By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — When everyone was looking in wonder a few years ago as the first 777 came down Boeing Co.’s moving production line, the folks at Nova-Tech Engineering were marveling at the factory floor.
That’s where the Lynnwood company’s equipment, called crawlers, were creeping along, carrying the 777 down the line.
Nova-Tech, founded in 1968, designs tools and equipment to make jet-making easier and more efficient at companies like Boeing and Airbus. The company also has done work for large airplane suppliers — for example, providing Spirit AeroSystems with a 787 stringer-forming system and Vought with automated tooling for sections of the 767 and 747.
Most recently, Nova-Tech put its engineering expertise to work for Brazil’s Embraer.
Nova-Tech won a contract to provide Embraer with an automated system that aligns aircraft fuselage sections during production. The system will be used on Legacy 450 and 500 executive jets, which seat up to 12 passengers.
One of the keys to winning the contract with Embraer was Nova-Tech’s ability and willingness to work with suppliers in Brazil, said Matt Posivio, who works in business development for Nova-Tech.
“We don’t do any of our own manufacturing,” he said.
Brian Patchin, manager of business development for Nova-Tech, said the company has extensive experience selecting and managing the companies that build Nova-Tech’s tools and equipment.
For Embraer, that’s an essential skill. It wants as many suppliers as possible to manufacture in Brazil to avoid Brazil’s high import tax.
Nova-Tech hopes its subcontracting experience means more business with Embraer in the future. “Subcontracting gives us flexibility,” Patchin said.
As a result, Nova-Tech doesn’t have a large manufacturing facility in Snohomish County.
It does, however, send work to the state’s 650 other aerospace companies when it’s not doing work for companies like Embraer. The company employs about 75 people at a Lynnwood office but has engineers based in Ireland and Brazil.
Nova-Tech also does work for the defense industry. It’s working on a system for Lockheed-Martin and the F-35 military aircraft program.
Nova-Tech’s work on the project caters to the company’s best capabilities, Patchin said.
The company has designed a motion-control transport system that enables Lockheed essentially to pick up an F-35 to test the aircraft’s radar. The system is not only big — 65 feet tall — it also has to operate with tight space constraints.
“This thing can essentially guide itself,” Posivio said.
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