Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

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MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 90 CAD/CAM and new, but essential, machines. A similar pattern exists in how the Shaws have aggressively expanded the range of the compa- ny's manufacturing capabilities. From three- axis CNC vertical machining centers (VMCs) to multitasking machines with simultaneous five- axis milling, bar-fed lathes with live tooling and extensive lights-out operation, the manufacturing side of the busi- ness has moved steadily from one advanced process to another once it mastered each step on this growth path. Again, the key has been to play it safe, but always be ready to move to the next level as soon as possible. In fact, the theme of risk mitigation plays out in the most important aspects of running the aerospace manufacturing arm of Flying S. You can see it in the company's approach to programming CNC tool paths, managing cutting tools, designing workholding fixtures, hiring and training its programmers/machinists and other shopf loor functions. In many ways, Flying S's CAD/CAM capabilities are at the core of these efforts to manage risk while preparing for bold growth, so they deserve special attention. This strategy has paid off. A new building expan- sion in 2016 gave the team more room to grow and develop. Flying S now has more than 70 people in its workforce of designers, engineers and manufac- turing technicians. It has 26 CNC machines. The next is likely to be a Haas UMC 1000 palletized five-axis machining center, which will be one of the first of its kind installed in the U.S. market. Today, Flying S is able to fabricate a range of products, including carbon-fiber-composite aircraft wings, intricate molds and machined parts in aluminum and aerospace alloys. "Our goal is to take a project from the design concept to a finished, painted product entirely in our facility. That way, we can ensure quality and efficiency," Mr. Shaw says. For customers, he believes, choosing Flying S helps them minimize the risk in product develop- ment, prototyping and manufacturing. Cultivating Aerospace Competitiveness Flying S is located in Crawford County, just across the Indiana border in Illinois. Palestine, Illinois, (population 1,400) is 5 miles to the north. Vincennes, Indiana, is 20 miles south, but across the Wabash River, which forms the border between the states. From the outside, the 75,000 square-foot facility is rather plain; it is unadorned except for the 10-foot-wide company logo. Across the two-lane roadway, bordered by an BRAND LOYALTY All CNC machines at Flying S are from one builder. Here's why that has been helpful.

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