The newly formed Timken Aerospace Aftermarket Solutions business unit is at Heli-Expo this week (Booth No. 3718) to discuss its expanded capabilities brought about by Timken’s acquisition last October of the Arizona turbine engine parts manufacturing firm Extex.
Larry Shiembob, general manager for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) at the new facility in Mesa, Ariz., said that Extex, before its acquisition by Timken, “did a very good job of supplying parts. Our key message here at Heli- Expo is that now we have the ability to do much more.” Shiembob was president of Extex when the Gilbert, Ariz.-based parts provider became part of Timken. The operation was then moved several miles to Timken’s 85,000-sq-ft facility adjacent to the Boeing and MD Helicopters plants next to Mesa’s Falcon Field airport.
Shiembob noted that Extex had been performing under several FAA parts manufacturer approvals (PMA) for the Rolls-Royce 250 series engines along with doing foundry work and component machining. “Now we can offer much more than engine parts. I thought we were busy as Extex, but now as part of the Timken organization we can service customers in so many different ways.” He noted that by acquiring Extex, Timken gained a number of skilled, knowledgeable personnel “and a lot of additional intellectual property in the form of PMAs. The deal expanded Timken’s footprint in the helicopter market significantly and also brought a lot of PT6 PMAs to us, which dovetails nicely with the Timken PT6 overhaul facility in Tucson.” The Tucson operation also overhauls Bell Helicopter drivetrains.
“The result,” Shiembob continued, “is an end-to-end turnkey solution for helicopter operators. Before, Extex was just PMAs with a focus on engines. Now, with Timken, we can provide the whole MRO capability. I don’t think you’ll find other companies with that wide range of capabilities.”
Timken’s relevance to the world helicopter market is based on a combination of detail parts availability and bearing repair at the company’s Los Alamitos, Calif. facility along with nine bearing, transmission/ gearbox and service facilities in the U.S., bearing facilities in England and France, one precision assembly facility in the Netherlands and a precision and complex parts facility in China.
Extex began operations by manufacturing helicopter engine parts and servicing those parts. At Timken, the unit still has about 50 percent of its business in the rotorcraft market after branching out into PT6 engine and Honeywell APU support.
Has the current state of the economy affected Timken’s aerospace aftermarket business? Sheimbob said that “Customers are delaying maintenance wherever they can, but most of ours need their aircraft to work and generate revenue. As long as they’re in business we’re in business.” He noted that adding Extex to its lineup “demonstrates Timken’s commitment to the aftermarket. They have made a number of other acquisitions, which illustrates that commitment, especially in difficult economic times, to the importance of providing the customer a complete solution.”
While Timken acquisitions over the last few years have focused on the aftermarket, the aerospace unit also works with manufacturers in developing advanced turbine engines. Timken also produces helicopter transmission products including tail rotor, intermediate, main rotor and engine gearboxes and transmission test stands.
Timken was founded in 1899 in St. Louis, Mo. In the 1950s, the company, as Timken Roller Bearing, became one of the first to supply the aerospace industry with precision bearings.
Timken’s aerospace business operates a 160,000-sq-ft technology and production center in Lebanon, N.H. In addition to complete engine overhaul services, it offers bearing and component reconditioning programs.
Manufacturing and service locations include Keene, N.H.; Canton and New Philadelphia, Ohio; Rutherfordton, N.C.; Wolverhampton, UK; Moult, France; and Chengdu, China. Other operations take place in Los Alamitos, Calif.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Manchester, Conn. (transmissions and drive train components).