Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing was officially unveiled on Jan. 24, 2019. Below is the welcome address given by company owner and founder, Brad Keselowski.
Good morning, and welcome to the official unveiling of Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing, otherwise known as KAM. What is KAM?
In the simplest terms, KAM is a hybrid manufacturing company that does two types of manufacturing for industrial clients: additive and subtractive. But big picture, KAM is much, much more than that.
Over the next few minutes, I’m going to outline my vision for KAM. I’m going to tell you why KAM is at the forefront of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. I’m going to detail how KAM represents the factory of the future. I’m going to explain why a race car driver is perfectly positioned to lead this company. And finally, I’m going dive deeper into KAM, and show you what’s going make it a special, special company.
So let’s start with the fourth Industrial Revolution. That sounds like a pretty big deal, right? That’s because it is.
Each of the first three Industrial Revolutions transformed the world. In the late 1700s, the First Industrial Revolution brought the first steam-driven heavy machinery, like trains. The Second, in the 1900s, brought electricity, mass production and assembly lines. Think of Henry Ford and big factories. The Third, which occurred most recently, brought computer controlled machines—things like a basic CNC shop for industry, a CT scanner in medicine, and of course, the cell phones we all love today.
Each of these revolutions brought unprecedented changes in society. From better education to increased wealth to greater amounts of leisure time, these technological advancements improved the human experience in unimaginable ways. And what’s amazing is that even though human beings have existed for hundreds of thousands of years, all of these things have happened in just the past 300 or so.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is already underway, will be just as transformative as the other three, if not more so. It, too, will produce new and exciting products the world has never seen before.
It’s going to be defined by the integration of cyber and physical systems. What does that mean?
Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, does a pretty good job of explaining it.
“When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth…is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.”
“The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”
Like I said, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is going to be big. And KAM, the factory of the future, is going to be a model of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in practice. You’re probably wondering, “What makes a factory a ‘factory of the future?”
Once again, I’m going to turn to an expert. In an essay for Industry Week, Larry Korak of Infor writes: “The Factory of the Future is the product of fast-changing disruptive technologies hitting manufacturing like a cyclone.”
It uses tools like:
- Computer-assisted design (CAD) systems
- Heavy automation like robotics
- Big data for equipment, supply chain and customer prediction modeling
- Cloud computing to store and analyze big data with ease while also enabling advanced simulation practices
- 3D printing for advanced designs and materials
- The Internet of Things to maximize communications and efficiencies across all channels of business management
- All of these tools are planned to be used in the facility you stand in today.
Having a future factory means you can build the world of the future, and that’s already happening.
Using 3D printing and other technologies, General Electric created a fuel nozzle for planes that reduced the number of parts from 20—all of which had to be separately welded or brazed together—to one. It was so much more efficient that the design led to less fuel burn, less aviation emissions, improved reliability and cheaper operating costs—all of which get passed down to the world’s traveling population.
A doctor in Italy developed 3D printed hip cup implants that use advanced CAD to tailor each implant specifically to a patient’s body. The result are implants that fuse with a patient’s bones more effectively than ever before. Cloud computing and big data enable simulation of the implant build, a deeper understanding of how it will physically interface with the patient, and the ability to build it anywhere in the world with the click of a mouse.
These are two incredible case studies that showcase the positive impact of the future factory on big businesses and the human experience. But what’s particularly great about them is that they’re only the beginning of what’s possible in the hands of the right people.
I believe that I am one of those people, and that being a race car driver has perfectly positioned me to lead an advanced manufacturing company. Years in motorsports have taught me several important lessons in the harshest of environments—environments where the quarterly report comes every weekend, and the failure to perform could mean not only your job, but possibly, your life.
To succeed in today’s racing environment is as much about leadership as it is talent. My current race team has over 500 employees who all rely on me when the green flag drops. But that leadership doesn’t end when the race is over, and the checkered flag waves.
Being a successful race car driver at the highest level requires a constant and distinct ability to lead a team tasked with conquering ever-evolving rules, daunting new technical challenges and emerging technologies in a data driven manner—all at the quickest speed possible, before your competition does. Those that can’t do that won’t last long and they most certainly won’t win.
Being a winning race car driver requires being at the top of the fastest and most rigorous feedback loop in the world. For years, I’ve been amazed by the team of hard-working men and women I’ve been surrounded by in motorsports. From the engineering side through the production teams, time after time, I’ve seen the top race teams tackle massive challenges with speed, precision and reliability. And I’ve often wondered what challenges those same people could conquer outside of motorsports.
That’s how the vision of KAM was born. With that said, let’s talk about what’s going to make KAM unique.
First off, KAM is going to specialize in advanced additive and subtractive manufacturing solutions. Service companies on other continents do that, but in North America, no one is going to be able to offer hybrid manufacturing on the scale we’re going to offer.
A quick aside for those of you who may not know: additive manufacturing is where you take a powder—in our case, made out of metal—and use a laser (or another process) to print and bond it into a part. It’s a form of advanced 3D printing. Subtractive manufacturing, on the other hand, is where you take a block of something—like steel—and whittle it down into a part.
There was a time when additive and subtractive manufacturing were seen as rival technologies. Some people still see them that way. At KAM, we see them as vital technologies that are in effect “brothers in arms.” That’s why we’re embracing both the term hybrid manufacturing and the resources for this vision in machine tools. Throughout our factory, you’ll see additive and subtractive technologies coexisting in complimentary fashion, allowing us to optimize speed, pricing, quality, sustainability and design. We want to have a diverse set of manufacturing capabilities so that our engineering team can use the optimal technology for every project.
