On Friday, July 26, the Aeronautics and Space Academies visited Parker Hannifin’s Aircraft Wheel and Brake Division in Avon, Ohio. This facility is part of Parker Aerospace. As the name may suggest, this division makes aircraft wheels and brakes.
The morning began with a hot breakfast upon arrival for the Academies, where they listened to presentations by Parker management, including Tom Dorinsky, the Business Team Leader, and Larry Staley, the Division Engineering Manager. Dr. Kankam also gave a detailed overview of the history and operation of the NASA Academies.
Following the presentations, the Academies toured Parker Hannifin’s test facilities and assembly plant. They had the chance to see the dynamometers used to test brake performance. They toured the assembly plant, which was an efficiently-organized shop where wheels, disks, brakes, and the like were manufactured. The shop was set up in a linear fashion, with parts moving down and around the room at each step, and with care taken in the layout design to minimize the transition time between each process. The entire manufacturing process, from the initial casting, through machining, painting, and assembly, was observed. Robotics were used heavily, including a paint machine that used laser scanning to profile and identify a component prior to automatically painting it.
The academies all found their tour motivating and informative, and were appreciative of the second meal – lunch – provided by Parker Hannifin at its conclusion.