New President at Crane Aerospace Sees Bright Future Ahead

Paris Air Show » 2013
Brendan Curran
Brendan Curran, president of the Aerospace Group of Crane Aerospace & Electronics.
June 19, 2013, 3:30 AM

Brendan Curran, President of the Aerospace Group of Crane Aerospace & Electronics, had been on the job only six days when AIN sat down with him on Monday at the Paris Air Show. Yet he seemed completely comfortable in his new position, which is not surprising when you look at his resume. Before joining Crane, Curran held a number of positions of increasing responsibility with United Technologies, most recently Pratt & Whitney-Commercial Engines, as vice president of strategy, business development and partnerships. Before that he held executive positions at Hamilton Standard. Both Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Standard are divisions of United Technologies. Curran holds a master’s degree in international business/operations and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.

What do you consider to be the company’s key strengths in relation to its competitors?

I’ve been in the business 28 years, so I had Crane as a supplier and knew of it as a business partner. Crane is known for either inventing the products or the technologies behind it. Over time, it’s continued to be a leader in these technologies and in the forefront. Crane has an inherent capability within engineering that I think is the key to sustainability, to continue to reinvent as the market changes.

Crane has four major solutions within the aerospace group: cabin systems, which does actuations for seats; fluids, which does fuel boost pumps and lube and scavenge pumps; landing systems, which is landing-gear and brake controls; and sensing, which does proximity and pressure sensors. We keep innovating off of these cores.

We have a lot of products today and continue to build on them. We have 30,000 landing gear controls, 25,000 fuel-flow transmitters and more than 100,000 fuel pumps in the field. We repair the products we produce and also support the industry.

As a former client of Crane what did you think about the company?

I never heard about it, which is a good thing. Your ideal supplier is someone who pulls his own weight and brings something to your program. But if you wake up in the morning worrying about a supplier, that’s not good. “Quiet excellence” is a good thing. When things are going well with a client, it’s quiet.

What are your objectives for the next six months?

We’ve had some big wins recently. Pratt & Whitney on the [geared turbofan] for our lube and scavenge pump. Embraer on the E2 platform, which is really critical for us. So my first objective is to meet those companies that my company has done a good job in just acquiring, or sustaining. Pratt & Whitney is new, but we were the incumbent on the E-Jet.

The second is pursuing additional opportunities with Boeing on the 737 Max, which we feel we’ll be well positioned for. We’re on the NG, so we think we can bring some added value and technology to it, including the fact we’re on the current 737, which brings a benefit with respect to spares and other factors. There are also some opportunities with the Airbus A320neo, which we’ll be looking at going forward.

The third one—when you look at the OEMs’ backlogs in the coming six to seven years—is that we need to have a big ramp-up in production in the next five years before these new models start hitting. So our next focus is on operational capacity, because we’re pretty much on each airline aircraft in production.

Crane Group has seen impressive growth in value since 2009. How much of this growth is attributed to the Aerospace Group?

Aerospace and Electronics, of which I run the Aerospace part, accounts for roughly 27 percent of Crane overall. Crane, in general, has grown right across the board, but I don’t know if we’ve grown faster or slower.

What do you consider to be the prospects for the Aerospace Group over the next five years?

I think they are very, very good. I look at what [aircraft] we’re on, which is the majority of the platforms out there. I think we’ll see high demand continue, as the new platforms come out. We have great positions on the 787 and Comac C919, and then there’s the Mitsubishi, CSeries and A320neo. About 60 percent of our revenue is in OEM sales and the rest in aftermarket.

Do you expect to see any ill effects from sequestration?

From what I understand, it’s not a huge portion of our mix. A lot of our military sales are foreign. The second reason is that we are really well diversified across all our platforms, so we think we’re in a pretty good position.

Any other thoughts after six days in your new job?

Crane has a unique place in the industry. The opportunities and what Crane can do are something special. This shows up with our partners and customers across the board. It’s a pretty exciting place.

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