In 2003, Machine Specialties Inc. (MSI), a precision aerospace parts maker in Whitsett, North Carolina, just east of Greensboro, got its first order to produce landing gear. The process required 22 separate complex operations on 22 machines. It also took 18 months, start to finish.
Too many steps, too many chances for error, too much time, concluded Rob Simmons, the owner and chief executive. So, he booked a flight to Japan in search of a better way. For a small company with big aspirations, MSI was eager to seize growth opportunities in aviation and aerospace, moving its product line beyond parts for commercial manufacturing and medical devices, and embarking on the production of landing gear.
"What I saw in Japan amazed me," Simmons recalls. I ended up buying the first such machine tool in North America -- the MORI SEIKI NT4250 DCG. With that one machine, I could cut 22 operations down to two and reduce manufacturing time from 18 months to 6 months."
Excerpted from US Airways Magazine