Scott DeSmet, VP, Business Development and SalesFounded in the year 1986, California-based DPI Labs has carved its niche in the aerospace industry with its bespoke engineering services and state-of-the-art cabin management systems and solutions. SBA certified DPI Labs is a women-owned business and brings a rich experience of over 35 years to the table. The company offers everything from cabin management systems, secure voice communication and data, high definition audio/video with conference capability, to touch screens for personal, galley, and cockpit, air gaspers, light solutions along with a whole family of annunciators and switches. With such an extensive arsenal of products and services, DPI has deployed its cabin management systems on numerous commercial, private, head of state, military, and VIP aircraft. However, according to Vicki Brown, the President and CEO of the company, what sets DPI ahead of the competition curve is its preeminent engineering services. “The major differentiator for us is our ability to work closely with our customers from identifying their challenges to proof of concept all the way through machining and assembly,” she says. DPI boasts of its deep heritage in the aviation landscape wherein the company was one of the early adopters of LED lighting and worked with Air Force One in secure communications, which speaks volumes about the company.
The originator of integrated cabin management systems, DPI’s proprietary SmartLink Cabin Management System has evolved from incorporating simple membrane switches to cutting-edge touch-screens, voice automation systems, and 4K entertainment systems. “DPI has also designed drop-in replacements for cabin management systems, adding advanced technologies such as touch screen, HD equipment, LED lighting, and more without modifying the woodwork, saving time and money for customers,” mentions Scott DeSmet, VP, Business Development and Sales, DPI Labs. This particularly helps in evading obsolescence, a significant issue in the market, wherein procuring legacy electronics becomes a challenge. DeSmet goes on to say that recently DPI was approached by a government contractor to engineer and manufacture a critical component, which is no longer available on the market and DPI successfully created the solution for them. In similar circumstances, the company has often stepped in and provided the required solution, be it a Black Box, switch systems, or TEMPEST tested equipment on C-37’s, C-130’s, BBJ’s all the way to Air Force One.
DPI’s versatility is worthy of note. Brown recounts an instance wherein a completely sealed stainless membrane switch—that DPI had devised for an elevator application— found use in a critical application. The product was perfectly suited for operating underwater, withstanding biological/ chemical cleansing and apt for their application.
The major differentiator for us is our ability to work closely with our customers from identifying their challenges to proof of concept all the way through machining and assembly
To address the needs of the fractional jet market, operators were on the lookout for a solution that could configure and reconfigure all the preferences of the users—language, music, lighting. As such, DPI developed a solution that enables a biometric or identification card that met the needs of a customer.
Drawing special attention to the approach that DPI endorses while assisting customers, Brown mentions that, at the onset, the DPI team engages in conversation with its clients, comprehending the challenges they are faced with and the outcome they are expecting. The DPI team’s expertise lies in the ability to understand the unique pain points of its clients and then presenting a solution that tackles them efficiently, economically, and in an integrated manner. From a blank piece of paper to production, DPI’s ingenious engineering team guides the clients through the process seamlessly. Moreover, being a lean organization, DPI is nimble and is conscious of its overhead. “No job is too small for us to have a look at,” comments Brown. “We may already have a solution.” Evidently, DPI’s esteemed client roster comprises premier organizations such as Bombardier, Boeing, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and more.
DeSmet narrates a case study wherein DPI assisted one of its customers who was sole-sourced on a particular annunciator with a substitute form-fit function to what they were looking for. “In the process, we reduced the needs for certain tooling and the part count by 50 percent. Our engineering department was able to standardize them on an array of common components that could be used in a family of annunciators and switches,” DeSmet elucidates. Far exceeding the client’s expectations, DPI built a solution in a more efficient and cost-effective way utilizing newer technology and then extrapolated from that a new family of products built on many common parts. Needless to say, the economics were evident.
For the future, DPI aims to focus on the sales and marketing arena, evaluating the best path to reach more customers. The company is looking forward to implementing solutions in both commercial airlines and private corporate jets.