Barron Industries Engineer participates in Michigan Women in Aerospace Event
Oxford, MI – As a process engineer at Barron Industries, Kaylee Konwinski is working on the design and production of a precision metal component for the F18 fighter jet. The aluminum part, called a pressure deck casting, covers the jet’s controls below the windshield. Konwinski displayed the part at a recent Women of Aerospace Event sponsored by the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan and FIRST in Michigan.
“It’s one of my most exciting projects because it has extremely thin walls that makes it a little bit harder to shape, and because it’s an aerospace part, it needs to be stronger than your average part”, she explained during the virtual presentation attended by hundreds of students, parents and representatives of Michigan’s aerospace industry.
Konwinski participated in the Manufacturing Process & Design panel which was moderated by Ashlie B. Flegel of the NASA Glenn Research Center. Other panelists included Fiona Turett, a flight director at the NASA Johnson Space Center, as well as students involved in Michigan FIRST Robotics teams.
Konwinski told the group she regrets not taking a shop class in high school. “I was one of those people who thought that shop classes were easy and what you took if you didn’t want to learn too much”, she said. “But if I could go back I’d take a metal class or wood shop class because now I know that I can use them in what I’m doing now at work and in real life.”
Konwinski first became interested in the metal casting industry after watching a pour at the foundry on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University.
“I thought it looked really cool and pretty so I started going to the open pour days… and I was hooked”, she said. “I joined the American Foundry Society and got a job at the foundry and learned the science involved in the foundry process including everything from the materials used in the melting process and how they affect the corrosion resistance, strength and ductility of the cast alloys”
Konwinski joined the Barron Industries team after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree. As a process engineer, she develops and manages the manufacturing launch of products from design to First Article Inspection. One of her primary responsibilities is to work directly with the customer to understand their specifications and requirements and make sure they are incorporated into the manufacturing Control Plan.
Konwinski says the best part of the job is problem solving and bringing together all the project pieces like a puzzle. “What works one day might just go up in smoke the next – literally because it’s a foundry”, she said.
But the foundry operation is just one piece in Barron’s turnkey manufacturing process that includes everything from design for manufacturing to CNC machining, testing, custom packaging and shipping. Not only does Barron pour just about any ferrous and non-ferrous metal, but the company also manufactures complete assemblies with NADCAP certified in-house welding, testing labs, additive manufacturing and the most advanced 5-axis CNC machining centers.
“I’m getting a lot of exposure to the industry side of things,” said Konwinski. As a process engineer, I’m out directly on the floor and seeing exactly how things are made and the issues that arise… as well as exposure to other industries. We also manufacture military, automotive and nuclear parts, and I’m involved with those customers as well, seeing how things work on their end.”
“Kaylee regularly engages with our customers’ engineering, quality and supply chain departments as part of the program launch team,” said President and CEO Bruce Barron. “She adapted quickly to developing manufacturing process plans in accordance with our AS9100 and NADCAP aerospace quality certifications.”
Barron Industries is among nearly 1,000 Michigan companies supporting the global aerospace industry. “We are pleased to have teamed up with FIRST in Michigan to offer this free event for students and families across Michigan to help get them excited about the aerospace industry.” said Tony Vernaci, AIAM Founder and President. “Michigan’s aerospace industry is full of opportunity and I’m hopeful this event will showcase what Michigan has to offer for young people wishing to enter the field.”
About Barron Industries
Barron Industries is a global manufacturer and supplier of precision castings, machined components and complete assemblies. Our in-house services include design for manufacturing, rapid prototyping and CNC machining with the latest 5 axis technology.
From prototype to full production, Barron provides leading-edge technical expertise for the manufacture of complex components for our many of our OEM and Tier 1 partners. Barron’s rapid prototyping capabilities incorporate cutting- edge additive manufacturing techniques to produce castings with higher dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties. Without the added expense and time of hard tooling, we can deliver precision machined castings in less than half the industry-standard lead times.