From Clean Agent Suppression to Sprinkler and Back to Clean Agent Just In Time – An Encore Success Story

August 4, 2020


This story can also be read in PDF format: Encore FPS Article – FM200 system 7-11-2020 A.


In Remembrance of Tom Euson

August 2, 2020

FSSA regrets to inform you of the passing of Tom Euson, 73, on May 5, 2020, due to complications of throat cancer and heart failure. Tom was born on June 28, 1946 to George and Mary Euson. The oldest of four children, he has two sisters, Marikay and Maureen, and a brother, George. He wrestled and played football at St. Louis U High School.

At age 18, he married his high school sweetheart, Linda, and they had a son, David; who gave Tom his first two grandchildren, Thomas and Courtney. They later divorced and he eventually married Cindy and had two more children, Matt and Aimee; who gave him four more grandchildren, Charlie, JT, Nyden and Oliver. He dated his girlfriend Thuy for many of his final years, and they often traveled together.

Tom Euson
June 28, 1946 – May 5, 2020

In the early 1970’s, Tom started his career working at Detrex Chemical. He later moved to Indianapolis, IN to take a sales position with Ransburg. When he was passed over for the position of National Sales Manager, he left and started his own Sales Representative Company, Finishing Systems. Systecon was one of the companies that was represented by Finishing Systems. In 1986, Systecon notified Tom that the company was exiting the fire detection and controls business, and asked if he was interested in purchasing their inventory. Fire detection and controls had grown into a large portion of this sales business and so, in 1987, he recruited a partner and founded Systecon Suppression Systems. The partnership lasted two years before he bought out his partner and changed the name of the business to 3S. During that time, Tom patented Fyr-Optic, a fiber optic flame detection device used for detecting flame in enclosed moving equipment; it became the standard for detection in overhead bell painting equipment in the automotive industry. Because of his time at Detrex and Ransburg, Tom was recognized as the foremost expert on the protection of automatic, electrostatic painting equipment.

He loved working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the people on his committees. Becoming Chairman of NFPA 33, Standard for Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials, a few years ago was his crowning achievement, He was also a committee member of NFPA 770, Standard on Hybrid (Water and Inert Gas) Fire Extinguishing Systems.

Tom worked at 3S until the day of his death, a total of 33 years. 3S was Tom’s life. It served as his social circle, gave him purpose and allowed him to work with his two sons. Tom loved Indiana University basketball, Notre Dame and Indianapolis Colts football and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. He never missed his grandchildren’s sporting events. He will be remembered for his willingness to help anyone and his contribution to the fire protection industry.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you follow in Tom’s footsteps and get involved by participating as a representative on a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee or support a research project through NFPA Foundation. Information can be found at www.nfpa.org.


Honeywell Hit Hard by Aviation Slump

August 2, 2020

Honeywell workers making face masks in Phoenix in May.
Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

7/24/20

By Thomas Gryta and Dave Sebastian
The Wall Street Journal

Conglomerate says aerospace business suffered in latest quarter and will gradually improve this year

Honeywell International Inc.’s HON 0.89% quarterly sales fell 19% as Covid-19 damage to its big aerospace business offset rising demand for the conglomerate’s N95 face masks and other protective gear.

Revenue fell in all of Honeywell’s divisions during the second quarter with aerospace, its biggest business by revenue, leading the way with a drop of 28% from a year ago. The Charlotte, N.C., company said it expected improvement in the third quarter and total sales to fall more than 15% in the current period.

“This second quarter was one of the most challenging quarters Honeywell has ever faced,” Chief Executive Darius Adamczyk said on a conference call. “The widespread repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and oil-price volatility affected many of our business and end markets.”

Airlines have grounded hundreds of planes and cancelled thousands of flights amid a global slump in air travel since March. This week, American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. said they were tempering expectations for an air-travel recovery, as the pandemic surges in parts of the U.S.

