The Greater Toronto Area is increasingly being recognized as one of the world’s leading aerospace hubs and is home to many successful manufacturing companies that support the industry. A perfect example of such a company is Dishon Ltd. Led by president Ilan Dishy; Dishon manufactures complex precision machine components and assemblies in Vaughan, Ontario.
At its core, Dishon is a Tier 2 aerospace supplier that focuses primarily on the commercial aviation industry, but also provides products for the nuclear, space, sub-sea oil and gas, and medical industries. The best way to understand precisely what Ilan and his team do is to think of them as sculptors: they take a block of metal and “sculpt” it into a variety of complicated parts that end up in aircraft, satellites, and other advanced equipment. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, this sculpting was done by skilled craftsmen, but today it is done using a range of advanced machines and technologies. In total, Dishon has over 30 machines, including 3-, 4-, and 5-axis vertical and horizontal computer numerical controlled (CNC) mills, turning machines, electrical discharge machines (EDM), multi-tasking machines, and more.
Dishon was founded in 1980 by Ilan’s father, Ramy Dishy, in North York, Toronto. It began as a tool and die shop, with similar capabilities to hundreds of companies across Ontario. As the years progressed, Ramy realized that in order to stay competitive in the changing business landscape, the company needed to be on the cutting edge of technology. This realization drove Dishon to transition into CNC machining, and in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the bulk of its business was in providing complex machine components to the sub-sea oil and gas industry.
At the same time, Dishon began to break into the aerospace industry as well. This decision turned out to be timely, as the oil and gas industry soon experienced a severe downturn. Instead of panicking or feeling sorry for themselves, Dishon’s managers took this as an opportunity to expand the aerospace portion of their business significantly, and today it accounts for roughly 90 per cent of the firm’s revenues.
Dishon’s success can be largely attributed to its commitment to advanced engineering and technology. As Ilan explains, succeeding in the aerospace industry requires a clear understanding of the science and technology involved, rather than a focus on traditional, manual labour. Ilan finds himself hiring more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates every year from prestigious institutions like the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Engineering. Having such a smart, capable workforce enables Dishon to stay at the forefront of industry trends and maximize its advanced technologies.
The strength of Dishon’s employees also enable the company to better serve its Tier 1 customers, who demand consistency, punctual delivery, and high-quality products. These customers want suppliers who are reliable and able to provide them with products on a long-term basis, which has led to the consolidation of Tier 2 suppliers. Because of Dishon’s capabilities, the company has been able to capitalize on this opportunity for growth and will continue to do so moving forward.
Some of the most interesting projects Dishon has worked on are in the space and satellite industry. The firm manufactured products used in the International Space Station, the Phoenix Mars Lander, and Canadarm. Another fascinating project currently underway at Dishon is the production of satellite parts for the OneWeb satellite constellation, an initiative backed by a number of influential investors that aims to offer high-speed Internet across the globe by adding hundreds of satellites to the atmosphere. Dishon secured the project when OneWeb’s stakeholders recognized its reputation for reliability and product quality.
Dishon’s achievements have also been recognized by both the federal and provincial governments. In 2016, the firm received up to $3 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to expand its Vaughan facility and increase its workforce. Further, in April 2018, the Ontario government announced that Dishon would receive funding through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to invest in new technology and expand its workforce. Due to the capital-intensive nature of the aerospace industry, partnerships such as these help Dishon continue to grow while maintaining its cash flows.
Maintaining growth and profits at such high levels is not without its challenges. Both Ilan and his son, Adir, note that a major challenge for Dishon is the constant search for qualified employees to operate and maintain the company’s technologies. While Dishon’s current employees are doing an excellent job, the increasingly advanced machinery necessitates special skills and training. For Ontario to remain competitive in the context of Industry 4.0, Ilan and Adir recommend exploring ways to get more students involved in college programs in advanced machinery; if Ontario can accomplish this, not only will students have access to interesting, well-paid jobs (like the ones available at Dishon), but companies will be able to use their new equipment more effectively.
