BNI has equally talented engineering and manufacturing teams collocated in a single campus. Manufacturing input is integrated into all designs from the conceptual phase on to ensure each component and assembly is economically manufacturable. A regimented process is followed to ensure that manufacturability is balanced with robustness to meet the most stringent customer requirements.
Design for Manufacturing
BNI worked with a key customer to design and build a compressor for use in an amphibious vehicle for the U.S. military. The compressor intakes air from the outside and pressurizes it to run through a series of filters to remove any nuclear, biological or chemical agents and provide clean air for the cabin crew. To ensure this machine was economical to build in production quantities, BNI worked with a casting vendor to design a complicated thin-walled Aluminum investment casting that integrated the compressor/motor housing with a compartment for the compressor control electronics. Combining what would normally be 4-5 separate components into a single piece greatly simplified the machine. This casting design won an award for innovation and provided this program with a cost-effective solution that met stringent program requirements.
ATT Design for Manufacturing
Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI) and the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) located at Pennsylvania State University applied Design for Manufacturability (DFM) principles to the U.S. Navy’s Anti-Torpedo Torpedo (ATT) development project. ATT is a defensive torpedo that will track, actively engage, and disable an offensive torpedo before it can damage or sink a ship. BNI and ARL initially began working together on the ATT’s advanced propulsion system and gearbox. Shortly thereafter, BNI proposed the entire torpedo design should be reviewed for manufacturability. The effort cut ATT production costs by 20 percent. The U.S. Navy is planning to manufacture the ATT for ten years and the additional funds spent on Design for Manufacturability will be fully recouped in the first year.