Honeywell makes a range of aerospace systems and technology, from electric-power systems to engine controls, that go into Boeing Co. and Airbus SE jets. Sales in the company’s commercial aftermarket aerospace business fell 54% in the June quarter hurt by sharp declines in flight hours. The company projects aerospace sales will drop more than 25% in the third quarter.

Mr. Adamczyk said that the business saw a bottom in the latest quarter and that he sees gradual recovery in the rest of 2020 and into 2021. “We’re going to continue to see improvement,” he said, adding that a “much more dramatic improvement” will arrive when a vaccine for the new coronavirus becomes available.

“We’re optimistic that certainly there’s going to be a medical solution the first half of next year, which obviously will stimulate a greater level of air travel,” he said. He doesn’t expect the aerospace business getting back to 2019 levels until 2022 at the earliest.

Honeywell is one of the producers of N95 respiratory masks that have been in widespread use during the pandemic. Sales in Honeywell’s safety and productivity segment were off 0.7% to $1.54 billion as demand for personal protective equipment rose but sales volumes in sensing and internet-of-things products fell, the company said.

Respiratory masks are still in shortage as governments world-wide are bolstering their own domestic supply lines, and some hospitals and nursing homes are asking workers to use their masks for entire shifts, or even a week, as they manage limited supplies. Honeywell is adding a supply line in Scotland after the U.K. agreed to buy 70 million masks over 18 months, on top of two new facilities in the U.S.

Overall, Honeywell recorded quarterly net income of $1.08 billion, down 40% from a year ago. Revenue was $7.48 billion, compared with $9.24 billion a year ago.

The company said it saved $500 million during the quarter, making the first-half cost cuts total $750 million. It expects total cost reductions for 2020 of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion, and sees cuts continuing in 2021.

The company has withdrawn its full-year guidance, citing the evolving nature of the pandemic and its effects on its supply chain and the market.

Write to Thomas Gryta at thomas.gryta@wsj.com and Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com.

The original story can be found here.


Massive Fire Tears Through Amazon Distribution Center

July 8, 2020

6/9/20

By Brinkwire

A massive fire destroyed a Southern California distribution facility that was used to ship items to Amazon customers on Friday morning.

Incredibly there were no injuries and as 40 workers ran for their lives as the warehouse collapsed in the blaze.

Half-a-dozen fire departments were unable to stop flames from destroying the sprawling structure in Redlands, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

The nearby 10 Freeway was shut down in both directions for several hours as flames shot high into the air.

The facility operated by the global logistics and supply chain company Kuehne & Nagel was dedicated to servicing Amazon. Business and customer orders will be fulfilled from other sites, spokesman Dominique Nadelhofer said in an email.

‘We are not aware of any injuries and understand that everyone was safely evacuated,’ Nadelhofer said.

‘We are mobilizing support resources for our employees that have been affected. To our knowledge, the cause of the fire is yet unknown.’

One employee told CBSLA that he didn’t see sprinklers or hear any fire alarms.

‘I didn’t hear no fire alarms, I didn’t see no fire sprinklers, nothing,’ employee Chris Smith said.

Amazon said the facility was used to ship large products and that it didn’t expect the fire to impact customer deliveries.

‘We are glad everyone is safe, and thankful for the efforts of the local firefighters and first responders,’ said Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Levandowski.

Redlands City Manager Charles M. Duggan Jr. told Fox 11 there was no connection to the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

‘It is definitely not protest-related. Something happened on the inside of the building that ignited the fire,’ he said.

Fire Chief Jim Topoleski told Fox 11 that in addition to determining the cause, the investigation will look into how such a large fire occurred in a modern building with the latest in fire protection systems.

‘Something overwhelmed the sprinkler system immediately to allow the fire to rapidly grow,’ he said.

‘That is highly concerning, we’re looking at a modern building with the latest advances installed inside the building regarding fire protection systems,’ Topoleski said. ‘It’s highly concerning, that’s why we’re bringing in outside resources to help us look at the cause and origin.’

