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Story Behind the Product: A Florida Manufacturer Keeps Legacy Military Planes Flying

By FloridaMakes Network posted 08-19-2020 00:00

  

With the aviation and aerospace industry in Florida accounting for nearly 10 percent of the state’s GDP and with more than 2,000 companies, it is key in supporting Florida’s military and defense assets. On August 19, National Aviation Day, is a date to celebrate these companies and the more than 82,000 Floridians who contribute to making things fly.

P-8A

F-14

GRACE Aerospace is one of those companies celebrating today. They are a full-service aerospace manufacturer and systems integrator who develops, engineers, fabricates and assembles structures and electrical components –– all in Jacksonville! Being an AS9100 certified small business manufacturer, GRACE noticed there was a unique need to service legacy planes for the military. Their mission began by servicing military aircraft with legacy and production manufacturing needs. Currently, their 30-employee team is making their mark in the aerospace sector by working on legacy planes that other manufacturers deem “too expensive and time-consuming” to fix.

Simulators

Panels/Boxes

“We manufacture interior components for planes, including racks and operating system consoles for the P-8 aircraft, and integrate fabricated electrical components within the structures which can withstand the intensity of a military flight,” said Pauline Sevigny, Vice President of Finance at GRACE Aerospace. “Our engineers work closely with our customers’ engineers to ensure the equipment and the structures will function effectively while staying intact during military operations.”

Working a lot with the military, GRACE is typically given a design and is asked to manufacture structural and electrical components for them, often prototyping throughout.

Their clients run the gamut of aerospace, working with the US Navy, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and others. They have also recently begun assisting commercial aviation clients with their prototyping efforts. The team members at GRACE feel very rewarded when they see military aircraft fly around their city, knowing they have had a hand in helping keep some aging military planes functional.

“I love it when somebody points out a plane for which we built apart,” said Pauline. “Military aircraft are often flying throughout Jacksonville, over our office and our homes, and GRACE is proud to see our products play a part in protecting our country.”

Circuit Card Assembly & Design

Cockpit Annunciator

GRACE employs different technologies to create their products, including computer-aided design for manufacturing, CNC programming and waterjet machining to fabricate metal parts. GRACE is grateful for the partnerships that have developed with other manufacturing companies in the area and appreciate the support provided through the First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA), which has helped to facilitate these relationships. The FCMA introduced GRACE to Rob Caldwell, a Business Advisor for FloridaMakes. Rob assisted the company with business continuity improvements and was provided with the tools to ensure compliance with the upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements. They are also working on training to upskill employees and make operational improvements.

GRACE is determined and excited to expand its business further into the commercial aviation, as well as broadening their capabilities and skillsets across other related sectors. For more information about GRACE Aerospace, please contact their Business Advisor, Rob Caldwell, at info@floridamakes.com.


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