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Curtiss-Wright Controls Sharpens Focus

Curtiss-Wright Controls, parent company of Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC), announced on January 9 the formation of a new business unit, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS). The new unit will incorporate both CWCEC and the firm’s former Electronic Systems unit. Ref.

The ultimate parent company, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, was formed in 1929 through the union of fifteen companies affiliated with aviation pioneers Glenn Curtiss and Wilbur and Orville Wright. Today the firm, with annual sales exceeding US$ 2 billion, operates in three primary market segments: Flow Control, Motion Control and Metal Treatment. Defense-related products and services comprised approximately 40% of overall income, covered under the Motion Control segment.

Curtiss-Wright Controls, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the Motion Control segment of the overall company. Both the former Embedded Computing and Electronic Systems units were part of this group.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC) was formed in 2002 through the acquisition of certain assets of Lau Defense Systems. Over the next several years, CWCEC grew to be a powerhouse in the military/aerospace segment of embedded computing, particularly on the merchant boards side. Growth was both organic and via acquisition. Succeeding acquisitions included Collins Technologies, Peritek, Systran, Novatronics, Dy 4, Prima Graphics, Synergy Microsystems, Indal Technologies, Pentland and Vmetro asa.

Military, Aerospace and Defense has, historically, been not only a primary market for CWCEC but also one of the fastest growing and most stable segments for merchant computer boards, in particular. In 2010, this market segment accounted for US$ 694 Million in shipments; this is projected to increase to US$ 912 Million in 2013. CWCEC was the number one supplier of boards to this market segment, with a market share of substantially greater than 17%. GE Intelligent Platforms was number two, with a market share slightly above 14%.

However, the projected 131% 2010-2013 increase in Mil Aero board shipments is actually less than the projected shipment growth for boards in general – 153%. Even this may prove to be optimistic, if certain massive cuts proposed for the military budget are implemented. Therefore, suppliers to this segment should be pursuing aggressive marketing and customer service policies in order to grow not only market share but actual shipments as well.

The establishment of the new Defense Solutions business unit within Curtiss-Wright Controls will not only address these issues, but will also produce a larger, yet more nimble, operation. It will also provide a sharper focus to Curtiss-Wright’s embedded efforts, targeting bread-and-butter elements of the business and reducing distractions from less critical aspects of the business.

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