A combination of an acquisitive nature and close attention to lean manufacturing processes has brought Circor Aerospace into the Top 100, taking the final place in the rankings.

Headquartered in Corona, California, but with operating locations spread over four continents, the company's activities in 2010 could be broken down into three main categories - fluid and pneumatic controls (50%), landing gears (34%) and electromechanical controls (16%).

Although it obviously aims to stimulate organic production, acquisition is "core to our business system", the company says. "We prefer to acquire a company that fits within our core product line-up."

Among acquisitions that began to contribute to the company's bottom line in 2010 was the former Castle Precision, of Sylmar, California, which manufactures landing-gear components and subsystems and provides maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to both the commercial and military aircraft markets.

Its manufacturing capabilities and product lines complemented Circor Aerospace's existing range of landing gear and actuation products, such as complete landing gear for the Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy transport helicopter. Last year, Circor achieved the first stage of integrating its landing gear model line into production.

Circor's operations in this field began with MRO activities on the CH-47's landing gear. Its streamlined process in this field impressed Boeing and the US Army sufficiently that it was given the opportunity to move from maintaining and overhauling the gear to manufacturing it.

Work also began to accelerate on design and development of speed sensing and control instruments such as landing gear wheel tachometers for Airbus's A350 XWB, which it is developing under contract to Messier-Bugatti-Dowty.

The A350 XWB also yielded contracts to design and develop the new airliner's landing gear door actuators and hydraulic control manifolds.

Circor's French operations were also bolstered last year by the merging of the ADN (Ateliers de Navarre) facility into Circor Bodet. ADN has expertise in AC and DC motors, plus stator, rotor and solenoid and bobbin assembly.

The company's European activities are bolstered by its Moroccan facility in the Tangier free-trade zone - Circor Maroc (formerly Atlas Productions) - which specialises in low-cost manufacturing of aerospace components, proximity to the European market, plus free-trade agreements with the European Union and USA.

Source: Flight International