Materials & Assembly

Aerospace Companies Boost Reach With Composite Buys

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Re: Consolidation Outliers
Ann R. Thryft   12/5/2011 12:09:18 PM

Thanks for all of your comments. I was surprised to read about these buys, Rob. I think Alex's and Beth's point is well taken and we need to remember how differently things work in the military sector. I agree, this looks like a military version of consolidation, which means not very much, and it's to control supply more than anything else. In the case of Kaman's purchase of Vermont, and Vaupell's purchase of Russell, it looks pretty straightforward and more like synergy. In the case of GrafTech and FMI, it looks more to me like access to different markets. 

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Re: Consolidation Outliers
Beth Stackpole   12/2/2011 6:36:43 AM
I think it makes sense that companies in this area would merge for just the reasons Alex notes: This is an expensive product to manufacture and there is a limited customer base, so by combining forces, you expand your targets.

Beyond working the automotive sector for new growth, wind turbine blades are another bright spot for composite providers. Not sure that has the scale to replace spending opportunities in the defense sector, however.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
What's driving the acquisitions?
Rob Spiegel   12/1/2011 2:28:03 PM
Nice story, Ann.

Do you know what's driving the acquisitions? Are the buyers seeking technology, new markets, or marketshare? I'm also curious about the global nature of this market. Are their major players in Europe and Asia?

User Rank
Two ways to go
naperlou   12/1/2011 9:42:31 AM
I find the recent consolodation interesting.  With the coming wind down in defense spending, these companies may need to find other markets fo their products to ensure growth.  The automotive industry may be one such. 

Many years ago, in the aerospace industry I witnessed an interesting phenomenom related to this situation.  I worked for a spacecraft manufacturer that made it's own composites.  We're talking about taking in raw materials and baking the stuff ourselves.  It was very cool, and our materials scientists came up with some amazing structures.  Needless to say, though, the quantity of manufacture was tiny and we were never going to sell this stuff outside.  At the time, our parent bought another company with a competing spacecraft plant some 60 miles away.  We had been bitter competitors for decades.  They had a totally different approach.  Their compsites were made by a company whose main market was railcars.  Who would have thought.

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Consolidation Outliers
Alexander Wolfe   12/1/2011 8:35:55 AM
This is an unusual dynamic because typically, you'll see consolidation when a technology is further along the road toward commoditization. However, with composites, you're talking about a hugely expensive manufacturing process. Thus I submit we will never see commoditization in the traditional sense where the price comes down. What we're seeing here I think is the defense analog of consolidation, where only a few players can afford to produce what's at its core a high end technology. And since there are only a few producers, the price to end users stays high. The one fly in the ointment here is that automakers have far more of an interest than aerospace customers is getting the costs down, so that may have an impact somewhere, somehow.

Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Caterpillar Inc. demonstrated this week at Design and Manufacturing Philadelphia that heavy industry can reap big benefits from 3D printing.
The most efficient and ecologically sound automation system may be "eco obsolete" — an older system sustained with obsolete parts.
Flexible electronics will expand beyond its high-profile role in fitness over the next five years, potentially aiding in the treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Design News contributing writer Fred Eady strolls down the memory lane of the homebrew embedded WiFi designs he then wrote reference books around.
With two new tools from LUXeXceL, you can now create and print custom lens designs optimized for your particular application.
Design News Webinar Series
10/1/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
8/13/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/20/2015 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 5 - 9, Standards for the Internet of Things (IoT)
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7

Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service