M1 COMPOSITES, A STORY OF PASSION, PRIDE AND DETERMINATION
An eventful beginning
When M1 Composites began operations, it designed and manufactured composite parts for racing cars. But its founder, Lorenzo Marandola, came from the aerospace industry and his expertise was in the repair of parts and the extension of the life of commercial and military aircraft
In March 2012, M1 Composites signed a letter of agreement with its launch client, AVEOS. On Sunday, March 11, 2012, while looking at the end-of-day news bulletin, Mr. Marandola learned that AVEOS had filed for bankruptcy. He no longer had a customer in the aerospace industry. Despite being shocked and disappointed, he looked to see if he could turn the situation to his advantage. Mr. Marandola analyzed the impact on Air Canada of the closure of such a large supplier and reworked his business plan accordingly.
An important link
Mr. Marandola’s passion and determination convinced Air Canada to have faith in M1 Composites, which had only three employees at the time. It hired the company to repair and maintain composite or metal alloy parts to extend their service life. The relationship between M1 Composites and Air Canada has grown ever since, and the airline even became its sponsor under the MACH initiative. The purpose of this program is to optimize the performance of Québec’s aerospace supply chain in order to increase its international competitiveness. The MACH initiative uses supplier-client sponsorships and audits to identify gaps in companies’ management and manufacturing capacity. M1 Composites is now MACH 4 certified. Mr. Marandola points out that Air Canada continually encourages him to reach new heights and surpass himself.
M1 Composites is first and foremost a specialist capable of developing solutions to repair and extend the useful life of a part. It is a designated maintenance and repair organization (MRO) and a recognized design and approval agency of Transport Canada. If necessary, M1 Composites is able to manufacture a part that needs to be replaced. Contrary to what its name suggests, M1 Composites’ expertise is not limited to composite materials. It extends to exotic metal alloys as well as to the interaction of metals and composites in an assembly.
Because it works in the field of repair, M1 Composites has to be able to adapt quickly to the demands of its customers, which vary depending on the season. More than 90% of aircraft damage occurs on the ground and the probability of an accident increases during winter conditions. So, when it snows in New York or Chicago, M1 Composites faces increased demand.
The next step
M1 Composites is also participating in Aéro Montréal's Accelerator 360° initiative, which aims to enable Quebec SMEs to cope with changes in the global aerospace supply chain. As part of this initiative, companies are encouraged to develop collaborations as well as mergers & acquisitions.
For SMEs, the Accelerator 360° features four stages: the first is the recruitment phase where companies are evaluated. Those selected are grouped according to their different strengths and synergistic potential. Then comes the stage of preparation with market development experts who assist and train companies in their strategic planning process. The third step is propulsion, which consists of validating the chosen market and tackling it. The fourth step is the setting up of partnerships and/or merger & acquisition.
M1 Composites is at the third stage and therefore looking for partners. In order to broaden its service offer, it is looking for one or more machine shops with expertise in special processes. M1 Composites is ready to work with SMEs that do not yet have experience in the aerospace field. Beyond the balance sheet, Mr. Marandola is looking for companies where the pride of a job well done is an important value, as is the case for all M1 Composites employees.