Sandia LabNews

Sandia, Rockwell Collins sign MOU

Sandia, Rockwell Collins sign MOU

Sandia and avionics and electronics industry leader Rockwell Collins have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that represents a new maturing and flowering of a relationship that goes back to the mid-1990s. The MOU, which officials from Sandia and Rockwell Collins signed on Aug. 25, anticipates increased cooperation between the two organizations in technology R&D, manufacturing, and business development.

The MOU is statement of principles rather than a specific program of work; joint R&D efforts between the signatories will be organized under a companion umbrella CRADA (cooperative research and development agreement), similar to umbrella agreements that Sandia has in place with a number of strategic private-sector partners.

"We believe this relationship has the potential to leverage our complementary capabilities to bring technology to the market faster," says Dr. Barry Abzug, Rockwell Collins senior vice president of corporate development. "We look forward to collaborating with Sandia on key national security challenges."

Rockwell Collins is a "leader in lean," says Jerry Langheim (15500), Director of Industrial Relations in the Military Technology and Applications SMU (formerly the Emerging Threats SBU). "They are world leaders, absolutely, in high-consequence, high-mix, low-volume advanced manufacturing processes," says Jerry.

Rockwell Collins has adopted the principles of "lean electronics," a company-wide initiative to enhance customer value through the elimination of waste in process. The company has been recognized by leading experts for its application of "lean" principles beyond the manufacturing environment.

Jerry says Sandia has developed a strong record of strategic successes in its partnership agreements with large corporations such as Boeing, Goodyear, General Electric, and Lockheed Martin. "With this MOU," he says, "we’re expanding the Shared Vision concept (Lab News, Aug. 22) to show how strategic partnering with medium-sized corporations can advance our mission."

Sandy Sanzero, Manager of Emerging Threats Dept. 1316 and a key liaison between Sandia and Rockwell Collins, emphasizes that the expanding relationship with Rockwell Collins is all about mission, a mission grounded in developing and delivering national security solutions.

"Sandia is a mission-driven organization," Sandy notes, "while Rockwell Collins is market-driven. Both of us share a vital interest in national security issues. Through this relationship, we can advance each others’ fundamental purpose."

David Williams (1400), another key point of contact with Rockwell Collins, notes that the electronics pioneer — heritage company Collins Radio was started in 1933 — has "incredible expertise in exactly the right areas" to serve as a strategic Sandia partner.

According to the language of the MOU, Rockwell Collins and Sandia "will collaborate in areas of mutual interest and value in ways that require minimal changes to existing process and investment strategies for both parties. As the relationship matures, the parties intend to explore whether process and strategy should evolve . . . in order to take better advantage of what each party offers the other, and to move toward a shared desire to reduce the risk in bringing new technologies and products forward to respective customers and markets. . . [the two signatories] will commit the time and effort to learn each other’s capabilities to activities, such as selective participation in the other’s planning and review events on a regular basis. . . . The parties will seek to align and collaborate in selected technology roadmaps and development efforts where both parties could benefit areas consistent with each party’s existing business/mission plans."

David notes that Rockwell Collins is a premier provider of both military and commercial aircraft avionics. "In fact," he says, "there’s hardly an aircraft flying anywhere in the world without Rockwell Collins avionics on board." Says Al Romig, Sandia VP for National Security and Arms Control and formerly Sandia’s chief technology officer, "This relationship will enhance the Labs’ ability to meet the ever changing national security needs."

Jim Tegnelia, VP of DoD Programs Div. 15000 and head of Sandia’s Military Technology and Applications SMU, says, "Rockwell Collins, through its agile manufacturing capabilities, will help us deliver cutting-edge technology to our warriors in the field faster and more effectively than we ever have before."

Div. 14000 VP Lenny Martinez, who heads up Sandia’s manufacturing capabilities, says "Rockwell Collins is very highly regarded as a premier manufacturer of high-consequence electronics." Lenny notes that because of its substantial military business, Rockwell Collins is able to run classified and unclassified manufacturing lines simultaneously. "That’s a vitally important consideration for us," he says.

Div. 1000 VP Pace VanDevender, chief of Sandia’s Science, Technology, and Engineering Foundation SMU, says, "Clearly, Rockwell Collins places an extremely high value on advanced research and development in the pursuit of transformational technology solutions, as does Sandia. The cooperation between their science and technology organization and ours will be of great benefit to the nation."