NBAA Convention News

Duncan Ramps Up Mx Capabilities

 - October 7, 2021, 5:50 PM
Fabrication specialist Tyler Steinberger works on the HAAS VF6 3-axis CNC machine in Duncan Aviation's new Duncan Manufacturing Solutions division. (Photo: Duncan Aviation)

Duncan Aviation (Booth 2401) is strengthening its AOG services and expanding its parts manufacturing and engine services capabilities in response to demand and to organically grow its business.

A streamlining of the Lincoln, Nebraska-based MRO provider’s internal communication and synchronization efforts has led it to issue an “AOG Promise.” It means that an AOG customer will hear from a Duncan rapid response team (RRT) member by phone to acknowledge a request within 30 minutes. Within an hour, the company will follow up with labor availability and logistic planning. And within 24 hours, Duncan will be at the customer’s location, pending agreements and approvals.

The company's AOG services are provided by more than 175 airframe, engine, and avionics technicians at 30 satellite stations, 18 engine RRT launch sites, and three MRO airframe RRT teams. They operate from a fleet of 26 AOG vehicles.

The company launched its latest mobile engine RRT site in September in Charlotte, North Carolina, to service operators in the southeast Atlantic region who need engine AOG, including engine changes.

In addition to optimizing its AOG support, Duncan has expanded its parts manufacturing and fabrication areas to create a division called Duncan Manufacturing Services (DMS) at its Lincoln headquarters. DMS will continue to manufacture parts internally as well as for customers and aviation systems and aircraft OEMs, but it also seeks to provide those services to other industries.

As part of that effort, Duncan invested $4 million in new equipment and a 21,000-sq-ft facility for DMS that’s next to its turbine engine overhaul shop. The equipment includes a five-axis machine for the milling of complex parts; a laser engraver; two heat treating ovens for aluminum, stainless steel, tool steel, and titanium; and a water jet cutting machine that expands DMS’ ability to fabricate sheet metal parts.

DMS has also added a positive airflow composite shop that is equipped to handle prepreg composite repairs and manufacturing. The shop features a 1,150-sq-ft clean room and a 12-by-24-foot paint booth with a mixing room. Also included is an ASC AutoClave, which has a six-by-15-foot working envelope for the curing of carbon fiber, Kevlar, and fiberglass.

For quality inspection of parts, DMS installed a Hexagon Absolute seven-axis arm tool that can be used for precision measuring, first-article inspections, and reverse engineering in conjunction with the division’s RS6 laser scanner. DMS is also working toward AS9100D certification and National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program accreditation, which will enable the division to compete for government contract and parts manufacturing support work.

“The expansion is exciting, and our ability to create complex geometries with tight tolerances is impressive,” said DMS manager Scott Stenka, “but it really is an extension of work we have performed for nearly 38 years through our FAA PMA authorization.”

Meanwhile, the company is also seeing more growth in engine services. Since 2015, Duncan’s turbine engine services operation has received Honeywell TFE731 heavy and HTF7000-series minor authorizations and brought a 20,000-pound-thrust-class test cell online.

As a result of adding services for these larger engines, the company has expanded its capabilities and space to support them. It has increased its engine washroom to 592 sq ft and added an overhead crane with baskets to improve the efficiency and speed of cleaning and moving engine parts. It has also added large wash sinks that make it possible for more parts to be cleaned simultaneously. The larger sinks also allow parts to soak and be penetrated more deeply by solvent. Before, parts had to be washed by hand with solvent and a brush.

Duncan has also added a large-capacity media blaster to treat bypass duct corrosion on the HTF7000, which provides for quick and complete removal of any corrosion and preps surfaces for the application of a corrosion-prevention coating. Lastly, Duncan has added a paint booth with a mixing room and an HVAC unit to maintain humidity and temperature. Between the larger media blaster and paint facilities, the HTF7000 bypass duct repair and repaint service bulletin can be completed in-house.

Engine overhaul services manager Scott Stoki said all of the enhanced engine services capabilities have improved his shop’s efficiencies. “We have always been able to successfully perform all aspects of the core zone inspection (CZI) heavy maintenance process since receiving the authorization,” Stoki said. “We are now making the best use of our time and space by supporting the CZI process completely within our shop and do not have to move certain critical parts through other areas of the company.”

This activity happened at the same time that Duncan’s engine services saw a 53 percent growth in scheduled events in 2020, a trend that Stoki said he expects to continue.