Composite Mobile Mini Factory - KITSTER

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by anvegger, Dec 3, 2016.

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  1. Dec 3, 2016 #21

    Topaz

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    Thinking about this some more, and ignoring issues like liability altogether, the fundamental question comes down to this: How does this company make its revenue?

    If you make most of your revenue signing on new customers - plans, parts, materials, build-support - then you have to keep the number of "kitsters" to a bare minimum, allow them on each customer's site the absolute minimum amount of time, and keep them moving to new customers as often as possible - and somehow keep the shipping distances as short as possible.

    If, however, you make the bulk of your revenue by renting out shops, then you want the opposite: You want as many shops out there as possible, on each site as long as possible, and ship them as infrequently as possible. Now the business is more akin to really expensive, labor-intensive apartment rentals, rather than a traditional kitplane business. Cost of shipping and maintenance become the things you want to avoid. And you can also branch out into other kinds of shops - boat-building, general woodworking, metalworking, etc. Start thinking of renting to "maker" groups. Small businesses that suddenly got a big contract. Anyone who suddenly needs "more" shop capacity for a closed-ended period of time, and doesn't want to buy the capacity outright.

    For the specific kitplane case, selling kits becomes just another marketing incentive. You practically give the plans/kits/materials away, just to get new shop rental contracts.

    Interesting thread. I think the traditional kitplane business models are going to change. I think they HAVE to change. Not sure this idea is the way to go (and I'm also not sure it isn't, depending on which model above is used), but it's an interesting idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
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  2. Dec 3, 2016 #22

    anvegger

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    Your feedback is awesome dear Topaz and let me share with you the rest of my initial thoughts if such an interest is being generated. The base of this idea resides on the fact that KIT (composite KIT) is a different set of collectable items if you may compare with anything else on a market: Metal (Aluminum) KIT or a tubing + kevlar ... etc . The Composite KIT is a collection of smart ideas in (sort of) special playground. Let think of a building a large 40' boat from Glass (or a Carbon) : All the builder would need is a covered space somewhere near the water (Dry Dock) and a heater (Thanks to autoreply for a $100 reference ;) The rest is delivered by the KIT manufacturer BIT by BIT in form of rolls of fiber fabrics and the barrels of resin (a pre-preg as an alternative) . The builder has to prepare the dock, apply the layout (or a mold) and start laying out the composites to get the boat constructed. With the technology progresses the manual work would be replaced by some advanced techniques such as a vacuum infusion as an example - where the builder would not be required to apply the resin manually across 40 ft long moldless foam base... (something like that). The KITSTER is an mobile dry dock rented out with the materials and some tooling to get this project done. The more convenient the collection of that playground would be supplied the more demand would be generated.
     
  3. Dec 3, 2016 #23

    Topaz

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    Excuse the aside, but what airplane is that? Is it this: http://commutercraft.com/innovator-aircraft?

    Sorry, you lost me. I initially thought you'd be delivering equipped "shops" with tooling and materials, which the customer would rent out for building their airplane. Is that not the case? I'm not clear on what you're saying here.
     
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  4. Dec 3, 2016 #24

    anvegger

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    I am thinking to entertaining many KIT manufacturers from variety of fields to get this project rolling. It could be started from a single RV based unit just for knowledge transfer and demonstration. KIT manufacturer would be using that XL - Size RV with bunch of small ingredients , mini-molds , base tools and supplies just as a repair shop for example.
     
  5. Dec 3, 2016 #25

    anvegger

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  6. Dec 3, 2016 #26

    Topaz

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    Okay, so you're not thinking of centering the business around any specific aircraft, but rather the shop-rental model I mentioned in an earlier post. Your major (only?) source of revenue would be the shop-rental business itself. Any ties to specific aircraft would probably be through co-marketing or licensing agreements with an existing kit manufacturer, if I'm reading you correctly. The "shops" might take the form of a standard shipping container full of tools and tooling, "PODS"-like specialized container, or some other package of "standardized" tools and tooling. Plus the remote/virtual training you mentioned in an earlier post.

    It's an intriguing model, especially if you expand it beyond homebuilding, where I think the market is too small for any real profitability. Lots of issues to work out in your business plan, and lots of questions to be answered, but also some very interesting prospects. It'll be very interesting to watch you flesh out this idea.
     
