Relationships at the Heart of Manufacturing Move
Once again under the leadership of Ed Beaumont, fast-hole EDM supplier Beaumont Machine recently moved to a new facility. Relationships with customers, employees and the aerospace industry as a whole were cited as the reasons for this change.
“You’ve got to have mojo,” says Ed Beaumont, sitting across the table from me in a conference room at his new facility located in Batavia, Ohio. He was describing the reason for the recent location change of Beaumont Machine, a fast-hole EDM company he founded in 1992. After five years of semi-retirement, Mr. Beaumont is back at the helm as president. He made the business decision to move his company back again nearer to the technicians who helped him build it. “The power of the company is in the people making the machines,” he says.
Moving closer to employees is only part of the puzzle. The other part is his renewing the relationships he built as the company made a name for itself in a niche area of aerospace manufacturing – drilling specially shaped holes in engine vanes designed to diffuse airflow for greater transfer of heat. According to Mr. Beaumont, his machines hold the tight tolerances that the aerospace industry has come to expect and demand. (For instance, Beaumont’s FH30 features six-axis capability, a rotary table with accuracy ranging from 3 to 5 arcseconds and repeatability ranging to 0.0002".)
Of course, customer service makes a difference too. Mr. Beaumont says his company tries not to over-automate the machines. “We try to do turnkey equipment and prove it out here on the shop floor before we deliver a machine and sign off on it,” he says. The goal is to build a standard platform that can be serviced promptly anywhere in the world.
Poised for Progress
During my visit, Mr. Beaumont cited three trends in the aerospace industry that have contributed to his company’s recent success:
- Upswing in business cycle: Since the 2016 presidential election, he says the aerospace industry has been doing well, with manufacturers in production mode once more working 24/7. Data from Gardner Intelligence, the research arm of MMS publisher Gardner Business Media, supports this uptick in activity. As of mid-2018, our research suggested that the growth phase of the aerospace manufacturing business cycle was relatively young, justifying market optimism.
- New pricing model: Engine builders are moving to a relatively new business model in which they lease their engines. Because of this, they want the parts to last as long as possible. Mr. Beaumont says his company has reaped the benefits of this change. By getting back to the quality of the part, he says his customers are becoming more interested in his higher quality (and price point) machines versus less sophisticated machining options.
- Attention to engine performance: The gas-flow holes in engine components are increasingly recognized for their influence on the efficiency of the engine. Closed-loop control via Siemens CNCs on Beaumont machines is delivering greater capability to not only drill the hole precisely but also “EDM-mill” the diffuser form of its exit.
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