Made in the Northwest: Cygnus, Inc.

Cygnus
Cygnus, Inc. was founded in Ponderay, ID in 1988.

PONDERAY, Idaho – It’s a relatively small company in Ponderay, but Cygnus, Inc., with its 80 employees, plays no small role in contributing to our country’s defense industry through the manufacture of aerospace parts.

“We manufacture aircraft sheet metal parts and assemblies. Some machine parts,” explained Cygnus president Jack Ambrosiani.

This includes things like brackets, clips, some gussets, doublers and largers parts.

Cygnus’ clients include the big three companies in aerospace: Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

“We do an awful lot of work for Northrop,” said Ambrosiani. “We’re on the F-35 program, both Northrop and Lockheed, and some commercial work for Boeing through Triumph in Spokane.”

Cygnus produces up around 200,000 parts a year in a few thousand often very complex configurations.

The parts typically start from scratch as raw sheet metal. Then, that metal goes into fabrication on Cygnus’ CNC mills and routers, which can cut a lot of metal at very high speeds.

“The mills, the routers are the backbone. You can’t live without them,” said Ambrosiani. “So that’s the CNC equipment that carry on all day long.”

Many parts are put through a deburring machine to clean up any rough edges and then a press brake machine, which bends the metal to a specific angle.

But what sets Cygnus apart is that it also does its heat treating and chemical processing in house.

“We basically have three companies in one,” stated Ambrosiani.

After going through its heat treat process, Ambrosiani said the metal parts are “extremely strong and rigid. That is necessary for the strength of the aircraft.”

Cygnus’ chemical processing house was the first to be certified by Lockheed Martin. It gives a protective coating to prevent corrosion.

Ambrosiani said about 80% of the parts also require painting.

“Very high quality primers that some are abrasive resistant, some are fluid resistant, some are special for fuel tank coatings.”

A Faro arm and Cygnus’ coordinate measuring machine ensure the accuracy needed for the aerospace industry’s stringent specifications.

“You couldn’t live without them, because you have to be able to measure down to a thousandth of an inch in various, complex forms,” said Ambrosiani.

And after nearly 35 years in business, Ambrosiani said Cygnus plans to keep reinvesting in its company, while continuing to serve its mission.

“I’m most proud of the team we’ve put together. What they’ve contributed, what they’ve contribute to the industry, what they contributed to the defense industry in protecting our country.”

And that’s quite a bit for a small company in North Idaho.