Contract manufacturing: precision parts for aircraft
A citizen of Turkey, Özber and co-owner Doruk Engin bought the 40,000-square-foot, FAA-approved facility from a friend in Switzerland whose aerospace company had moved. "I came over here and loved it," says Özber. "I decided to buy the land, the facility, and all of the assets inside."
From those pieces, he crafted a new startup: Kings Peak Manufacturing. The company first earned ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifications, then started working to build a customer base in aerospace and defense. The initial jobs came on the commercial side with parts for Boeing aircraft, but the ITAR-registered company has seen military work steadily increase to about 60 percent of total sales.
The company now specializes in components for landing gear and flight control systems. "We're strictly a Mori Seiki multitasking machine shop," says Wise. "We're experts at multitasking and precision machining. We can hold tolerances of 10 millionths of an inch."
Superalloys are another forte, he adds, as the company works with "titanium, Inconel, Hastelloy, all the stainless steels, and anything down to brass. We can do a variety of materials and our average expertise in the shop is over 20 years of experience in aerospace, from our machinists right on through to our management."
He adds, "We're also very adept at EDM -- electrical discharge machining -- and we're Nadcap-certified in that."
Looking ahead, Özber says he sees additive manufacturing as the catalyst to Kings Peak Manufacturing's future growth. As the primes redesign parts for additive manufacturing, he plans to have the company ready to take on such work, and Kings Peak has already invested in additive technologies. "It will become a one-stop-shop of additive manufacturing and CNC for the aerospace industry," says Özber. "The plan for the future is to become a hybrid shop where we build the parts on 3D printers and some part numbers get finished on CNC machines."
As Kings Peak is currently utilizing about 20,000 square feet of its 40,000-square-foot facility, Özber sees the potential to fill that space and triple the staff to about 50 employees with the move into additive. "We believe additive manufacturing is the fourth revolution," says Özber. "All sorts of parts, especially in the engines of aircraft, will be reengineered for additive manufacturing."
While the company has already begun investing in additive capabilities, it's biding its time before pulling the trigger on the buildout. The timeline is tied to when the aerospace primes move into additive manufacturing and start looking for suppliers. "In Utah, as far as we know, other than prime companies, nobody else is investing in additive manufacturing yet," says Özber. "Sooner or later, it will pick up and we will start investing again."
Challenges: "For me, the prime challenge is just breaking down the door to get the prime customers looking at us," says Wise. "Breaking that door down is pretty tough."
Opportunities: As nearby Hill Air Force Base is a maintenance hub for the F-16 and F-35 fighter jets, Özber says that he sees vast potential for Kings Peak to support both aircraft. "We are already an approved supplier for the prime companies -- we all know their names -- but on the military side, it starts slowly," he says. "Military business is always like that. Slow, but in time, it grows."
He also cites an opportunity to be a first mover as an additive manufacturing partner on military aircraft projects.
Needs: "Employees," says Özber. "That's a good thing." He cites immediate needs for machinists and technicians to support both CNC operations and the move into additive manufacturing. For the latter, he says Weber State University in Ogden as well as Colorado School of Mines have launched additive manufacturing programs that help fill the talent pipeline.