stiffness, or damage tolerance requirements as an airplane. Low-cost, continuous fibers are not useful for the contours needed, while short-fiber composites do not provide the mechanical properties although they can be molded as needed.

DARPA is looking into methods to control short-fiber orientation, while also developing processes to allow multiple parts to be made on a single machine. This would increase the mechanical properties of the composites, while reducing the capital equipment costs and labor needed to process parts.

Another hope is that composite materials can be developed to be more reliable than current materials, which would increase safety and reliability – two highly valued qualities when it comes to airframes. This could increase the longevity of airframes, reducing costs to customers.

At Shimco, we are constantly looking for new ways to contribute to advances in aerospace technology. At the recently concluded Paris Airshow, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Keronite, an advanced surface solutions company, to develop a new coating process for shims. This is a unique, patented process that “fuses” a coating onto the surface of metals. The method essentially takes the surface of an alloy and creates a hard ceramic coating to improve strength, durability, chemical stability, and overall performance. We’ll be applying it to titanium and aluminum shims using Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO). This is a cutting edge, green technology and the electrolyte used can be poured down the drain with no adverse environmental impact. We look forward to working with Keronite on this exciting solution.

To learn more about new aerospace technologies and our agreement with Keronite, please contact Shimco via email at info@shimco.com or by calling 1 (905) 471-6050.

Lean Manufacturing in the Aerospace Supply Chain

What is Lean Manufacturing?

The process of lean manufacturing is one that suppliers have to take seriously in order to meet consumer demands. Lean refers to all parts of the process, from design and manufacturing to delivery and support, according to a recent Boeing article. The processes in each of these areas are highly efficient in creating a product, doing so at the lowest price point possible for internal and external consumers.

Why is Being Lean Gaining Popularity?

Lean production is not a shiny new term, having been introduced about half a century ago in the auto industry by Toyota. However, the basis of it is now being applied to many other industries.

The heightened interest in lean manufacturing for suppliers boils down to staying competitive in changing times. It’s about winning new business, as well as creating and keeping jobs. Providing high-value services is important to consumers, too. There are additional considerations within the aerospace industry.

The Push for Lean Manufacturing in Aerospace

The push to be lean in the aerospace supply chain is very noticeable. Customers urge suppliers to reduce costs and improve lead times so they can have a step up on the lower cost countries that they compete against regularly.

Given that consumer pressure, suppliers are rethinking processes to improve efficiency and productivity while reducing pricing. What it all comes down to is improving the bottom line, as well as setting up the organization for continued growth.

Now the fundamentals of lean are being applied by Boeing, Commercial Airlines and many others in the aerospace industry. In 2014 alone, Boeing implemented up to $1.1 billion in cost-cutting measures suggested by suppliers. That obviously has a meaningful positive impact on their bottom line.

Shimco on Lean Manufacturing

Here at Shimco, we listen to consumer requests and understand the importance of lean processes. We are actually building a facility that will incorporate lean processes with the latest equipment and technology. By looking at established processes in new ways, the result will decrease waste, increase efficiency and, ultimately, lower costs for our clients.

Shimco prioritizes staying up to date on skills and tech upgrades to provide the best efficiency possible to our valued customers. The lean process is one we embrace, from design to development to delivery.

While change is not easy to adapt to, it is necessary for suppliers to continue to flourish in the aerospace supply chain. Effective change involves listening to consumers’ demands for lower prices, reviewing operations and incorporating the latest technologies, as well as a reduction of waste. We are listening and acting accordingly in these lean times.

A Review of What’s New in Space

Robots in Space

Shimco Supplied Parts for the Canadarm 303 Robotic Arm

It’s hard to browse the news headlines lately without some mention of upcoming missions to space. In particular, the Mars One Mission has been getting a lot of press attention. The idea is to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Beginning in 2026, crews of four are expected to depart every two years to Mars, following the first unmanned mission to the planet, which is to be launched in 2020. In the years to come, a demonstration mission, communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions are to be sent to Mars, which will aid in building a sustainable living environment for the astronauts who will eventually settle there. The mission represents a massive leap forward in our understanding of space, though there is still much to learn and accomplish before such an operation can safely take place.

Fortunately, many organizations are continuing to make strides in the study of astronautics. NASA is perhaps the most well-known, and for good reason. For decades, NASA has been at the forefront of space exploration and discovery. Shimco has supplied various products to NASA over the years, including custom washers that were used in the Canadarm 303 robotic arm, which traveled aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. Currently, it is on display at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters.

More recently, Shimco has been in talks with SpaceX to supply parts for their projects. SpaceX is another major contender in the aerospace sector. As the world’s fastest-growing provider of launching services, this company is certainly one to watch. Currently, the Dragon Spacecraft from SpaceX is providing regular cargo resupply services for NASA missions.

We look forward to seeing where each of these organizations will take us over the next few years and decades, and are proud to assist them in reaching their goals by providing them with precision manufactured parts. For a full review of our services and capabilities, please reach out to Shimco online or by calling +1 (905) 471-6050.

Striving to Keep Flying Above the Competition

Aerospace Industry Trends and Shows

Keeping up with the latest air shows

Shimco has been steadily thriving under the guidance of President and owner Peter Voss. It has carved out a comfortable niche for itself in commercial flight, defence, space and nuclear power industries by fitting into the role of the reliable manufacturer of metallic and non-metallic high-quality precision parts.

