David Norman started his career as a product engineer at Moog after receiving his engineering degree. When he first worked at Moog, he returned to school, obtained a bachelor's degree in systems engineering, and was able to apply these new skillsasadesign engineer at Moog. Daviduses his knowledge and experience to climb the corporate ladder while working in the aerospace industry.He is currently responsible for all aspects of the aircraft group’s product life cycle management, including value flow in design, construction and delivery,and procurement processes.
In your opinion, how has the defense manufacturing landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological advancement?
We have seen some very rapid integration of increased automation and the use of data through connected systems that lead us to new knowledge and reduce errors, time and cost. And it also allows us to bring new knowledge to the entire product lifecycle. It’s not just about manufacturing or even the development process. It’s really about how our products are performing in the field. And we were able to translate that knowledge back to lessons learned and improvements to our future product developments. At the same time, we have also introduced automation to help our skilled technicians in areas outside machining, including regions like inspection and product tests.
We have also invested in developing standards and processes related to additive manufacturing, allowing us to extend its use into safety and mission-critical components. And it just helps us solve customer problems. The additive manufacturer, bearings, manufacturing is a tool, and we needed to refine that tool for use in our aerospace markets. And it boils down to having the right tool for the right job. So we are way past just doing demonstrations. We are now using these standards and processes to develop products for use in the market.
What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the defense manufacturing landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
The biggest challenge we see in front of us very soon is the shortage of skilled labor. Being a defense manufacturing company, we have seen many folks who are the backbone of our organization, the backbone of our manufacturing teams, the experienced technicians, and machinists. Many of these folks who we have homegrown into craftsman are getting ready to exit their aerospace careers.