For KIHOMAC, solving unique problems is all in a day’s work.
Several years ago, the Air Force had a problem that needed fixing. The aging A-10 jet had pylons that were in desperate need of refurbishment and repair. The problem was so bad that the wing pylons were coded as throwaway to be scrapped. Replacing these pylons would be a huge expense and very time-consuming for the Air Force. But when the problem was presented to the innovative engineers and technicians at KIHOMAC in Layton, they had a different idea.
With many years of experience on legacy Air Force weapon systems, and an innovative spirit, the KIHOMAC team went to work and developed a solution that completely solved the material cracking and snapping issues and preserved the original pylon. In addition, their re-design provided an interchangeable configuration that would allow fuel tanks to be swapped to smart weapons without pylon removal. It was a solution that not only saved money, but provided the A-10 new capabilities. For the employees at the Layton KIHOMAC facility, solving complex problems like this is all in a day’s work.
Founded in 2003, KIHOMAC began with just a few employees working to solve complex engineering problems for the aerospace and defense community. KIHOMAC now has over 250 employees across 8 different facilities and is growing strong. Their largest manufacturing facility is in Layton, Utah, a new building which they completed in 2016.
Recently, UAMMI caught up with Matt Majewski, Vice President of KIHOMAC’s Aerospace Engineering Group in Layton, and asked him to share more about the company and the future of their Utah offices.
Tell us more about what KIHOMAC does, specifically at the Utah location.
KIHOMAC is a veteran-owned, small business specializing in aerospace and defense system design, reverse engineering, development and manufacturing of complex systems, components and integration. The company’s core competencies include System and Software Engineering, Sustainment Engineering, Reverse Engineering/Prototyping/Manufacturing, Measurement Science, Field Tech Support, and Acquisition and Sustainment Program Support.
From our inception, we have been dedicated to providing our clients timely, responsive, and affordable solutions to address their most challenging needs. We believe enabling our customers’ success is our core mission and foundation to continued growth.
In a nutshell, KIHOMAC solves complex engineering problems and in doing so, supports the aerospace and defense community. Since our founding in 2003, KIHOMAC has established an outstanding track record of support for the requirements of our US Government customers, as evidenced by our portfolio of “Exceptional” ratings in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System.
Now, with over 150 employees, we have expanded into systems engineering services, reverse manufacturing and custom fabrication, engineering analyses, and sustainment solutions for aerospace vehicles. We are also entering more commercial markets to diversify our portfolio of services and products.
Our facility in Layton, Utah houses KIHOMAC’s largest manufacturing facility, supports Hill Air Force Base on a multitude of programs, and runs various sustainment, development, and engineering programs out of the Systems Division. Our manufacturing in Utah includes both composite and metal structures and assemblies as well as system integration work on the OC-135 Open Skies Aircraft.
When did the Utah branch open and how did it get started?
The first KIHOMAC facility in Utah opened in 2005 in Layton. However, with very successful programs over the next decade, KIHOMAC quickly outgrew the facility and had to expand several times.
The first expansion came in order to meet the demand of the MISTR (Management of Items Subject to Repair) work for Hill Air Force Base. KIHOMAC then opened offices in Roy for the Systems Integration Group and moved their production into a larger facility on Marshall Way. Following the purchase of TCB Composites in West Haven, KIHOMAC ran out of manufacturing space again and began work on a new facility to house all the branches of their business. In 2016, they opened a new 130,000 square foot facility on Fairfield road in North Layton. This new complex consolidated the Roy, West Haven, and old Layton offices into one new facility.
What makes KIHOMAC’s services in the Layton facility unique?
KIHOMAC’s niche is in taking on complex engineering challenges and providing innovative integrated solutions that exceeds our customers’ expectations. For example, our system integration efforts on the OC-135 Open Skies aircraft include replacing antiquated wet film photographic equipment on these treaty aircraft with state of the art digital technology and ground stations.
On another program, the A-10 Universal Rudder, we have developed a process to bond honeycomb core, fiberglass skins, and aluminum spars in a single autoclave cure. Previous attempts by other composite companies resulted in failure and they were unable to perform the process in less than three cure cycles.
What are the biggest challenges for your KIHOMAC Layton office right now?
After many years of rapid growth, KIHOMAC needs to continue expanding and is increasingly competing for much larger workloads and projects requiring new partnerships and teaming efforts. In addition, composites manufacturing and advanced materials work in Utah is growing rapidly and KIHOMAC is sometimes challenged with finding qualified technicians and engineers with deep knowledge of and experience in composites.
What excites you about the future of the KIHOMAC here in Utah?
The entrepreneurial spirit at KIHOMAC is strong and there is strong desire to support our customers, warfighters, and defense community through innovation and continuous improvement. Our leadership team understands the need for flexibility, reinvestment in the company, and adjustment to market demands/signals.
In January of 2018, KIHOMAC launched the KIHOMAC Production System (KPS). The implementation of this system is one of many overarching process improvement efforts that will enable the manufacturing organization to increase throughput while maintaining focus on on-time delivery of quality product to our customers.
KIHOMAC is also preparing to obtain NADCAP certification in composites in 2018. NADCAP certification will allow us to participate in commercial aerospace opportunities requiring the highest levels of quality and precision.
KIHOMAC has recently launched a new joint venture, Hauk LLC, and has started production on the new Signal Transparent Skylight (STS) Roof Panel (www.hauktechology.com).
Other changes and additions planned for KIHOMAC’s Utah facility include a new RF test lab, construction of a much larger Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), and a re-designed high bay that can accommodate a large number of cubicles for Air Force customers needing off-site space for various programs.
We are not afraid of challenges and look forward to developing new technologies that will exceed our customers’ expectations. We may look like a different company in 5 years, but that is part of our incredible journey.
For more information, visit: www.Kihomac.com