Automotive company races into the space business
Innovation and technology driven by human space exploration have changed the world in many ways. Just ask John Couch, vice president of Futuramic, an enterprising Detroit-area automotive supplier. He will tell you the space industry saved their business, made it thrive, and in doing so, saved jobs.
Founded in 1955 as a supplier to the booming auto industry, Futuramic Tool & Engineering of Warren, MI, made a name for itself as a quality parts manufacturer. Leveraging that success, the owners prepared to transition the company to new capabilities. Then the automotive industry started to change radically, threatening revenues – and jobs. The company had to take a new direction.
"It’s a family-owned business,” explained John. “They had the foresight to build the business and applied that same intuitive leadership to changing its course toward aerospace support.”
In 1998, Futuramic made large investments in new capital equipment more suited to serving the aerospace industry. The company also worked to earn global quality certifications such as ISO9100 and AS9100.
Boeing commissioned the company to design and build the first three major weld tools for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stages, creating the tooling needed for production of NASA’s next big rocket. In 2013, Futuramic received the Small Business Subcontractor Excellence Award from NASA for its quality work performed on SLS.