Safran USA: Employee Spotlight
February 21, 2018
Bruce Zimmerman, Engineering Manager of Carbon Manufacturing, Safran Landing Systems
In celebration of National Engineers Week, Safran is highlighting the contributions of a Walton, Kentucky engineer working for Safran Landing Systems, the world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems.
Who: Bruce Zimmerman, Engineering Manager of Carbon Manufacturing at Safran Landing Systems.
What: Zimmerman oversees a team of 13 engineers responsible for the production of the carbon disk brakes used on a suite of modern jetliners: the 737, 777, and 787 from Boeing; and Airbus’ A320 Family and A350 XWB aircraft. He also manages capital projects such as the current facilities expansion in Walton, Kentucky – a $140 million project.
Where: The Walton facility where Zimmerman works is one of three Safran Landing Systems brake production sites worldwide. “Maintaining common manufacturing practices between France, the U.S. and Malaysia can be a challenge,” he said. “However, each site has a great team and we share ideas to ensure we progress together.” Zimmerman also had the opportunity to spend two years in Malaysia, where he played a key role in setting up a new Safran Landing Systems carbon brake facility. During the two-year mission, he managed the building construction, equipment installation, start-up, hiring and training of the company’s manufacturing engineering and maintenance staff.
Why Safran: In 1999, Zimmerman was looking to advance his career and apply his knowledge of induction heating systems with a company that was working with advanced technologies and growing economically. “I found that Safran (then a Messier-Bugatti division) was building a new factory in Kentucky. The company offered international opportunities, a growing market share and aggressive capital investment.” He’s been with Safran ever since.
Keys to success: “Innovation! In our manufacturing processes we are constantly focusing on innovative ideas,” said Zimmerman. Examples include changing the design of furnaces to improve their quality and capacity; new programs to reduce emissions and recycle water; and redesigning utility support equipment to improve overall equipment effectiveness.
Why did you become an engineer: “I’ve always been interested in how and why things work,” said Zimmerman, which, when coupled with a desire to make something better than it is today, led him toward electrical engineering as his field of study.
Advice for a student considering a career in engineering: “Think about what you really enjoy doing. The engineering field encompasses some aspect of nearly everything we do today, especially as technology continues to consume our lives. Study hard and take every opportunity for an internship in order to better understand where a career may take you.”