The region has many enormous e-commerce warehouse and distribution facilities.

The original story can be found here.


Peter Clark – Former FSSA President, Fire Suppression Industry Leader, Passes at 66

June 29, 2020

Peter Clark
February 19, 1954 – June 11, 2020

Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA)

FSSA regrets to inform you of the passing of Peter G. Clark, 66, on June 11, 2020 at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was the loving husband of Janice Clark. They were high school sweethearts and shared 42 years of marriage together. He is also survived by his two daughters and their husbands, Julie and Anthony Colletti, and Jenna and Matthew Anderson; and two grandchildren, Quinn and Chloe Colletti. He was predeceased by his parents George and Catherine Clark and his sister Jennifer Hill.

Pete was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada February 19, 1954, and was the son of George and Catherine Clark. He moved to Dayton, Ohio as a boy and later to Morristown, NJ in middle school. Pete graduated from Morristown Beard High School in 1972 and Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1976.

He was elected President of the Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA) in 1999, and also served as Chair of the FSSA Manufacturers Division. Pete spent his entire professional career in the fire protection industry. He worked for National Foam in Lyonville, PA as International Sales Manager, then went to Ansul and relocated his family to Marinette, WI. At Ansul, he was Vice President of Marketing. He was the Vice President of Sales at Kidde-Fenwal, and moved to Boston. Pete then joined Notifier, initially looking after the Mideast and Canada as International Sales Manager and then promoted to Vice President of Marketing. Throughout his career, he was known for being a mentor and friend to many.

Pete retired in 2013, spending more time with family, while walking and enjoying the Connecticut shoreline. He took up photography as a hobby. In 2014, Pete obtained his United States citizenship and was so proud to be an American.

He was an avid sports fan, but especially loved the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox. Above all else he adored his family and all the special times they shared together. He cherished all the moments he got to spend playing with his grandchildren – they loved their Papa immensely. He will be remembered for his sarcastic sense of humor and ability to make everyone laugh.

The Clark family is holding a private graveside service at Alder Brook Cemetery in Guilford, CT. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford, CT 06492; https://www.heart.org/.


Boeing vs. Raytheon (UTC) – Which One Has the Right Stuff?

June 29, 2020

6/12/20

By Joseph L. Shaefer
Seeking Alpha

Boeing (BA)

I wrote one of my recent articles about Boeing back on Jan. 27 titled “Why I Won’t Be Buying Boeing.” I implied but should have ended the title with the words “For Now.” I have owned the company’s shares before and, if BA fixes its problems, I will be delighted to own it once again. But for now, I will still not be buying it. After my current analysis, I find the company today, as then, “in transition.”

For the sake of the nation and Boeing’s workforce I hope the company is successful. When I wrote the article Boeing was $316 a share. It closed today at $189.51.

In that article, I was not piling on to the negative news about Boeing’s much-publicized failure to exercise quality control with the 737 MAX aircraft. That has been the subject of incredulity and disdain for more than a year. I saw no reason to state what had previously been stated.

Instead, I pointed out that Boeing’s problems go deeper than the 737 MAX fiasco. I cannot read a single issue of my Defense News without seeing some new horror with the troubled KC-46 Pegasus program. This is the Air Force’s new tanker aircraft. Our nation’s jet fighters are worthless without fuel. Our nation’s airborne tankers are in desperate need of replacement. Once stalwart Boeing is now $4.6 billion in the red for delivering a product that was declared unsafe by the US Air Force.

In fact, in addition to FOD (Foreign Object Debris) like screwdrivers, wrenches, soda cans and candy wrappers inadvertently left behind in critical components, there have been three “Category 1” deficiencies. These are what the Air Force classifies as problems “which may cause death or severe injury; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restricts the combat readiness capabilities of the using organization; or results in a production line stoppage.”

How could such a storied company for more than 100 years fail to exercise the same brilliant engineering and uncompromising quality control that had characterized Boeing for decades?

