Ramón González
General Manager
Chandler Industries
/
View from the Top

Machining Company Diversifies and Grows

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 16:04

Q: What is Chandler Industries’ value proposition for the aerospace industry?

A: Chandler Industries consists of six different facilities manufacturing and developing parts for the aerospace, defense, medical and industrial markets. We operate under ISO 9001, ISO 13485 and AS 9100 regulations and specialize in machining and sheet metal. Chandler Industries has grown quickly, to US$64 million in 2014 from US$12 million in sales in 2009. The oil crisis of 2015 impacted our strategy so we are diversifying our business into aerospace. Our core competencies are precision machining, namely milling, turning, electrical discharge machining and precision sheet metal fabrication, which encompasses laser cutting, complex forming and Nadcap welding, as well as other integrated services, specifically heat treatment and nondestructive testing.

Chandler Industries works with Boeing, Honeywell, Eaton, Parker, Raytheon, Ducommun Incorporated, United Technologies, ITT Exelis, Bae Systems, Lockheed Martin and the US military for the aerospace industry. Our strategies include creating a facility-based customer service to establish lasting relationships with our clients. The company’s competitive advantages include our complete inventory, which we call our supermarket. This allows us to supply parts in only 24 hours. We are invested in implementing lean manufacturing and have skilled and prepared operators.

Q: What are the highlights of Chandler Industries’ new plant in Chihuahua?

A: This plant focuses on machining for the industrial and aerospace markets and began production in 2014 with 14 employees in an area of 31,000ft2. The plant is still growing and we expect to double our staff in a few months. In November 2015, the International Body Certification successfully audited us, registering Chandler Industries in the OASIS database, which includes all AS 9100 certified suppliers for easy access by OEMs. Our local capabilities include nine CNC multi-axis Vertical Machining Centers (VMC) and seven CNC Lathes with live tooling but we will soon receive three more lathes and will continue to adapt our machinery to our clients’ needs. We work with steel, aluminum, stainless steel, brass, nickel, titanium and super alloys, with tolerances of 0.0002in. Stainless steel dominates our operations but we want to focus on aluminum, which is a more solicited material in the aerospace industry. The plant can manufacture parts from scratch. Current clients for this plant include Zodiac Aerospace, Honeywell and Rosemount. Our facilities have a lot of room for expansion, 84 percent of the current floor space to be exact, and we will continue to expand at our clients’ request.

Q: How has Chandler Aerospace Chihuahua managed to grow so quickly in so little time despite expected hurdles?

A: One of the reasons we opened this plant in Chihuahua was the support of one of our main clients at the time, Emerson. However, due to problems faced by the oil and gas industry the predicted projects were reduced to 40 percent of the original plan. To be successful in the state we had to take advantage of our industrial expertise and invest in areas that were strongest locally, such as aerospace.

To enter the aerospace industry, we had to create a quality system. Starting with a single machining cell, new contracts led us to incorporate two more cells to develop 150 parts in-house, 99 percent of which were immediately approved by clients. We ended 2015 with three cells and a lathing process but by mid-2016 we will have expanded to 10 manufacturing cells. We hope to start 2017 with two more to fill 60 percent of our building’s capacity and close the year at 100 percent capacity.

Q: What strategies are you implementing to expand your operations in the state?

A: We are turbine suppliers for Zodiac Aerospace, Honeywell, Parker Aerospace and Emmerson. To develop our client base we are collaborating with the local cluster and participating in B2B events in Mexico City, Ciudad Juarez and Queretaro. We have encountered few problems acquiring raw materials for the industrial market but this is not the case for the aerospace industry, as the materials have to be certified. For that reason, we are importing all materials for aerospace production.