  7. Dec 3, 2016 #27

    anvegger

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    Your thoughts are absolutely correct. The KITSTER is a rental mobile shop that would be customized by KIT's manufacturer for a specific PRODUCT such as that plane (CommuterCraft) - as an example. It could be initially used as a demo - and at this case Richard Hogan could demonstrate the construction abilities along with the KITSTER across the country. Then he would be delivering his KITs to the homebuilders with the KITSTER as a supportive center to start doing that project at the Homebuilder's Location. The condo complex could be used as well somewhere near the dumpster area if the management company would be on the same page. ;)
     
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  8. Dec 3, 2016 #28

    anvegger

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    Dear Topaz, I'd like to brainstorm this topic in form of small thoughts that might be later on discussed as a PLAN for me to get this idea off of the ground. So please stay with me for a while. I hope that it won't be too much of a misrepresentation after all . Sorry for the widely used lines if found.
    KITSTER product is a complex of KIT manufacturer's assets. You may Think of it as a remote replica of an internal KIT producer's shop rented out to the HomeBuilder. Average HomeBuilder could use any of a "traditional" or conventional way of construction : home-based garage shop (the cheapest solution) , EAA chapters resources (a little more advanced but still inexpensive) , Local A&P mechanic's support at the airport (the most expensive "localized" approach) , - and still use the super expensive - Manufacturer's Builder Assistance Program. That one would be as expensive as the KIT itself or even more expensive some times. So - all of the existing options are still applicable. They all have pros and cons. The bottom line - none of them could bring any revenue to the KIT's producer. KIT producer still sell KITs, and most likely provide some support as a SERVICE overhead. In case of our scenario - that KITSTER is a revenue generating machine. While each KIT-package requires sales and support KITSTER is a self contained product that could help the producer to keep the revenue stream even before the prototype is ready. Simply - think of a Raptor Project already distributed across the country to 25 metro areas way before the prototype is flying just to demonstrate and share the techniques and testing / polishing the construction process at the same time
     
  9. Dec 3, 2016 #29

    anvegger

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    The use of a KITSTER could be grouped , individualized or centralized. One of the options - to store the KITSTER set of containers at the EAA Chapter with some/all Metro Area(s). Members of a chapter could come to the Hangar and build their own version of a KIT based on the rights supplied by the vendor. Think of Zenith for a second. In my Chapter 106 (KLWM) there are three planes being build today from Zenith KITs. We all using our own very expensive tools , we barely see each other , we have different objectives and configurations of that vendor's products. However Zenith (650 and 750) is All Metal based set. In KITSTER's world Composite KIT Producer company Such as Raptor Aircraft(let's continue talking about Raptor Project since they already have 700 paid interested prospects) may distribute the source of a PRODUCT to several communities across the world and I am sure in my area there would be at least 10 potential users of that product selected. They all could use the same - absolutely the same KITSTER set - with their own materials and plans with build numbers purchased from the vendor (Raptor-Aircraft LLC) sharing the space, knowledge , some tools and ideas. The rent payment would be collected locally and re-distributed between the Chapter's land rental agreement and vendor's KITSTER's rental agreement
     
  10. Dec 3, 2016 #30

    Little Scrapper

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    I think you may be overestimating the available profit and consumers willingness to spend in the homebuilt arena.

    Do you feel the homebuilt industry is robust enough to support the gross cost of something like this? I'm still unsure of what problem you identified in the market place and the solution you're providing. At some point the solution has to provide value.

    I think I might still.be confused as to what you are proposing. The benchmark seems to be the RV. You order the kit and assemble it with hand tools.

    Topaz. Curious about your comment. Why does the industry need to change? What problems do you or the poster see?

    Let's start with that in simple terms.
     
  11. Dec 3, 2016 #31

    Little Scrapper

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    I think I get this.

    The business model is a company that is aciting as a middle man to rent out tools with storage?
     
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  12. Dec 3, 2016 #32

    anvegger

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    The KITSTER Composite Mobile Mini Factory - is a Composite KIT by itself. The KIT producer can supply the materials and equipment to assemble the KITSTER Mini Factory at home. Think about it as another KIT of a KIT production. That all depends on the KIT Producer's needs. Let us think of a airframe components that could be produced at home , supplied from the outsourcing location, or simply purchased from the secondary market (such as canopies as an example) . The final product could be quite large in size (5 seater canard) But between the first part of the construction and the final assembly it may take some time, right? There is no need to keep paying for a large full size factory at the beginning when only one part of an empennage is being constructed. So - everything is customized by the vendor with an on-line tracing of a specific customer's (builder at this case) needs.
     
