Increasing production productivity and profitability

March 10, 2011— Cambridge, Ontario

Centra Industries Inc.

Established in 1974, Centra Industries Inc. provides advanced manufacturing solutions to the aerospace sector and specializes in producing integrated aerospace structures using advanced manufacturing capabilities. Centra prides itself on providing their services to global advanced aerospace technology markets, to such companies as Boeing, Spirit Aerospace, Bombardier, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Goodrich Landing Systems and Cessna Aircraft.

 Machining tooling kitted together for a CNC Machining cell in a more efficient and quality manner by using the new NRC-IRAP supported custom cutting tool management software

Machining tooling kitted together for a CNC Machining cell in a more efficient and quality manner by using the new NRC-IRAP supported custom cutting tool management software.

Discussions with NRC-IRAP

In 2009, Centra initiated discussions with Yves Richard an Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). Centra was researching ways to implement an information system that could capture critical process cutting tool data across all of the company’s “Computer Numerically Controlled” (CNC) machining manufacturing process cells. Capturing such comprehensive data on tool cutting performance and tool life, for example, could provide the necessary data to improve tool setup speed, accuracy and reduce processing variability. In turn, this would reduce part scrap, maximize tool life and increase machine utilization. Prior to meeting with Yves, Centra had reviewed and assessed third party software to meet these specific requirements but no adequate system was identified.

NRC-IRAP commits to supporting Centra’s project development

 Example of one custom tool being used inside a CNC Machining cell for a manufacturing operation for a commercial aircraft part

Example of one custom tool being used inside a CNC Machining cell for a manufacturing operation for a commercial aircraft part.

As Centra could not find a suitable third party software solution, they started to study the merits of developing a new and innovative software solution on their own. ITAs Yves Richard and Millan Yeung provided direct guidance and feedback on technical and business issues. This feedback assisted Centra in designing a project plan to develop the unique custom cutting tool data management system the company specifically required.

Centra’s custom software project exemplifies how small- and medium sized firms benefit by working directly with ITAs. Yves and Millan have industrial research experience and access to other industry experts, to help assess, define and develop valid industrial research projects. This collaborative assistance mitigates some of the key risks associated with a new proposed technical solution and enhances the project’s potential for commercial growth, revenue generation and other benefits.

A successful collaboration provides concrete results

The collaboration between NRC-IRAP and Centra proved to be very successful for Centra. Having completed the R&D phase and now putting the technology into production, Centra expects a significant increase in productivity, which will allow revenues to increase by $8M-$10M by freeing up capacity and, consequently, is expected to improve profitability by $1.6M-$2.0M over the next several years.

In addition, as Centra continues to roll-out this new custom software, employment levels will increase by 12 people, both in new technical hires (2 employees) and in operations (10 employees). Centra will continue to refine and exploit this software for further revenue enhancement or cost reduction opportunities.

The working relationship between NRC-IRAP and Centra is ongoing, and new strategic project ideas are being considered for a potential future NRC-IRAP project.

Enquiries: Media relations
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

NRC-IRAP
1-877-994-4727
publicinquiries.irap-pari@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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