Since 1965 Palmer Manufacturing Company has been supplying competencies that call for machining highly complex, close-tolerance parts and assemblies and now its expertise is sought after by some of the biggest companies in the world. Find out how PMC utilizes an array of manufacturing strategies to enhance its operations.
Palmer Manufacturing was founded in 1965 in the greater Boston area and in the last nearly 40 years in business has built a solid reputation as a company that machines highly complex, close-tolerance parts and assemblies with the highest degree of quality and delivery. The company’s beginnings in the aerospace/aircraft engine components field has evolved its core competency as a leading supplier for critical hardware and support.
The company is privately held, with the same ownership since its founding and has a 68,000 square foot facility with a strong engineering and quality background, offering concurrent engineering services and modern CNC equipment with the latest technology. PMC remains a premier aircraft engine component supporter and to help in its mission, the company, in addition to its stateside operation, has launched a joint venture with partner P&K in Tunis, Tunisia, a casting and machining facility.
PMC employs 190-plus highly skilled employees who work in R&D, production and in the cost-effective cellular manufacturing areas. Combined, they help to further PMC’s special process experience in the areas of welding (TIG, MIG), NDT, electrical discharge machining and critical hole drilling. PMC’s prowess at machining is born out in its customer base, which includes giants such as General Electric Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney, Volvo Aero, MTU Aero and Fiat Avio; Rolls-Royce Canada, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Varian Semiconductor, Analogic Corporation and Agilis Engines. PMC has also received contracts to supply the U.S. military.
Among its notable capabilities are the following:
• milling: 3,4 and 5-axis centers; multi-spindle/pallet, ranges up to 80 inches; six large CNC millers.
• special process: NDT (FPI), critical hole drilling, EDM, MIG/TIG weld, light assemblies.
• turning: ranges up to 67 inches, thin wall/exotic material capabilities, 15 small CNC, 12 medium CNC lathes and 16 large CNC lathes.
Core competencies include: manufacturing complex, rotating hardware utilizing multi-disciplined manufacturing processes; welding and fabricating capabilities; integration of cooling hole technologies, as well as the integration of a versatile range of 5-axis and high-speed machining.
Initiatives for growth
Recently the company launched several initiatives, including a 45,000-square-foot expansion program that featured myriad design improvements. It has realigned its strategic business plan and has invested $7 million in capital equipment in the last three years and also has fully integrated lean manufacturing processes.
New value-added services include a new large turning VTC vertical turning center, with a 67-inch swing and 12-position tool changer and a new YASDA YBM 1000 N 5-axis milling center with a work surface that has a 300-tool change capacity for an extended run-alone operation and increased turning capacity. Reacting to milling and EDM needs the company also has installed a Matsuura 1250V machine and a Fanuc wire EDM.
Quality systems include concurrent engineering, operator certification, SPC, vendor certification, inspection, CAB, QE review, audit programs. The company’s cellular approach to manufacturing establishes a group of components based on compatible design and shred machine utilization to be produced in a work cell on a monthly cycle to support customer demands. The impact of this has been lead time and set up reduction, cost of quality decline, a high rate of inventory turnover, elimination of non-value-added parts handling as well as an operator development program.
The PMC production system operates by pre-production scheduling of demos, cellularization, capacity planning, visual shop measurements, shop floor dispatch, pull system, just-in-time material planning – all of which results in a time-based approach to doing business.
Strategies for growth
The ISO 9002-certified company operates with five basic tenets, among these is an approach to doing business that focuses on compressing the time to plan and manufacture components; just-in-time production, the elimination of waste by systematic removal of safety nets until the process fails, fixing it in real time and repeating the waste elimination process. PMC also strives to harness the energy and knowledge of every employee, and utilizes value-added management within the manufacturing environment, through the principles of Kaizen and total quality management to focus on reliability and assure a quality product by continually improving the manufacturing and business process. PMC also incorporates Six Sigma and continuous improvement certified practices into its daily operations.
The PMC strategic plan involves win-win opportunities using the company’s core competencies, the latest technological manufacturing advances and internal capabilities, historical manufacturing knowledge and aircraft engine experiences. These are enhanced through PMC’s attributes, including concurrent engineering services, model shop and cellular manufacturing, welding and fabrications.
In the future, the company plans to focus its efforts on specific strategic goals; this effort features PMC’s willingness to support customer needs by applying product integration via the PMC core competency plan. The company will continue to drive costs down through lean manufacturing and new development programs. Equally important are PMC’s aims to demonstrate its ability to manufacture higher level assembly products, grow its military business 30 percent, leverage its business relationships through the utilization of other PMC businesses, such as P&K Tunisia and streamline the customer base through this business strategy.
All these objectives are incorporated into the PMC mission statement: “To provide value to customers by offering a quality program that continuously assesses and improves our products, processes and systems while providing our company with a vehicle to compete successfully in a global market.”