Marshall Hagen, Sales and Business Development Manager
Janicki Industries has come a long way since its inception. The privately-owned, full-service engineering and manufacturing company is a specialist in composite parts, tool design and fabrication, and large-envelope precision CNC Machining. Founded by Peter and Susan Janicki back in 1993, the company introduced its first innovation of offering machined composites to the marine manufacturing industry. Peter Janicki’s NC machined marine molds were significantly less expensive and faster to produce than the hand forming techniques used at the time. As the company’s customer base grew over the years, more Janicki-designed 5-axis CNC Machines were built to keep up with that demand, in an organic growth resulting from years of manufacturing large and complex tools for the composites industry.
In 2008, Janicki Industries was asked to help machine large composite skins for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, a program that was just starting into LRIP. Within two years, Janicki Industries invested in a stand-alone facility in Layton, Utah, to act as its ‘Machining Services’ division.
Today, Janicki Industries Utah has four large Janicki-built 5-axis machining centers and another 5-axis Zimmerman FZ40 unit retrofitted with Janicki controls and software. With around 120 employees, including 30 degreed engineers, Janicki Industries Utah specializes in the largest and most complex machined composite and aluminum parts, servicing the defense, commercial aerospace, space exploration, and other emerging market customers. “Janicki Industries’s engineering team is focusing on the future of complex machining and factory automation, with an emphasis on process control and Information of Things (IOT)–our goal is to continue to be a world-class machining services supplier, leveraging next-generation technologies to offer unrivalled value,” says Marshall Hagen, the Sales & Business Development Manager at Janicki Industries Utah.
Focused on the Advanced Materials and Composite Parts
When it comes to the CNC Machining space today, companies face two major challenges: cost and complexity. As new competitors enter the market to take on established players, cost challenges influence Billions of dollars in private market spending, from commercial airlines to private launch companies. Further, complexity is driven primarily from the growth in advanced computer-aided manufacturing and drive to reduce weight (tangentially related to costs). For example, space launch aluminum structures previously built with multiple parts are now being designed as monolithic pieces that require advanced forming and machining. Janicki Industries is sensitive to these cost demands and offers a unique engineering approach to machining.
Over the past six years, its track record showcases some of the largest and most complex structures built across any industry.
Being focused on the advanced materials and composite parts markets, Janicki Industries as a whole continues to design and build large Invar, carbon-fiber, and other metallic tooling systems for composite parts producers. “As these structures become larger and more complex, our in-house designed and built 5-axis machines are used to both machine the highly accurate tools, but also the parts that come off those tools,” mentions Hagen. With today’s composite structures sometimes exceeding 100 feet in length, Janicki Industries’ large machining envelopes are positioned to offer a rare vertically integrated value stream to produce advanced composite parts. In addition to the large 5-axis machines in Utah, Janicki’s primary manufacturing campus in Sedro Woolley, Washington has 6 large Janicki 5-axis machines, the two largest with envelopes of 100 ft x 20 ft x 8 ft. Leveraging the engineering and automation resources across both sites allows Janicki to continue to build new capabilities into their production processes.
One-Stop-Shop for High-Precision Parts and Tooling
Since Janicki Industries is vertically integrated to support the design/build of large tools and machining services, there have been countless projects where the company provided customers with concurrent design/build of tooling while NC Programming is being worked, all under one roof. “Concurrent scheduling and being in control over all aspects of the start-up on development work is a huge value-adder to our customer base, and one that we continue to leverage over the competition,” states Hagen. In addition to concurrent manufacturing, Janicki often utilizes their diverse group of internal resources to engineer unique solutions for Customers’ biggest challenges. For instance, Janicki Industries helped a customer build a part made out of multiple co-cured composite structures. The engineering requirements for many machined features referenced back to as-built surfaces, so programming to the digital model was not a viable solution. Janicki Industries’ automation team developed a new scanning routine that leveraged the company’s extensive use of Leica laser equipment to build a real-time map of multiple as-built surfaces and compensated the machine paths to meet the complex engineering requirements. This automated scan/machine routine allowed Janicki to successfully produce these structures consistently, from unit to unit, with low risk.
By helping many such clients with its focus on technology and automated controls, Janicki has been leading the charge in large-scale 5-axis machining. From the in-house built machines that offer unparalleled precision over large envelopes, to the advanced machining simulations, the company drives to guarantee part accuracy before cutting. Janicki Industries is always focused on improving their capabilities and approach to aerospace’s most challenging machining needs. “When a problem does arise, the team who designed the mill component or wrote the automation code works for us, and can be available right away to troubleshoot. No waiting for overseas help, or techs to fly in; we hold the keys to our own uptime,” comments Hagen.
The Future Holds Great Promise
Janicki Industries continually invests in its capital infrastructure and technologies. Recently they opened a new 90,000 square-foot composites manufacturing facility in Hamilton, WA. The facility opened with state-of-the-art non-destructive inspection equipment, new 5-axis CNC machines, and NADCAP-approved cleanroom space. In addition to the capital investments, Janicki Industries’ R&D lab is always pushing the boundaries on materials and manufacturing processes for composites. The company has partnered with resin manufacturers to blend proprietary tooling resin systems. These technology investments give Janicki Industries additional options to their customers that they can’t get anywhere else.
Since the Janicki Utah site opened in 2011 as the stand-alone ‘Machining Services’ division, there has been one major expansion in 2017 after rapid onboarding of projects doubled its headcount over an 18-month period. Today, the Utah business is on a much more comfortable course but is starting to feel the constraint of 10 years of continued growth. Its owners have signed a land-purchase agreement, and in 2022 Janicki Utah will be adding an additional 40,000 square feet of space to their existing 100,000 footprint. Additionally, a new Janicki-built machine will be constructed for commissioning in 2023, with a largemill envelope of 20ft x 20ft to accommodate the surge in large launch structures in the commercial space market.