Ascent Aerospace completes first item from its small tool focused factory

The small tool focused factories were created to minimize cost and lead time for small tools.

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Tooling aerospace company Ascent Aerospace (Santa Ana, CA, US) has completed the first item through its new small tool focused factories. The assembly jig shipped three days ahead of the four week lead time that is guaranteed for all tools going through two new, dedicated work cells at Ascent facilities in California and Michigan.

The small tool focused factories were created to minimize cost and lead time for “small” tools, which Ascent defines as up to 144” x 40” x 30” (365cm x 101cm x 76cm). It includes layup tooling, drill jigs, assembly tools and mill fixtures made of Invar, steel or aluminum (weldment or machined billet).

“The small tool focused factory is a dedicated value stream, instead of utilizing the various process-based departments,” said Mike Fox, plant manager at Coast Composites. “Tools going through the 8,000ft2, temperature-controlled focused factory are produced more efficiently, with lower overhead. Savings are passed along to the customer and short lead times are assured.” Ascent’s second focused factory is located at Odyssey Industries in Michigan.

Engineering, project management and design resources are shared, while an experienced team of dedicated professionals staff each small tool focused factory. Tolerances of +/- .005” on surface contour and hole position are within capability and expected to be typical of the new cell.