Moving forward, Dishon will continue to embrace the unprecedented challenges and opportunities presented in the Industry 4.0 environment. Two particularly exciting concepts that Dishon hopes to leverage are lights-out manufacturing and big data analysis. Lights-out manufacturing would allow the company to operate its production facilities around the clock with very little or no human intervention, enabling employees to spend more time on engineering and advanced technology innovations. Regarding big data, Dishon is approaching a point where all of its machines will be able to upload data to a cloud, clean it, and feed it back to managers in a consumable format. This step will improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process by identifying bottlenecks, predicting system failures, and identifying further areas of improvement.
As Dishon’s success shows no signs of slowing, it will soon be opening another manufacturing facility just down the road from its current Vaughan location. The company’s history highlights the promising opportunities available in Ontario’s advanced manufacturing industry, and will continue to serve as a guiding example for other firms in the years to come. For more information on Dishon, visit their website.
Dishon Ltd. is a supplier of complex precision machine components to the aerospace, nuclear, sub-sea oil and gas, and medical industries. The company prides itself on its consistency, on-time delivery, and high-quality products. With facilities in both the Greater Toronto Area and Mexico, Dishon has a diverse range of manufacturing capabilities, which enables it to cater to its customers’ needs.
- 40 Citation Drive, Vaughan, Ontario, L4K 2W9
- 70,000 square feet in Vaughan, Ontario
- 50,000 square feet in Querétaro, Mexico
- Ilan Dishy – President
- Valerie Wilson – Vice President
- Horatiu Radu – Chief Operating Officer
- Wayne Bacik – VP of Business Development
- Tony Holland – VP of Product Development
- Michael Hellwig – Director of Quality
- Adir Dishy – Director of Finance
Number of Employees
- 336410 – Aerospace Products and Parts Manufacturing
- Manufactures single parts, families of parts, kitting, and partial-to-complete assembly
- Medium-to-high complexity components in both low- and high-volume production
- Expertise is in machining parts that are under 32” or 20” OD
- Extensive experience machining aluminum and a variety of hard metals, including stainless steel, inconel, nickel alloys, and titanium
- Industries include commercial and military aviation, space and satellite, nuclear power generation, and sub-sea oil and gas
- Bulk of the firm’s business is done with tier 1 aerospace suppliers
- UTAS, Safran, MDA, Eaton, Transdigm Group, Heroux Devtek
- Involved with OneWeb, supplying parts for low-cost temporary satellites for this project that aims to deliver affordable Internet access across the globe
- 90–95% of their business is exports
- Exports primarily to the United States, but also to the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Mexico
R&D, Skills, and Educational Needs
- Many employees with strong engineering and programming backgrounds
- CNC turning, milling (horizontal and vertical), electrical discharge machining, grinding, honing, and lapping
- Machines with both milling and turning capabilities, which reduces cycle times
- Focus on hiring STEM grads
- Constantly looking for capable operators who are proficient in running and programming advanced machinery
Dishon Ltd. was founded by Ramy Dishy in North York, Ontario in 1980. Initially, it was a tool and die shop, but over the years the company transitioned into CNC machining. Dishon has always been involved in the space industry, but in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the bulk of its revenue came from sub-sea oil and gas. When oil took a downturn, the company transitioned the majority of its business to aerospace, where it continues to operate and thrive. Today, Dishon is owned and run by Ramy’s son, Ilan. Ilan’s son, Adir, joined Dishon full time in 2017, bringing the third generation of the Dishy family into the company.
- Other Tier 2 aerospace suppliers
- Vice president Valerie Wilson is president of Women in Aerospace Canada and on the board of the Ontario Aerospace Council
- In recent years, Dishon has received funding through both Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund and FedDev Ontario to expand production, invest in new technology, and increase its workforce
- Extensive milling and turning capabilities
- An adaptable, qualified workforce with various STEM backgrounds
- History of significant growth
- Challenging search for qualified operators of Dishon’s cutting-edge technology
- Supply chain integration
- Grow the business outside of North America, especially in Europe