Zepher Adds Quick Turn Advanced Composites Manufacturing Capability
–As part of an ongoing evolution to better serve companies developing innovative products, Zepher can now provide 100% of the services required to design and manufacture advanced composite assemblies. “By bringing critical outsourced processes in-house, we are able to provide quick accurate quotes, fully manage production timelines and continually monitor product quality.” – Andy Mack, Zepher President
Zepher excels at solving diverse manufacturing problems. This new capability allows us to help customers iterate fluidly through the development process and still meet their critical time lines. Finding dependable and responsive manufacturers in the bourgeoning composites industry can difficult and often costly.
In response to this need, Zepher has expanded the engineering team, production staff and manufacturing capabilities to provide superior QuickTurn composite manufacturing. Zepher also provides complete supply chain and quality management, including testing.
Zepher has brought together a team of highly skilled, hands-on engineers with expertise in aerospace, mechanical and composites engineering. Jaime Mack, Zepher’s CTO and co-owner, is a PE specializing in composites engineering and weight and balance engineering. Zepher has worked primarily with aerospace companies on UAV structures; designing advanced layups and production processes to reduce weight, increase strength and improve overall surface quality.
To further support these capabilities, Zepher has installed a state of the art 5-axis CNC router that can cut aluminum tooling or trim parts up to 60” x 120” x 40″. To further reduce schedule set backs and to control quality, Zepher added a 20′ x 10’ x 10’ paint booth to support projects requiring paint or specialty coatings.
Zepher is an engineering and contract manufacturing company specializing in the development and production of innovative products. Zepher is certified to AS9100C and builds one-off and production parts and assemblies for aerospace, defense, and commercial customers.
Gooney Bird Drone Poised For Record Breaking Flights
by Patrick Egan – 21 April 2015
The Gooney Bird long-range drone was unveiled today. The 13-foot-span vehicle was created to set new range and endurance records for sub-55-pound model aircraft and UAVs. The craft is currently under preparations for a summer 2015 record-breaking 100+ hour endurance flight of more than 5,000 nautical miles.
Designer and fabricator Rob Coatney commented, “I started with a conventional fixed-wing design. Then I distilled it down to the bare essentials and optimized everything that remained.”
The prototype flew for the first time in the fall of 2014. It was glide tested under manual radio control with five pounds of iron ballast in place of the propulsion unit. Thanks to the help of several volunteers, the aircraft was launched into the strong ridge lift above Hood River, OR and the approximately 30-minute flight was video recorded. “I was a bit apprehensive about how strong the winds were, but 10 seconds after launch I had her trimmed out and I knew it was going to be a fun flight,” said Coatney. “The hardest part was keeping it from climbing too high. But it performed fantastically, even pulling off a few graceful loops.”
Washington Manufacturing Awards 2014: Manufacturer of the Year (Small Firms)
White Salmon | zepherinc.com
Founder Andy Mack is a veteran of the marine business, but Zepher grew out of a project to help a neighboring company, the unmanned aircraft manufacturer Insitu (now owned by Boeing). Zepher developed rigging for a system to retrieve drones, then did assembly and testing of launch and retrieval systems, and later fabricated composite parts for unmanned aerial vehicles in development. Now with 20 employees, Zepher is building on that base to provide engineering, production and project management for a host of clients and industries. Growth has been strong enough to warrant a new building, with more than double the space of its original plant, at the Port of Klickitat. Zepher will move in this year.