Curtiss-Wright Corporation: Restructuring a Titan of the Aviation Industry


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Founded in 1929, the Curtiss-Wright Corporation was created from the merger of the Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company and the Wright Aeronautical Corporation (of Orville and Wilbur Wright fame, the brothers responsible for the world’s first successful flight). Now a publically traded company of considerable breadth and resources, the Curtiss-Wright Corporation took in a fiscal year 2013 revenue of over $2.5 billion and is staffed by a workforce of 10,000.This year, effective as of January 2014, the company substantially consolidated and restructured their business segments.

Previously, the company’s primary businesses were organized into a flow control segment (with 52% of sales, containing highly engineered products for electro-mechanical systems, nuclear equipment, oil and gas systems, and marine and power products), a controls segment (with 36%, containing defense products such as radar and signal processors, flight systems, avionics, and integrated sensors), and a surface technologies segment (with 12%, containing servicing and testing products such as laser peening, shot peening, and specialty coatings).The company’s new structure is divided into three primary business segments with flow and controls product categories incorporated as subdivisions. The new organization contains: the commercial/industrial segment (with 39% of sales and subsuming flow products for commercial aerospace, controls products for commercial aerospace and industrial, and all surface technologies), the defense segment (with 34% of sales with flow products for defense, power generation and general industrial, and controls products for defense), and the energy segment (with 27% and flow products for aftermarket power generation and oil and gas). This new structure places more emphasis on the end markets rather than arranging businesses according to product type.The magnitude of the company’s product portfolio is overwhelming in scale and scope. Curtiss-Wright’s commercial/industrial segment is divided into three divisions: the industrial division (offering products such as linear & rotary position sensors, joystick controllers, electronic throttle controls, by-wire transmission shifters, mobility control systems, valves, and critical process valves for oil and gas – including isolation valves, butterfly and triple offset butterfly valves, and solenoid, gate and globe valves), the sensors & controls division (offering products for commercial aerospace, aerospace defense, and ground defense applications such as actuation systems, linear and rotary position sensors, and gearboxes), and finally the surface technologies division. The company’s second segment offers all manners of defense solutions.

For aerospace, ground, naval, commercial, oil and gas, and general industrial applications, this segment offers products within a defense solutions division and an EMS division. The solutions division offers products including: air data systems, airborne surveillance, mission computers, data communications, propulsion systems, ruggedized computers, SBC, DSP, graphics, and I/O cards, and much more. The EMS division contains products for naval defense and power generation including: nuclear propulsion system components, aircraft carrier launch and retrieval equipment, instrumentation, submarine equipment, and reactor coolant pumps for the nuclear Westinghouse AP1000 reactor. Finally, the company’s energy segment offers products for nuclear applications, as well as for the oil and gas industries. Products include heat exchangers, tensioning devices, snubbers, fasteners, critical process valves, delayed coking equipment (such as retractable injection devices and coke drum transition spools), fluidic catalytic cracking equipment, and much more.

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