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Aldergrove's AIT Helps Make Plane Firms Fly

ALDERGROVE - Advanced Integration Technology, Inc. (AIT) is helping other companies fly.

By Mark MacDonald, Publisher, Business FRASER VALLEY

As they do, they’re soaring themselves. The Aldergrove branch has over 70 employees who utilize automation and drilling systems to create platforms for major customers Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Spirit Aerospace, and Bombardier - upon which they build their airplanes.

AIT was recently awarded the Boeing Performance Excellence Award, issued by Boeing each year to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. AIT maintained a Gold composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010.

Boeing recognized 558 suppliers who achieved either a Gold or Silver level Boeing Performance Excellence Award. AIT is one of only 141 suppliers to receive the Gold level of recognition.

“We feel privileged to be counted among the suppliers who earned this prestigious award,” said AIT President Ed Chalupa. “AIT has always sought to deliver the highest quality tooling for Boeing programs throughout the United States.”

Founded in 2004, AIT Canada has fabricated, machined, and assembled high-tech turnkey systems for the major players in international air travel.

AIT Canada has secured a reputation for delivering excellence in aerospace projects. Working out in three buildings in Aldergrove, the Canadian arm of the multinational, Texas-based AIT offers advanced engineering, manufacturing, and installations of machines, systems, and tooling for the automated assembly of aerospace structures, including fuselage, wings, and empennage.

AIT was tasked with helping leading aerospace companies redesign their final assembly lines. AIT designed tools to position large structures into place, allowing, for example the Boeing 787’s wings to be joined to the fuselage in hours, not days.

Traditionally, aircraft assembly has been labor-intensive, manual process with large jigs, fixtures and systems. But, automation systems are becoming a key part of military and commercial aircraft production lines. AIT has developed new aircraft assembly technologies to build tools that are easy to operate and consistently produce parts of highest quality and maximum efficiency.

With a laser-guided systems AIT Canada has improved inspection systems and significantly lowered the overall production cost for aircraft factories by eliminating multiple fixtures for the large aircraft components.

AIT and AIT Canada supply automated systems, tooling, equipment and process management expertise to Boeing for the 787, 747, 737, and 777 programs.

“Our goal is to diversify,” said General Manager Steven Taylor-Lewis. “Most of the work we do is for the aerospace industry outside of BC, but we can also service the local aerospace industry, and we are looking at other markets to get into.

“We are available to the private sector, anyone who needs high level fabrication and tooling or high tolerance machining and assembly.”

The company came to the Township of Langley, starting out in a northwest Langley location, and then moving its project management, machining, and fabrication, welding and metal cutting operations to Aldergrove in 2006, where its assembly operations were already housed.

“We have built up a core of employees and that gives us a competitive advantage,” said Taylor-Lewis. “They will be with us all the time. In the Township of Langley we have the proximity to Washington that we need, but the employees are why we are still here. Our key is our people.”

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