The US is teetering on the brink of a possible recession due in large part to Covid and the Ukraine war which have created both inflation and staff shortages. In this environment, many companies are struggling as material and labor costs rise significantly. Boeing arguably has suffered the most in this difficult situation.
It’s been reported that the 777X cost will grow by $1.5 billion and the VC-25B aka the Presidential Aircraft will increase by +$660 million. Boeing DoD projects are also reporting higher costs e.g., the T-7A Red Hawk trainer jet +$367m and the KC-46A program +$165 million. Big numbers with an equally big impact on margins/ROI. But Boeing is not alone.
Equal Opportunity Hardship
The impact is being felt economy-wide in just about every sector so it is not confined to development projects or aerospace. Everyday components are rapidly increasing in cost and lead times are being stretched out as supply chain issues still work their way through the system. For example, the price of a branded cylinder kit rose from $2198 in January 2022 to $2769 in January 2023 – a 26% increase. You likely have your own examples.
There is some debate as to how much JIT and Lean Manufacturing contributed to this problem but it seems pretty clear that it did not help! Minimizing inventory and WIP creates issues quickly when industry gets hit with these major shocks cascading onto the system. At DTi we have suppliers who have extended their delivery lead times and require larger ordering quantities without the opportunity to draw down the delivery quantity over time. Even if the prices stay the same, costs go up which creates pressure on margins.
The Hunt for Savings
As a result of these price increases, most companies have begun hunting for savings while also looking at alternative suppliers in order to increase predictability and safety in their sourcing and manufacturing. The threshold for worthwhile savings has likely fallen as the need to claw back some margin has increased.
Savings with Spring-Fast ®
A few years ago, DTi published a report about how OEMs could save 49% of total install costs by switching just one small component. The example we gave was for Lockheed Martin – we estimated they could save $6.5M on the F-35A. The savings come from replacing all glued-in nylon grommets (MS21266) on their F-35As with Spring-Fast Grommet Edging (M22529/2). This level of savings is still possible.
The savings are significant because the nylon grommet requires a slow multi-step gluing process. However, Spring-Fast installs with just finger pressure, provides best-in-class grip & performance and is fully qualified as an FAA-approved replacement part, and already has NAVAIR approval.
The legacy MS21266 grommet needs a slow, costly, labor-intensive, and multi-step process.
- Multiple items for application and safety have to be gathered in the preparation phase.
- Edge preparation – abrasion and cleaning – is required for proper adhesion.
- MS21266 has no inherent retentive strength so has to be glued to the edge using Pliobond.
- Nylon's hardness & rigidity result in non-flexible conformance set onto panel edges/radii so fixturing is needed to hold it in place while the adhesive cures. See * below
- Excess adhesive after curing has to be cleaned with a MEK solvent, cloths, and elbow grease.
- Dis-bonding happens frequently and leads to rework – adding to the cost of poor quality.
- Temperature gradients & material differences in coefficients of expansion can cause nylon to detach from the application panel edge resulting in the risk of electrical system failure.
Why Spring-Fast M22529/2 Saves So Much
- It will save you at least 49% of your installation costs
- Fast and easy finger pressure application – it snaps into place without glue.
- Caterpillar-style opposing finger-like castles exert a compression force for retention without glue.
- Passed 20/20/20 G static load tests – even when 4 castles are removed for clearance on a support clip.
- Minimized FOD footprint- fewer shop consumables like gloves, cloths, adhesive, tape, solvent, and masks.
- Proven high performance with a polymer-coated ultra-thin CRES substrate.
- NAVAIR Qualified.
DTi has just applied for design approval for a PMA for Spring-Fast grommet edging which once approved will lower the barriers to adoption for OEMs so that they can take advantage of the best-in-class performance, 49% savings, and efficiency benefits.
Any OEM that is using glued-in nylon grommets to prevent wire chafe can realize install savings of at least 49% by switching to Spring-Fast.
Read more about Spring-Fast grommets here
* Article about the Problems Posed by Nylon Grommets in Manufacturing Assembly