  13. Dec 3, 2016 #33

    Little Scrapper

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    FYI: pod widths are maxed out at 8' because of road restrictions.

    There's no room to work with a airplane in the middle and tools against the wall.
     
  14. Dec 4, 2016 #34

    anvegger

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    Most likely yes, but not quite. KITSTER is a product itself. That product is a part of a KIT producer's delivery. It is a method of charging for tools and storage by a KIT manufacturer. It won't be applicable to conventional All Metal Shop Kit suppliers. Only because the metal tooling is different and requires extra skills acquisition (think of welding as an example) In Composite World that skills set could be distributed on-line and real value is inside of the Container or Composite Mobile Mini Factory. Without that complex the KIT is useless. That what makes it unique and productive. Even if I simply set up one mold that would be making Long EZ wings inside of only one container - that would be very demanding set.
     
  15. Dec 4, 2016 #35

    anvegger

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    The KITSTER's space is configurable - it could be distributed as a Composite Collection of different modules assembled at the Homebuilder's space

    View attachment 56643

    The real delivery is being made by easy to assemble sets - the delivery guys could do that assembly per homebuilder's request

    shelter-kit1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  16. Dec 4, 2016 #36

    anvegger

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    Sure and there are 9,552 already assembled and registered planes flying out there . How did they do over 300 planes a year? Amazing - I love their big contribution to our ability of making something from the KIT. But... The new era is coming. We are approaching rapidly the real XXI century materials and techniques. Are we ready for that?
     
  17. Dec 4, 2016 #37

    Little Scrapper

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    I admire your passion and I always support people who put skin in the game. I can't quite wrap my head around this......yet.......but I'm listening.

    As a business owner I'm very focused on first identifying a problem in the marketplace. What is the original problem?

    We don't change for changes sake, it should be market driven at least to some extent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  18. Dec 4, 2016 #38

    anvegger

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    The real value is inside of a KITSTER. The shop may exists as long as the homebuilder is willing to use it - even with an option to buy and start producing the clone of a KIT. Hypothetically think of an EAA consumer. The KITSTER could reside at the chapter's Hangar for ... hmmmm... 10 years. It would be generating revenue to KIT manufacturer (producer) as well as to Chapter itself. The version of a content could be changed many times during that 10 .... ++ years of utilization. But the Composite Mobile Mini Factory - KITSTER would be alive all the time.
     
  19. Dec 4, 2016 #39

    anvegger

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    The idea came to my mind at OSH 2016. I was participating at the Russ Emanis' presentation of Vacuum Bagging Advanced Composite Construction techniques under the open air tent.

    Infusion_07.jpg

    We started building the fuselage for X-Project together with Jeff Kerlo. Unfortunately due to the weather condition (humidity + temperature + air pressure = bad weather) the parts that we built went scrapped . After coming back to my NorEastern kind of the atmosphere I realized that the same problem would co-exist all around the world that makes Composite Construction very vulnerable That is how I think the value could be built from that methodology. The Composite Mobile Mini Factory helps protecting the homebuilder's investment that is the bottom line.
     
  20. Dec 4, 2016 #40

    Dana

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    OK, so as I understand it you intend this to be analogous to what many kit manufacturers (Lancair, etc.) offer as in plant "fast build" programs... the customer visits the factory for a couple of weeks, builds (with assistance) the basic airframe, then goes home while the factory paints it. The difference is economy of scale, and hands on assistance. The existing programs use an existing factory, one set (or a few sets) of tooling shared between several builds, with people there to lend an extra pair of hands when needed, those people having other things to do (or other customers to help) when their assistance isn't needed. With the kitster concept, all the facilities, tools, etc., have to be duplicated in each container, and sit unused when the sole customer isn't using them, and no extra pair of hands to help. Then when the customer fails to clean the stuff before the resin sets (in the factory the employees would make sure that doesn't happen), there's a bunch of junk that has to be replaced or repaired. Or the customer breaks a drill bit or some other tool... at the factory you just grab another one out of the crib, how many spares are you going to include in the container?

    And then there are the space issues as lil' scrapper alluded... I (re)ribstitched the wings on my plane in a trailer. Just the lower wings, of an 18' span plane (each wing panel about 7' long), and it was very tight working space. And tough heating it in late fall, and dealing with fumes in such a small space when painting. Not optimum working conditions.

    Dana

    It's an intriguing concept, but I just don't see it as being practical.
     

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