Updated: Jun 9, 2020
At the end of 2019, the U.S aerospace industry was in its 18th year of consecutive growth, with local aerospace supplier SIFCO* noting “Aerospace markets that we serve continue to be robust”. In its recent report Alliance Bernstein noted the industry was on track for a 5% increase in flight traffic in 2020, which would have required adding 6,000 airplanes to the existing fleet over five years. But as leisure travel has come to a grinding halt with the spread of COVID-19, this demand has all but evaporated.
The return of flight traffic is tied strongly to widely available vaccines and anti-viral drugs, and as such, timing is currently uncertain. Both Boeing and Airbus have announced production cuts in recent weeks in response to reduced demand from airlines. Aerospace analysts are conservatively expecting that Coronavirus issues may be resolved by late 2021, at which time they expect airlines will start to replace their old fleet with fuel-efficient, more environmentally conscious aircraft.
While the outlook for the rest of 2020 may look grim, opportunities for technology and business development remain. On May 7th, GCP hosted a webinar to talk about Federal Lab and Defense Innovations and Technology Opportunities for Business Development. The event included 4 panelists representing various federal institutions that continue to seek collaboration and other opportunities with the private sector.
Dr. Marla Perez-Davis, Director of NASA Glenn talked about partnership opportunities with NASA. NASA is working with the private sector on research and testing around electric propulsion systems with the long-term goal of making air travel less damaging to the environment. NASA also offers a software catalog with hundreds of programs available for free download to use in a wide variety of technical applications. NASA Glenn worked with Kent-based Emergency Products + Research (EP+R) on their creation of the AMBUSTAT sterilization system that is used to disinfect pre-hospital areas, like ambulances. Both institutions have continued to partner on a next-gen device to combat COVID-19.
Paul Zielinski, Executive Director of the FLC, a consortium of 300+ federal laboratories and 14 federal agencies chartered by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986. Paul talked about the importance of Technology Transfer (T2) and its impact on the development of various modern technologies including a coronary stent introduced by Boston Scientific in 2012, and Apple’s “Siri” virtual assistant, used by millions daily.
Brooke Pyne, Director of S2MARTS, NSTXL, and Shaun Davis, Business Operations Lead at Naval Surface Warfare Center, discussed S2MARTS work with non-traditional defense contractors and NSTXL’s work bridging the public and private sector to accelerate and discovery, development and deployment of innovative technology solutions for U.S. Military missions and installations across the globe.
For more on this webinar and details on resources and collaboration opportunities with all these entities, please review the recording of this event.
*Member feature: SIFCO
Founded in 1916, Cleveland-based SIFCO Industries produces forgings and machined components for the Aerospace and Energy industries. The company creates components for commercial aircraft created by Boeing and Airbus, the U.S. military aircraft, helicopter, and vehicles, and for the industrial gas and steam turbine markets. SIFCO’s vision is to "be the forged products supplier of choice" to the markets it serves.
In 2019, SIFCO’s Cleveland facility was recognized by the Forge Industry Association with that organization’s Safety Award for most improvement in SIFCO’s segment for safety. SIFCO has invested significantly in this site in recent years, improving infrastructure and technology, and increasing capacity with additional equipment and personnel.
SIFCO was awarded 2019 Curtiss-Wright Excellence Award, issued by Curtiss-Wright Company annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved the quality targets. Also in 2019, SIFCO was awarded the 2018 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. SIFCO is one of only very few performing suppliers to receive Gold Delivery/Gold Quality level recognition. This is the second consecutive year that SIFCO has proudly maintained this performance level.