sorts of items that they need as they’re
developing parts.” The amount of work
has been growing, not only from that
particular supplier but from a growing
range of other customers as well.
“We have a lot of people come in
and ask for one-offs–in all the main
industries that we serve,” Zurbrigg
says, “but automotive and aerospace
are probably the main sectors where we
do prototyping projects for customers’
R&D operations.” The prototyping is
backed up by Advantage’s design and in-house CNC programming capabilities.
The complex gauging work is
generally high production automotive
work. “This is where somebody’s
producing an automotive part and they
select a control plan to check 100 per
cent or one every hour,” Zurbrigg says.
In many cases the gauging is
required for aluminum base plates that
a part nests into, where feeler gauges
perform hole position checks and
spread checks, and check the overall
tolerance of the part at it is nested in
the base plate. Advantage does some
complex gauging for aerospace as well,
Advantage also does work for
medical equipment manufacturers.
While the volume isn’t huge, medical
equipment is, as you might expect, in a
category of its own.
“Medical parts provide steady work
for us, but it’s maybe five per cent of
what we ship,” Zurbrigg says. “And
that’s five per cent in monetary terms,
rather than in number of parts shipped.
These are typically fairly costly parts
with a high degree of precision. So while
we may only ship five a month of a
certain part, a lot of detail work has gone
into it and some of the materials may be
a bit more exotic and expensive.”
The biggest recent change for
Advantage has been the adoption of an
increasing volume of aerospace work,
beginning a couple of years ago.
“We dabbled in aerospace before
that, but–the same as a lot of companies
do now–we’re doing a lot of online
bidding and sourcing, and we won some
aerospace contracts that way. We got
involved with one company in particular,
and the work we do for them has grown
Ontario | COVER STORY - JOb ShOPS 17
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