Business View Magazine Dec-Jan 2018/19

48 49 AIMAEROSPACE space,who described the evolution of the companyasa leader incompositecomponent manufacturingandtheexcitingrole technology will playinthe futureof the industry.The follow- ing isaneditedtranscriptof that conversation. BVM: Congratulations on your one-year anniversarywithAIMAerospace,Daniele.Can you share the backstoryof the company? Cagnatel: “AIMAerospace is the storyof threemanufacturing sites,within about 15 miles of each other,here inWashington State. For the past 30 years,these sites have been making environmental control systems,basi- callymade of glass fiber and Kevlar ducting, that distributes air within the aircraft.It’s a large volume of parts,a high level of customi- zation,and very stronglyhand-labor driven.We have also donewell with high-value interior structures such as galleys,crewrests and lav- atories. Thesearesimilar tohigh-grade furniture manufacturing,butwithall the intricaciesof aerospacequalifications,formability,anddesign.” “The companyhas grown strongwith Boeing and the 787Dreamliner.Over 23 years, AIMAerospacemanufactured all of the 787 environmental control systemducting,from the center box (thewing of the aircraft),all theway to the cabin (the nose); about 25,000 parts everymonth.In aerospace terms,that is veryhigh volume. “In 2016,LibertyHall Capital Partners,a private equityfirmand lead investor inAIM Aerospace,started asking,‘Howdowe grow this company,in viewof newtechnologyparts along with big cost pressure?’It’s not enough to just sit on your laurels so,inMarch 2017,theyacquiredQuatro Composites to add on toAIMAerospace.Quatro has amanufacturing facility inOrange City,Iowa,and a research center with about 35 employees in California that has very strong ties to Boeing’s research center.” BVM: Howdid the acquisition of Quatro Composites benefitAIMAerospace? Cagnatel: “Quatro brings a completelydifferent kind of capability.Theydeveloped a newtype of carbon fiber technology forAIMAerospace called thermo- plastics using a unique process,trademarkedQFORGE. Theyworkwith carbon fiber components which are more solid,stronger,and higher tech primaryand sec- ondary structural components.If they fail,the aircraft fails.Theyalsoworkon unmanned aerial vehicles; fuselages andwings for large commercial andmilitary vehicles (aircrafts with 15 to 18-foot wing spans). “One of the key reasons whyQFORGE is so import- ant is that it’s a fully-automated system,whereas the workwe do inWashington State is very labor intensive. The systemalso incorporates the latest technology called‘Industry4.0’.This technologyhas taken a strong foothold in Europe and has nowbecome the buzz word inAmerica as well.Industry4.0 is about connec- AT A GLANCE AIM AEROSPACE WHAT: Designs and manufactures components for the aerospace industry WHERE: Renton, Washington WEBSITE: