Walt Leach, General Manager
In 2019, a study by AlixPartners reports this year as the highest annual growth rate of the decade for the top 100 A&D companies. The reverberation of profits rang through to suppliers who also cheered about revenue increases. AlixPartners attributed this to a few factors: higher production rates in commercial aircraft, heavy passenger and cargo traffic and, of course, the rising global defense budgets.
Amidst the good news about profits and growth, the study points to challenges looming over the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry such as restoring consumer trust regarding safety; fluctuating oil prices and slowing global trade; strengthening sustainability in the supply chain and adopting operating models; and investing in more environmentally-friendly propulsion and autonomous-flight technologies.
How do the challenges affect suppliers? The A&D industry is supported by the supply chain, which is the thread in the American fabric of manufacturing. For an experienced AOG expert like California-based R.A. Industries, it is business as usual to be steadfast, capable and reliable to provide end-to-end manufacturing solutions for the A&D industry.
R.A. Industries’ success is measured by the trust contractors have put in the company for working on projects vital to U.S. industries. From deep sea drilling equipment and nuclear energy field turbines to spacecraft, some of R.A. Industries parts can be found on the International Space Station, AIM-9 Sidewinder Missile, Mars Rover, C-130 and C-17 military transports, MD-80 and 737 commercial airliners, and A-10 Warthog, to name a few.
For over 40 years, R.A. Industries has remained on the manufacturing landscape in Southern California, producing complex machined parts and assemblies for the A&D and oil and gas industries. R. A. Industries’ proven track record of consistently delivering products has allowed the company to assist customers with long-term projects (up to 15 years) and help them overcome the inefficiencies caused by market fluctuations.
“Materials are an important dimension in the manufacturing process. For such projects as unmanned aircraft, the trend is to focus on the lighter and stronger alloys and composite materials. I would expect the same for spacecraft as well. We are prepared to meet our partners’ expectations for all applications,” said General Manager, Walt Leach.
The company also serves as a global repair station and off-site manufacturer of specific product lines to satisfy client demands rapidly. The refurbishment challenges caused by the irregular availability of raw material-dependent manufacturing services are offset by its extensive industry expertise of its skilled and trained employees.
“R.A. Industries is an important contributor to the A&D supply chain in U.S. manufacturing. In addition to operating as a reliable manufacturing solutions partner, we invest in the community, our employees, machinery and equipment. We have recently added two additional five-axis machines to the shop floor and a state-of-the-art five-axis CMM,” said Leach.
The US economy is steady in a period of remarkable expansion, marked by notable contributions from the manufacturing industry. Yet, a skill shortage threatens to impede the current growth in the US manufacturing industry. Nearly 69 percent of manufacturers have been unable to attract and retain skilled workers needed to fulfil the tasks required to maintain highly productive operations.
R.A. Industries is an important contributor to the A&D supply chain in U.S. manufacturing. In addition to operating as a reliable manufacturing solutions partner, we invest in the community, our employees, machinery and equipment. We have recently added two additional five-axis machines to the shop floor and a state-of-the-art five-axis CMM
To mitigate the skill shortage in its county, R. A. Industries supports and invests in Santa Ana College to encourage manufacturing education. The company supports the Veterans Resource Center to help students reach their goals. Local colleges need more programs with labs to combine prototyping training and small-scale manufacturing with the opportunity for individuals to earn college credits toward degrees or certifications.
The company has ignited a multitude of success stories across industries. One client wanted to resolve complications of manufacturing a specific part. Initially, the client wanted to use a jackscrew in an MD 90 series aircraft, but due to previous concerns with the component that caused a major accident, a majority of A&D manufacturers did not take up this project. Subsequently, the client approached R.A. Industries to manufacture the complex part. After analyzing every aspect of the original manufacturing process for the jackscrew, R. A. Industries reverse-engineered the product and ensured its timely delivery.
At the end of the collaboration, the client was able to keep an entire fleet of airplanes from being grounded, thereby saving a significant amount of money. “We reformulated the original manufacturing process for the jackscrew and made it agreeable to modern technology to deliver a high-quality part within a committed timeframe and pricing structure,” said Leach.
Leach reiterates the company’s goal, “R.A. Industries is one of the strongest threads in the American fabric of manufacturing. We will continually grow in capacity with skilled talent and remain at the cutting edge of technology to help our clients achieve their business vision.”