I have probably flown in more Boeing commercial aircraft than any other person. I have traveled the world via 737, 747 (still my favorite commercial airframe), 767, 777, and, most recently 787. While in the service I flew in Boeing’s C-17, KC-135 (and RC-135) and CH-47 heavy lift helicopter. I can honestly say I never felt unsafe in any of those aircraft over many years. (Well, no more unsafe than any rational person who gets into any helicopter with any understanding of the aerodynamics and glide path of helicopters!)

In recent years, there was a changed culture at Boeing, foisted upon the company’s ingenious and accomplished engineers and dedicated workforce by management that was mostly interested in jacking up the stock price to get massive bonuses. They could instead have been fulfilling the promise and respecting the legacy of a great American company. It was Boeing, after all, that provided America and our allies the massive aerial firepower to bear on our enemies in existential battles in WWII. William Boeing would be rolling over in his grave.

Not only will many potential passengers decide to wait some time (six months? a year? more?) before flying in the 737 MAX even after it’s certified, but Boeing’s management still seems tone deaf to the advice of its engineers and workforce.

For instance, they have stated they will make the $4.6 billion they are losing on the KC-46 program by selling it to other nations. I’m not so certain. If you were the Indian or French or Republic of Korea defense chief, and you have watched the US Air Force send the product back time and again to ensure it met the contractual specifications, you might just have second thoughts.

When will I once again buy Boeing?

When the new management team proves itself willing to listen to the workforce and the engineers. The new senior leadership is not part of a clean sweep, but they might just heed the problems of the recent past and be willing to make this juggernaut a powerhouse once again.

When the new management realizes they cannot afford to lose military business just at the moment new orders for civilian aircraft are in the dumps.

When the company can follow up its sales of Harpoon and SLAM-ER (Stand-Off Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response) missiles to other nations with even more such sales, in head-to-head competition with the Big Dog in missiles (see below.)

When management can refrain from buying back shares at elevated prices.

And when I can see these sorts of changes with the stock price at a reasonable price.

Meanwhile…

Raytheon Tech (RTX)

I have written elsewhere that this has been a dangerous rally. I believe it still is, and yet I have been buying quality issues all along. “Danger” doesn’t mean I advocate sitting on the sidelines muttering, “It just shouldn’t be, it just shouldn’t be.” The time to fish is when the fish are running. Among my purchases for clients, there was a suggestion to subscribers that they conduct their own due diligence to see if they agreed that the “new” Raytheon was an absolute steal the day the merger was consummated.

I also bought and advocated for others to review my favorite spin-off from the merger, Carrier Global Corp (CARR) – but that’s the subject of a future article. (Both are in our model portfolio.) For now, here’s what I told my subscribers about RTX:

Raytheon Technologies (RTX) dominates electronics, precision weapons, radar and sensors. With the merger of equals with United Tech, it adds military and civilian components and engines.

Value Line rates Raytheon Tech A++ for financial stability. It earns a “1” (top rank) for safety. (You can see both if you subscribe to Value Line. Otherwise, it lies just out of reach beyond the paywall.) RTX is not cheap. Bur I agree with Value Line that it is a rock-solid company, clearly focused on the future, and with an outstanding balance sheet. That’s my idea of a Survivor. I’m paying a fair price for a great company with what I see as a clear runway to serious growth.

A number of other analysts think Raytheon “was” a fine company when it stuck to battlespace air, ground, sea and space sensors, electronics and precision weapons, especially in nth generation missile development. These analysts believe the recent merger to be ill-timed because it introduces United Tech’s Collins Aerospace’s aircraft avionics, electronics, actuators and more, and Pratt & Whitney jet engines to the mix. Both have military application, but both also sell into a currently weak civilian market for new commercial airplanes.

