Sep 30, 2019

Aerospace Parts Maker Uses Clips, Latches to Re-use Boxes

Posted by: david_h


Manufacturing high-quality aluminium parts for the aerospace industry presents one set of challenges. But, shipping them safely presents a much different set.

Workers at Marysville, WA-based Northwest Metalcraft Inc. (NWM) know this all too well. Because aluminium is a soft metal, it is easily damaged. This is especially true when packing and boxing long, narrow and odd-shaped raw luminium parts for shipment to finishers.

NWM manufactures and sends two parts that differ in width by about 0.375 inch. The finishers, in turn, remove the parts and apply a primer coating to each one. This coating colour can vary, depending on which company gets the treated parts. Boeing, for example, gets parts treated with a green primer. Treated parts are then shipped back to NWM for further processing or packing.

NWM managers considered the packing and boxing process to be adequate, but they still had concerns about excessive part handling. For example, the average time it took for a worker to carefully package each odd-shaped part was one minute, significantly reducing production and increasing cost. This led the company to hire Anderson Paper to develop double-walled corrugated boxes and dividers that are sized to fit the larger part, and therefore, accommodate both. The boxes ensure better protection of parts that are worth thousands of dollars, while the dividers reduce the number of containers needed in the supply chain flow, and save time by making it easy and fool-proof to count parts in boxes or inventory.

30 ASSEMBLY / September 2019

Aerospace Box flap closure


 The box above show’s aluminium aerospace parts (with green primer) packed in plastic bags, ready for final shipment to Boeing. Photo courtesy Eco Latch Systems LLC

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