Manufacturing highly complex technical hardware for the defense industry presents some unique challenges for a manufacturing facility. The applications we work on as a company are often mission critical and cannot fail, else the mission fails. Our processes therefore must be controlled in a manner that supports the mission critical mindset. We design and manufacture products with the sober understanding that we are “equipping those who defend freedom.”

Because our culture is driven to provide the best, most reliable hardware possible, we are constantly seeking the opportunity to improve. We recognize operational performance is an important part of how we function as a company. Moog has been established as a top performing supplier for the missile fin control systems produced at our Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah operation. The team in SLC focuses on operational excellence as a key component to maintaining this status. Operational excellence includes many elements but the keys are a quality first approach and striving for true continuous improvement.

The SLC team utilizes many tools to drive operational performance. The simple focus on good communication amongst the personnel is an important fundamental to build on all other improvements. The team meets daily to address current production needs and raise opportunities for improvement. Process improvement can come in many forms but sometimes advanced manufacturing technology can provide the best solution to a problem. For example, using smart connected torque wrenches can help an operator torque fasteners to the correct value and also record that value for a historical record. Management and employees using lean thinking with technology gives us the best means to implement impactful change.

Moog SLC has been on a successful lean journey for years. The lean process improvement approach along with our mission of equipping those who defend freedom has developed into a powerful culture. The factory in SLC is seen as a manufacturing leader within Moog. Our customers recognize this operation as an example of how to manage a facility that meets their needs. As  Moog continues to evolve from components to systems that are ever more complex, we see the SLC facility as the primary place to produce those systems.

Moog is in the early stages of launching the manufacturing system for the Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP®) into the SLC facility. The team is well prepared to manage the assembly and test of this complex turret system. Lessons learned and continuous improvement of our successful missile fin control systems production will aid our ramp up time for the RIwP. They are applying the same culture of lean and mission focus to this new product line while keeping an eye on improvements.

The team is looking for opportunities for using factory simulation software tools, automation, machine learning and even additive manufacturing to help make this new production line even more efficient. We believe these improvements will help facilitate better quality, delivery, and efficiency.

The secret for Moog’s success is simple: when producing highly complex robust defense hardware, we understand and appreciate where our products go. Our ultimate customer is the war fighter defending our freedom; we cannot and will not let them down.