From the Start
Ultrax Aerospace Inc. got their start in 1995 as a software and hardware developer for military testing equipment. After teaming up with the manufacturer of Blackhawk helicopters, Brian and Chris Lincoln soon realized they could make a niche for themselves in developing an entire testing system specialized for the military.
Entering into the world of Avionics, the Lincoln brothers figured out how they could troubleshoot the equipment and simplify the electronic testing process. They developed testing equipment with on-screen displays, automating the entire testing process for aircraft mechanics. By allowing the users to follow a prompt, Ultrax helped the military significantly reduce training time as well as aircraft down time.
Word quickly spread about Ultrax’s high quality products and support, before long they were providing equipment to the Army, Navy and Air Force. They now support military around the globe in places such as Germany, Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East.
The Ultrax Difference
Ultrax prides themselves on being small and innovative. Geared towards being able to customize for the client’s needs, they are known for the ability to go from concept to solution in no more than 3 months. In dealing with military, they must be able to specialize their equipment for unique situations, all while making it easy for the end user to operate.
“We actually brought in our wives to help us test our equipment to see if it was easy to use. We wanted to make sure our equipment was easy to use and that those using it wouldn’t require a lot of training,” stated Trafton Creemer, Engineering .
Ultrax not only creates the equipment, they support it as well. Since they have developed the system from the ground up, they were involved in every aspect from software and hardware development to manufacturing. When customers call in with a problem, they are typically talking directly with those that worked to create the system. The problems are addressed quickly and accurately by an approachable and knowledgeable staff.
Ultrax Aerospace Inc. worked hard to streamline the testing process for their customers, but they also realized a need to streamline their own processes. First using AutoCAD to design their products and parts in 2D, designers quickly realized they could improve their efficiency and quality by using 3D design software.
“Some of the components we were designing were very small, it was great to be able to see them in a 3D environment. We could drop it into our design and make sure it would work, which helped us save money on creating costly physical prototypes,” commented Trafton Creemer.
After taking a look at a few other 3D design programs, Ultrax finally decided Autodesk Inventor was the best fit for their needs. By moving their 2D AutoCAD drawings into Inventor, designers could now create products in a real-world environment, speeding up the conceptualization and manufacturing process. They also saved hours of time they would have spent making changes to their 2D drawings.
“Many times our customers come to us with an idea or a concept, but they don’t know what the actual end product should look like. With Inventor, we can easily mock up a working model, show it to them in a 3D environment and gain feedback quickly,” adds Trafton.
Joining with D3
“We started out using a different 3D package, but were frustrated when we realized we couldn’t get technical support and we would have to pay for simple fixes to the software. When the product got out of date, we couldn’t update easily,” mentions Trafton.
That is where D3 Technologies was able to step in. After a rocky relationship with a previous vendor, D3 was able to provide Ultrax with the Autodesk software they needed and the support they had been looking for.
Trafton added, “D3’s pre-sales and technical support have been great, we can always count on a quick response. They’ve been able to help us better support our business.”
By using D3 as a trusted advisor and making the switch to 3D, Ultrax Aerospace has seen a significant cut in time to market and a reduction in costs spent in research and development of their products. They are now able to show their customers products in a real environment, translating from paper to a digital model.
Ultrax Aerospace Inc. is now an ISO 9001 certified facility with over 40 employees. Sticking to what they know best, they hope to expand their offerings for the military, providing products for a larger variety of aircraft.
“People now come to us for our products, they recognize us. We feel like we’ve been successful in making a name for ourselves in the industry, but we hope to keep growing and building a stronger relationship in the military community,” concluded Trafton.
Special thanks to Trafton Creemer for his contributions to this article.
Above: Ultrax's ISO 9001:2000 certified manufacturing facility in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
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