Over a period of 25 years, Shimco has undertaken and executed a large number of high volume projects on-time and with a negligible defect rate. From raw shim stock to shims and spacers, each product is crafted by an expert team and then subjected to stringent quality and compliance tests. With respect for tight deadlines, Shimco has revolutionized the way low-volume, rapid-turnover, high-precision production is executed.

In a bid to extend its influence and continuously evolve according to the latest industry standards and innovations, Shimco spends time and money attending top-of-the-line air shows hosted by communities and societies of import within its target market.

SHIMCO’S MAIN TRADE SHOW ITINERARY:

  • Farnborough and Paris Air Shows

The Farnborough, UK and Paris, France air shows are held in alternate years, and are the global premier annual air shows. These air shows garner phenomenal support from both aviation enthusiasts and professionals because of the broad selection of revolutionary flight technologies on display. It is an educational (as well as a family) event, and it brings to the general public the latest updates, discoveries and aviation inventions from around the world. An information and expertise smorgasbord, these air show are the perfect stage for Shimco and its quest to stay in the know.

  • Heli-Expo

The Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo is a large scale annual event that covers a myriad of agenda points. It not only offers educational courses to attending flight industry employees to equip them with necessary skills for management and maintenance, it also provides free safety and compliance training for the rotor or VTOL niche. Shimco’s regular attendance allows it to network with influencers and gain knowledge about an important division that uses its products.

  • Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA)

PNAA is especially geared to assist the Pacific Northwest aerospace industry in every way possible by building networking abilities, polishing skill-sets, allowing access to business opportunities and keeping ventures updated regarding emerging markets. Shimco relies on the PNAA to outpace the competition by leveraging education to boost company R&D and ROI.

  • Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) Shows (Americas, Europe, Asia)

Sponsored by Aviation Week, these shows are key stages for gathering business intelligence, test driving innovations and acquiring well-qualified leads. Shimco’s attendance to the Maintenance Repair Overhaul show enables it to network with the influencers within the maintenance, repair and overhaul industry – a market segment that requires precision machined parts and accounts for a growing part of Shimco’s business.

To know more about the product range and the riveting case studies of customer success, contact +1 (905) 471-6050 or email info@shimco.com.

Canada’s Growing Manufacturing Sector

Since our company was established over 25 years ago, we’ve been a well-known and reliable manufacturer of precision parts used in the aviation, defense, nuclear and a number of other industries. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, we’re proud to play a significant and important role in Canada’s manufacturing industry.

The Canadian government is working hard to promote and advance manufacturing in the country by creating a variety of programs, funds and initiatives. For example, Canada’s Economic Action Plan includes programs that are meant to support manufacturing jobs, technology, and innovation to advance the automotive, aerospace, defense, and construction industries, among others.

According to the Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), the rate of growth for the manufacturing industry is holding steadily, with exports climbing to their highest level in more than a year. For example, the PMI was 55.3 in November, signaling a period of growth in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the manufacturing sector is making a significant impact on Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with overall growth of 0.3 percent in October. This manufacturing surge and GDP growth are setting up Canada for strong fourth quarter growth.

At Shimco, we’re focused on improving the efficiency of our operations  and working to promote and advance the manufacturing sector in  Canada.  We are automating more of our processes and using recently implemented state-of-the-art enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to increase output. Our automation and ERP programs allow us to run our advanced manufacturing and business areas even more effectively and efficiently, including scheduling, production control, inventory control, internal reporting, metrics and much more. Furthermore, we attend various industry trade shows and events to promote the aerospace and defense industry in Canada. We’re extremely proud to be part of Canada’s growing manufacturing and industrial business.

Keeping Up With the Aerospace Industry

Airplane_silhouetteAt Shimco, we have over 25 years of experience working with the aerospace industry, providing them with solutions to their needs. As such, we are always staying connected to the industry, and informed about the latest news, topics, trends, and changes.

One of the best ways to do this, of course, is to attend aerospace industry conferences and trade shows. In general, trade shows provide an invaluable opportunity to connect with peers and customers while learning from them.

We recently attended the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) 2014 Conference, February 4-6, and it was a great success. 33 speakers and panelists combined with 455 attendees from all over North America and Europe.

We were there as part of the Ontario Aerospace Council’s booth, and we displayed our brochures and interacted with many people in the industry. There were many learning opportunities and presentations given by major aerospace OEMs, including Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, and more. It served as a great industry update.

Shortly after that we attended Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) HELI-EXPO 2014, February 24-27 in Anaheim, CA. There were over 19,000 attendees and 714 exhibitors, along with 42 aircrafts flown in for the event.

One of the focuses of the conference was the large backlog of Boeing and Airbus aircrafts, and the debate over whether the demand is real or if it’s actually a market bubble.  Other concerns were raised over the ability of the supply base in keeping up with this demand currently, while the major OEMs consider increasing production rates on certain model even more.  And a common element in many of the presentations was the push to more fuel efficient planes and engines, and even changes in interior plane designs, to meet global demand now and in the future.  But many of the OEMs and their suppliers are challenged by technical and regulatory hurdles as they try to bring new models or design changes to the market as quickly as they can.

There were plenty of interesting presentations at HELI-EXPO, with many of the presentations geared toward helicopter operators. We found the event to be both informative and useful; we had the opportunity to meet with companies such as Sikorsky, Airbus Helicopters and MD Helicopters, as well as with many tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers.

These two recent conferences were great ways for us to keep up with the aerospace industry and many of the people within it. We look forward to the next event!