I disagree. True, this is what pre-merger Raytheon was best known for:

Source: Raytheon

So let me dive right in with why I believe this company is a great long-term buy. Rather than cite individual sources every other paragraph (!), I should note that my information comes primarily from Defense News, the standard for fair and unbiased reporting on the entire industry, as well as a healthy dollop from the pre-merger applications and correspondence from both companies.

 

What United Technology Brings to the Table

Collins Aerospace, the successor to fabled Rockwell Collins, does not build airplanes. Collins does not make helicopters. But mostly, Collins makes airplanes perform better and, on the commercial side of Collins’ business, the passenger experience safer, healthier and more comfortable.

I will venture two predictions about post-COVID-19 air travel:

First, any corporation that can afford it will be doing a cost/benefit analysis of buying business jets vs. sending their senior people, their salesforce, their engineers and others who must travel to visit vendors and customers on a commercial airplane.

The benefits are many. In a bizjet you can fly your team from point A to point B rather than waiting in line for security, flying to Hub 1, hoping to connect on another flight to either Hub 2 or, with luck, getting to Point B and getting out of the airport – only to repeat the process on the return. I believe bizjets of all sizes will be in increasing demand. Embraer even makes a very aerodynamic and fuel-efficient airplane (using RTX’s Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines!) that seats 76 passengers in a commercial aviation mode. It could instead seat 15 engineers, three IT people, and a dozen or so support staff in first class style that goes directly from point to point.

These newer, more aerodynamic aircraft also cost less to fly and maintain. With them the “stranger danger” of a possible COVID-19 resurgence is lessened.

Some airlines will buy these sorts of airplanes in the sardine-can mode. I believe there are companies that regularly send enough people to consider these, or other regional jet aircraft, as an alternative to such travel.

Second, while there’s a surfeit of large aircraft now parked in various desert airport locations, those aircraft may need significant upgrades to meet new regulations for pilots as well as for cabin crew and passengers. If commercial airlines are not ordering new airplanes, that’s not good news for Boeing. It’s not, however, necessarily bad news for RTX’s Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries.

You see, existing aircraft need to be made more passenger friendly with, at a minimum, better air filtering and ventilation, easier-to-clean interiors, more bathrooms with state-of-the art cleaning technologies. Different seats might not be a bad idea, either, with greater safety designed directly into the cabin.

Collins does all that.

Avionics upgrades are cheaper than new airplanes or even new engines, making it easier and safer to fly in either uncrowded or increasingly crowded skies as time goes by.

Collins does all that.

In commercial aviation, Collins does much of what passengers see when they board the airplane. This includes seating, lighting and engineering, oxygen systems, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, galley systems, fire protection and evacuation systems, water and waste systems, advanced lavatory systems, video systems and customized cabin interior reconfiguration and certification services.

But that’s not all. Building upon a decades-long reputation as Rockwell Collins, the company is one of the world’s largest providers of power controls and actuation systems as well as electric power generation aboard the aircraft and the ram air turbines that help to control and land the aircraft in the event of serious power loss. In the “front office” (the flight deck) Collins Aerospace provides the latest avionics technologies to ensure efficiency and safety.

Collins brings this same ability to provide cabin, platform, flight deck, advanced avionics, servicing, in-flight support and ongoing maintenance services to business jets manufacturers as well.

Of course, newer engines can make an airplane perform better with lower use of fuel, typically the most expensive part of any flight, while lowering the carbon impact of air travel.

Pratt & Whitney does that.

Indeed, GE and Rolls Royce, P & W’s only real competitors in big jet engines for commercial and military applications, are way behind the curve. Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine is the propulsion wonder that powers every single US defense service’s version of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter as well as Northrop’s new B-21 bomber. I predict P & W will own the market for fighters and bombers for years to come.

In fact, the F135 engine has the potential to enjoy a life-cycle value of more than $1 trillion. The current market is for some 3,200 F-35s for the US and US allies. Writing about the F135 engine, famed defense analyst and Forbes contributor Loren Thompson noted it “…is the only propulsion system suitable for use on the single-engine F-35, not only because of the engine’s power and reliability, but because of its stealth features which enable the fighter to be invisible to enemy radar and heat-seeking missiles.”

