2018 Company News and Events
Birken Manufacturing celebrated 75 years of manufacturing with an all-employee barbeque and catered lunch on September 7, 2018. The original company, a 5 man basement shop located on Franklin Ave in Hartford, was purchased and operated by Louis Rogow, the great-uncle of the current, majority owner, Gary Greenberg. From humble beginnings, Birken grew in stature and expertise; bringing in skilled craftsmen and machine capabilities to meet the ever increasing quality standards of the industry as the jet-age ensued.
Government dignitaries as well as our loyal customers and venders were invited to share this special day celebrating the longevity and success of our company.
Industry Backlog at Record Levels
Both Boeing and Airbus have published record backlogs for both commercial and freighter aircraft. Estimates are currently in excess of 20,000 commercial aircraft to be delivered through 2028. This obviously bodes well for the engine manufacturers with the introduction of the GE Leap, the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan and the Rolls Royce Trent offerings including the Trent XWB for the new Airbus A350.
Birken is proud to be a supplier on all of these platforms as well as the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine powering the F35 Joint Strike Fighter, our nation's newest stealth fighter.
While meeting the current demand will be a challenge, both the Tier 1 engine producers and the supporting supply chain are gearing up to provide efficient and seamless delivery to meet customer demand.
It is an exciting time in aerospace.
Projected Growth in Domestic Air Travel
The FAA has issued its projections for the expected increase of air passengers over the next 2 decades. The FAA forecast stated that US airline passenger totals will increase from 840.8 million in 2017 to 1.28 billion by 2038, a growth of more than 50%.
Further, Boeing has predicted that there is a critical need to train future pilots and aircraft technicians to meet the flying public demand. In fact Boeing says between 2017-2036, the need for pilots world-wide will be a staggering 637,000; that is 87 new airline pilots every day from now till then.
Not only pilots, but flight attendants are in demand as well. The FAA requires 1 flight attendant for every 50 seats. Current estimates indicate that, over the next 20 years, 839,000 flight attendants will have to be hired to operate the huge increase in commercial airlines and the 50% increase in passenger utilization.
Machining and Equipment Upgrades at Birken
To meet the ramp-up from our jet engine customers for orders already backlogged and future projections, Birken has embarked on a significant upgrade of front line equipment to expedite production and provide dependable quality results. The latest technology in 5-axis mill/turn machinery has been deployed along with high speed machining to keep us on the cutting edge of manufacturing.
In fact, in 2018 we opened the GE Adapter Cell which is a self-contained area of the factory dedicated to a family of 10 part numbers for the CFM LEAP engine. Three 5-axis Okuma's, a CMM machine and FPI line are dedicated to this product family. Based on GE estimates the output from this cell should double within the next year. Combined, Birken will need to produce 230 units per week to meet GE's demand. A stand-alone business with dedicated staff and operators is the only way to achieve this.
Greenberg Continues on as Advisor to CREC Engineering School
Gary Greenberg, President and CEO of Birken Manufacturing Company, has been asked to continue as advisor to the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering. The CREC Academy, located at 1101 Kennedy Rd., in Windsor, CT, is a middle school and high school specializing in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). The Advisory Board is made up of business and professional leaders providing assistance, advice and information to the school, making the school curriculum more relevant to the needs of industry, manufacturing and the professions.
Additive Manufacturing Equipment Makes Debut at Birken
Birken operates a Fortus 250mc 3D printer for use in modeling components which will eventually be machined from current casting technology. While the current equipment uses plastic additive material for model making; the future clearly shows that 3D printing of metal parts will be the preferred technology to lower material costs and machining time in the future. Metal additive manufacturing will have tremendous growth in the next 10 years, especially with the current demand for aerospace products and the long lead times required to produce castings using traditional methods.
Birken Named Finalist in the Hartford Business Journal's 2018 Family Business Awards
Each year the Hartford Business Journal seeks nominees for the prestigious Family Business awards for Connecticut owned companies. This year there were 40 submissions in all aspects of business including manufacturing, farming, insurance and wealth management. Birken is pleased to be represented in this esteemed group having completed 75 years of operations in Hartford County. Birken operates with a 10 person management team, now including the 4th Generation of the Greenberg family.