Lycoming Steps Up Production
QC And Customer Service Carry Hefty Price Tag
In an effort to rapidly clean up its crankshaft recall crisis, Lycoming announced Wednesday that it will engage 30 FAA-certified shops around the world to boost daily engine production to 20 to 30 engines per day, a development that may soothe the raw nerves of about 1,800 owners grounded by the recall. Lycoming says it will use 100-percent scanning electron microscope analysis of each new crank and it's employing new press forging and temperature-control processes to avoid the quality lapses that led to the massive recall in August of crankshafts used in Lyc's 300-horsepower-and-greater 540-series engines. Lycoming's Williamsport factory will have an assembly line devoted to the recall effort and once off the line, each engine will be thoroughly tested. Lycoming hopes to finish up the recall program by early in the second quarter of 2003. The factory is also getting some management help from Richard Millman, president of Textron Systems Corporation, who has been named Executive in Charge of Lycoming, assisting Lycoming President Michael Wolf. Millman has done stints at AVCO Corporation and Mitre Corporation and has wide experience in the defense technology sector. The recall program and QC overhaul is coming at an enormous price: Lycoming estimates the final bill will be about $37 million.