When the start-up job shop Jacob Grey opened its doors in Columbia, SC in 2012, the owner, Jake Brackett, had already set his sights on breaking into the aerospace market as a first tier supplier. While his company was cutting its teeth making tooling for a wide spectrum of companies in South Carolina, Brackett was working under the guidance of his Mastercam reseller to develop robust manufacturing processes capable of a much higher level of manufacturing complexity within his CAM software.
This preparation met its first major aerospace opportunity later in 2012, when Brackett met with a representative of a very large aircraft OEM and was given the opportunity to manufacture a number of small parts. That went so well that the local contact thought of Jacob Grey when an emergency arose that would cause the OEM to shut down a production operation unless a critical part was delivered over the weekend. The Jacob Grey team worked 48 hours straight to model the part in SolidWorks, analyze, create a program and work holding solution and transition directly into setup and manufacturing. This was all done in just 12 hours.
Two weeks later Brackett got a call from one of the OEM’s supplier analysts. They were impressed by his company’s crunch time performance. The OEM was willing to give Jacob Grey more business if it could meet stringent aerospace MBD (Model Based Definition) requirements. This took about six months and Jacob Grey was set up as a secondary EO (emergent offloading) supplier and given a three-year contract.
– We were off and running, Brackett said.
– Once you get inside the door, and you do a good job, OEMs will love you to death, Brackett said. Jacob Grey’s work volume began to increase steadily. So did the size, complexity and tolerances of what was being asked for. – Mastercam could do it, no problem, said Brackett, but the machines were limited. As a result, Brackett sold the shop’s basic CNC mill and lathe and began acquiring a series of high-end CNC systems including 3D and 4-axis mills, high speed mills, a 5-axis machining center, and a pallet loading horizontal machining center. Four years into its start-up phase, Jacob Grey was already knocking down walls and expanding into the next building.
In just five years the company has grown from three to ten employees and production output has grown more than 10-fold with two Mastercam programmers, so far, keeping up with a steadily increasing flow of work.
Jacob Grey is scrap averse and Mastercam is the backbone of our scrap-free manufacturing strategies. Our attitude is that we don’t want any. We check 100% of our parts. Even if it’s 200 pieces we check each of them completely. With that mind set, when a customer says that there is an issue, we are able to say, ‘no, you have to double-check.’ Our paperwork is right. Our process is right. All of our SOPs are right. That sets us above some of the other shops as far as performance.
Jake Brackett, Owner, Jacob Grey, Inc.