March 15, 2016

Partnerships Promote Both Effectiveness and Customer Satisfaction

Written by: Mike Gardella
VP Engineering & Manufacturing - Sorensen Systems

When a representative of a leading New England based aerospace company contacted us, an exciting new opportunity emerged that challenged the engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Sorensen Systems. The company was seeking a turn-key testing solution for qualifying the integrity of avionic pumps, which are used to provide cooling to vital electronic systems in high altitude aircraft. With a spike in orders for cooling systems and a robust forecast for future demand, the company had an immediate need to upgrade its pump testing systems to meet production goals. After meeting with the customer’s project engineers to discuss the overall requirements, it was determined the testing systems require specialized software to be programmed in the data acquisition equipment to the individual control system components that create the extreme environmental conditions. Recognizing the delivery time line, the need for specialized data acquisition, and electronic controls expertise we were pleased to work collaboratively with an established controls company with whom we had worked with successfully in the past.

  1.  Creating a joint effort to reduce inefficiencies and delays: Partnering with a well-known instrument and testing controls manufacturer, Sorensen Systems helped design and build specialized testing equipment for a cooling pump installation destined for high altitude aircraft applications. In the critical aerospace engineering environment, especially with sophisticated components such as this, it is not sufficient to test sample batches of manufactured parts. Rather, every single part must receive a full test to certify its fitness for use in the aerospace application. The partnering company’s expertise of automated testing, data acquisition, and electronic control systems meshed seamlessly with our systems engineering, product component selection, fabrication/assembly and final testing capabilities. From the beginning, this was a true partnership, with “one face” to the customer. The aerospace pump manufacturer was pleased with the arrangement and with the degree of expertise that all parties brought to the table. As with most projects of this magnitude, there were a number of face to face meetings, which included the following: quote review, engineered system design, product verification, planned step by step test sequencing, purchase order placement, timeline delivery meetings, on site fabrication inspections, and final testing. With all three parties present at each event, all communications were direct so decisions could be made rapidly.

2.   Integrating two sums to equal a greater whole: The test stand included the controls company’s LabVIEW software and electronic data acquisition modules, which were integrated into a structural aluminum frame. Sorensen System engineers designed the pneumatic and fluid circuitry for the sophisticated system used to create the varying flight conditions. We selected the components, designed and fabricated the assembly, connected the fluid lines, and wire integrated the electronic components, to the data acquisition modules.

3.   Rigorous testing meets customer’s requirements: When the fabrication process was completed, final witness testing and acceptance was performed first at our facility in Northborough MA, and then again at the unit was retested on-site to the satisfaction of the pump manufacturer. The customer was delighted with the degree of thoroughness exhibited throughout the entire process from the first meeting through final on-site test acceptance.

4.   Customer satisfaction is always the goal: Most importantly, the customer’s satisfaction with design, fabrication, and the testing process was reinforced by the finished product’s successful results: the new test stand increased production by 25 percent, reinforced quality verification, and occupied 33 percent less floor space than the old method. In every way, the product created a positive impact on the customer’s bottom line. The validation for a job well done came when this customer relied on us for another challenging turn-key solution.

This project and others can be found on