Since beginning work for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Cablecraft Motion Controls has saved the U.S. government more than $10 million including $2 million on the maintenance of the A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog).
These savings are a result of a government program known as Source Approval Request, or SAR. The program encourages potential manufacturers to submit proposals which include all of the Engineering Support Activity (ESA) required to produce an item that is equal to, or better than, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part. The goals of this program are to reduce price, correct delivery issues and/or address quality/reliability issues.
Reduce price: Single-source suppliers tend to increase price over time. By definition, these manufacturers have no competition; therefore, they aren’t subject to normal free-market checks and balances — and prices often rise as a result.
Delivery issues: Some suppliers are not meeting Government On Time Delivery (OTD) requirements. Delivery issues can place critical defense systems in jeopardy. In a monopoly situation, a given supplier may take the “where else will the government go?” approach and have a diminished sense of urgency for on-time deliveries.
Quality/reliability issues: In other situations, suppliers are not delivering consistent, high quality products. In these cases, the parts are not holding up over time. When this happens,
reverse engineering often can add enhancements to reduce or eliminate the root quality and/or reliability issues.
To reverse engineer these complex assemblies, a highly functional cross-functional team is required. Cablecraft’s design and manufacturing engineering, supply chain, quality, accounting and sales teams all work together to complete these SAR projects.
Samples are ordered, dimensions taken (Coordinate Measurement Machine, laser & manually) materials are analyzed for composition, destructive testing completed, drawings/3D models created, components identified, and component suppliers researched. For the a recent program, the Hanger-release, supply chain market test quoted and sourced 14 new components.
Once the design is finalized assembly tooling design is completed/ordered, the assembly process created, inspection methods identified and documented. It is a relatively straightforward process building products to print and the company does this for many clients. It is quite different to be handed a finished assembly and figure out how to manufacture it with no drawings, material specifications, manufacturing or assembly methods and no context as to the other connected components, assemblies or systems.
Cablecraft Motion Controls
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense, Design World articles