Northwest Aerospace News August | September Issue No. 4 | Page 53

PACIFIC NORTHWEST AEROSPACE ALLIANCE SPOTLIGHT T he company recognized that to thrive in the marketplace a new approach was needed, one that would transform their great foundation in Washington State into a world-class manufacturer of aerospace compo- nents. In 2017 they launched into this journey and grew significantly – in both their technology offerings and workforce – through the acquisition of Quatro Composites, with facilities based in California and Iowa. This enhanced the company’s offerings with the addition of complex com- posite structures and thermoplastics, including components and assemblies for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Insitu’s UAVs. In addition, Quatro’s facilities embraced the principles of Industry 4.0, with impressive levels of automation in their processes. These advanced technologies and processes are now being extended into all of AIM Aerospace’s sites as a key part of their strategy to position them for growth in the marketplace. At the leading edge of this technical transformation has been the introduc- tion of “cobots,” collaborative robots that work alongside humans, allowing for a safer environment for employ- ees and reducing cost of non-quality. AIM Aerospace’s application of Industry 4.0 doesn’t end with auto- mation, but also integrates processes and data, including the use of vision systems and intelligent automation in the manufacturing process, producing higher levels of quality. CEO Daniele Cagnatel comments, “By gathering live data during manufacture we are able to respond in real-time to process variations…this guarantees the quality of the product and hence improves our customer experience.” More Than The Sum of Two Parts AIM Aerospace’s recent successes would not have been possible without their advanced approach to merging with Quatro. Unlike many mergers, where the newly acquired company gradually falls in line with the exiting company, AIM Aerospace chose to create a new company with a new leadership style, new vision and values, and new branding – taking the best qualities of the differ- ent businesses and transforming them to create something even better. This approach to integration, “Enabled us to optimize the cultural value of the existing companies, rather than only focusing on the technical value,” says Cagnatel. The whole workforce was engaged in the process, with the leadership team openly discussing what the new company would look like, why it would be good for employees, customers and shareholders, and what the dream and vision for the future would be. This vision included the adoption and integration of technol- ogies from Quatro’s sites in California and Iowa into the Renton and Sumner facilities, modernizing the workplace and setting up AIM Aerospace for growth in Washington State. AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2018 ISSUE NO. 4 53