Along those lines, another of our defining traits is vertical integration. What does that mean? It means we’ll be one of the few factories in the world that can take additive manufacturing parts from start to finish in large series production. Engineering, design, manufacturing, intricate post-processing and finished product quality certification—we’re going to do it all, and doing it this way is a key takeaway from motorsports. Every day that an idea or a part is in someone else’s hands is a day lost to your competition and the market place. Vertical integration allows us to fail fast, learn fast, fix things fast and stay at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Ensuring that the quality of the work we produce is world class is always going to be our top priority at KAM.
On the race track, all redundant systems are removed. A single point failure can be enough to halt an entire team. Low quality is not an option. That Same culture goes for KAM, which is why we’re installing some of the most rigorous quality management systems and certifications in the world: ISO9001, AS9100d and more to come.
We also will have rigorous nondestructive testing procedures, or NDT and capabilities including blue light inspection that can measure parts to “.001”. Coordinate measuring machine or CMM that can measure down to “.0002”. A Pinnacle X-Ray Solutions CT scanner that can penetrate the toughest of metals to get a glimpse inside detailed parts geometry to find defects and a full metallurgical lab. That can inspect materials to ensure the highest of qualities every step of the way.
One of the other things I learned in motorsports is that protecting intellectual property—or IP—is essential. There’s nothing that hurts more than watching an idea you spent months or even years working on copied by someone else overnight. The best designs, with the best manufacturing processes, are wasted if they can be adopted easily by your competitors. That’s why we are taking security at KAM very seriously. Inspired by the learnings of Taiwan Semiconductor, we’re installing multiple systems to protect IP such as internal servers, in-depth employee background checks and more. We’re also going to emulate the motorsports culture of secrecy, with strict guidelines to never discuss who we do business with (unless they request us to), and always protecting our customers’ IP as if it were our own. I’d tell you more, but I can’t. It’s a secret.
This last summer I had the opportunity to travel through Europe, and to see some of the hybrid manufacturing factories there. One of things that became clear on the trip was the Fourth Industrial Revolution was not only going to change the products we used, but the workforce employed to make them. Much like in the past revolutions, it is the people that live on the cutting edge of technology and process development that will steer this revolution.
With that in mind, we’ve already hired some of the brightest talent in the world for our workforce. The leadership team, operators, engineers and support staff that will make KAM work have remarkable credentials and are highly skilled, highly trained, and in many cases, highly educated. Fueled by our commitment to our workforce and a belief that these jobs are here to stay for a long time, KAM is investing deeply in its employees through an industry leading healthcare plan, comprehensive job training, in-house classrooms and more.
It’s also one of the reasons that KAM is impeccably maintained to the highest degree. It not only serves the quality requirements of advanced manufacturing, but is symbolic of our belief that manufacturing in the factory of the future can succeed monetarily while simultaneously creating an orderly, modern and clean environment that respects its current employees, and continues to attract new top talent.
I strongly believe that every employee should feel a sense of pride from their family and community to be a part in manufacturing. That’s not always the case in current factories in America. With the factory of the future, we hope to play a crucial role in changing perceptions of the industrial workplace for the better.
So those are our goals internally. When it comes to KAM and where we see ourselves in the world of advanced manufacturing, our goals are no less ambitious—especially because the opportunities we’ve got in front of us are so numerous and wide-ranging.
The truth is that many of the largest companies in the world are not only failing to innovate and take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s technological capabilities—they’re at risk of eventually becoming obsolete. There are a lot of reasons for this. Many companies are tied down with huge legacy costs in other manufacturing methods, or business models that require outside vendors to manufacture. American companies looking for outside sources to manufacture hybrid additive and subtractive metal parts in serial production are sadly out of luck because they simply don’t exist at scale. That is, until now.
That’s where KAM fits in: helping companies from start to finish through their hybrid manufacturing journey. To that end, we’ve coined the phrase “Engineering disruptive solutions.”
Our investments include not just a strong list of machine assets, but an even larger investment in engineering tools and personnel.The unique design capabilities of additive manufacturing along with a plethora of new enhanced metal alloys are truly game changing. From medicine to aerospace, from defense to automotive, the applications for enhancements are limitless. So are the benefits, which include everything from higher quality parts to the reduction of complicated assembly processes to more efficient supply chain management and so much more.
Whatever future innovations our clients can imagine, we’ll have the tools to realize them. That includes:
- In tool and die, where KAM won’t make the end products, but will make advanced tooling that makes them cheaper, with higher quality and with less harmful waste to the environment.
- In aerospace, where the advanced engineering and design features KAM will produce can help lead us to Mars, and at the very least across earth more efficiently in terms of cost and air pollution.
- In defense, when an advanced solution made by KAM with speed and quality can be the difference between life and death.
- In automotive, when KAM tries to convert an entire industry to advanced powertrain units that can operate in the most difficult of environments.
- In any environment that requires incredible capabilities in light weighting, thermal, fluid passageway, strength, conductivity and more, KAM will be there. And we’ll meet these while also maintaining our desire for increasing mobility, and decreasing the harmful footprint our vehicles have.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway. Everyone here at KAM is excited to help lead it. The possibilities are endless, we are limited only by our imaginations and our willingness to act.
Today marks our commitment to act with the launch of KAM.
And there is so much more to come…