Business as usual for Weaver, Brittain

Oregon-based Precision Castparts Corp. says changes will be few for two machine shops.

01/12/2013 7:29 AM

01/12/2013 7:31 AM

Local workers shouldn’t see much change now that Precision Castparts Corp. has purchased Synchronous Aerospace Group, which operates long-standing Wichita aviation subcontractors Weaver Manufacturing and Brittain Machine, according to company officials.

In addition to the Wichita entities, Synchronous’ operations include facilities at its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif., Kent, Wash., and Tulsa, Okla.

It employs 690 people at the four locations, including more than 220 in Wichita.

Synchronous was owned by private investment firm Littlejohn & Co., based in Greenwich, Conn.

The sale to Precision Castparts, which was a cash deal, closed last month.

Precision Castparts, a publicly traded company, trades on the New York Stock Exchange and is based in Portland, Ore.

Synchronous is a supplier of complex assemblies and precision components to the commercial aerospace and defense markets.

Despite the sale, it will be business as usual at Weaver Manufacturing and Brittain Machine, said Jim Gibson, executive vice president with Synchronous Aerospace.

“We want to continue doing what we’re doing,” Gibson said.

Weaver, which employs about 122 people, does high-speed complex machining of large structural aerospace components. The company’s main office is at 1005 E. 17th St. It also has operations at 4261 S. West St.

Weaver Manufacturing was founded in 1942 by Buck Weaver, who began as a parts supplier to Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech. Brothers Tim and Dan Farrell bought the company in 1984. It sold to Synchronous in 2011.

Brittain Machine, which employs more than 100 people, was founded by Dewey Brittain in 1966 and produces machines parts and assemblies for commercial, general aviation and defense companies.

Brittain sold to Compass Aerospace in 1998. Synchronous bought Compass in 2005.

The acquisition will help strengthen Precision Castparts’ airframe products segment, company officials said.

“Synchronous is another tuck-in acquisition that will make a strong contribution as we continue to expand our aerostructures capabilities,” Mark Donegan, Precision Castparts chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Their gantry capabilities will enable us to manufacture larger components and to machine as many as four to five parts simultaneously. In addition, we can pull in house the fasteners, forgings, and castings that Synchronous currently purchases on the outside. We will also gain synergies from the proximity of Synchronous locations to many of our existing operations.”

Synchronous sites manufacture mechanical assemblies, such as high-left mechanisms and flight controls and structural components, including wing ribs, bulkheads, and track and beam assemblies.

They perform gantry, hard-metal and high-speed machining, turning, sheet-metal forming and metal and composite bonding.

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