The F135 produces twice the thrust of the engine used on the F-16 fighter that the F-35 fighter will replace.

For commercial aviation, although the pie may be currently shrinking, I think GE and Rolls Royce are behind the curve. I expect RTX’s share of the pie to grow. Pratt’s Geared Turbofan engine might one day generate more revenues than the F135 engine! It’s that much more advanced than its competitors’ offerings.

I leave my discussion of the United Tech side of the merger with this chart:

It’s from the Congressional Budget Office and it speaks to the wear and tear on our current aircraft from nearly 30 years of counterinsurgency warfare, the Gulf War, the 2003 war in Iraq and, America’s Longest War, in Afghanistan. We need new aircraft – like the F-35 – as well as significant upgrades to existing aircraft.

I hope the above lays to rest any notion that United Technologies’ two offerings in the recent merger, Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney, are somehow albatrosses that will slow the growth of the new company. They are instead keys to the diversification from Raytheon’s traditional businesses.

 

What Raytheon Brings to the Table

Missiles. Actually, missiles, air defense systems and serious cybersecurity solutions. With 60,000 engineers in the new company, I believe the greatest number of any company in the world, you can innovate regularly and successfully.

As you will see, Raytheon does much more, but cutting-edge missiles for defense and offense are what Raytheon is best known for. The Patriot defensive missile system has been a workhorse for more than 30 years. It has been upgraded numerous times, sometimes incrementally, sometimes with major new Block changes. It was a godsend in the Persian Gulf War to remove Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

In theater, we called Scud missiles “omnidirectional” because once launched, no one knew where they were going to land, including the Iraqis who launched them.

Scuds were a cheap surface-to-surface liquid propellant missile developed by the Soviets for sale to client states during the Cold War. Scuds could hit anywhere, anytime. That was where the Patriot defense system swung into action. In the event the Scud showed a trajectory that indicated it would be a threat to US or coalition forces, its high-performance radar systems would lock on to it and the advanced aerial interceptor missile would be launched to destroy it.

Raytheon also is the company behind other well-known air-to-air and air-to-ground missile systems like the Hawk, Sparrow, Tomahawk, Sidewinder and Maverick, many old news today but well known for many years.

Today, Raytheon functions with two primary divisions. The first of these is Raytheon Intelligence & Space. Headquartered in suburban-DC Arlington, Virginia (the parent company is in Waltham, Massachusetts), this division is responsible for the satellite-based sensors for missile defense and earth observation, electronic warfare, high energy lasers, airborne sensors like specialized radars, and electro-optical and infrared sensors.

This division also creates and conducts satellite signal processing, cyber operations, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and acoustic signal processing. It provides development, operations and maintenance cybersecurity for all “.gov” domains. They also have responsibility for the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System ground control. Heavy hitters.

The second division, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, creates ground-based and sea-based radars for air and missile defense, designs naval radar and sonar, and produces torpedoes and naval mine countermeasures. Having been one of the early inventors and innovators of radar, Raytheon knows a thing or two about this field.

Precision guided munitions are essential in the new battlespace we encounter today. Raytheon was an early, and remains a key, player in this space. In addition to its many specialized missiles, this division also produces specialized drones and air-launched decoy systems, counter-drone defense systems, non-lethal directed energy weapons, and ground vehicle sensors and weapons.

Some of these will be quite familiar to military veterans, like the AMRAAM, the TOW and the Javelin anti-tank missiles, the Stinger man-portable air defense surface-to-air missile, and the various radar systems to defend against incoming attack, most recently with upgrades to those used in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle anti-ballistic missile systems.

I saved one for special mention. The Phalanx Block 1 version was in use as long ago as the Persian Gulf War. It was then primarily a naval weapon used for incoming supersonic missile defense. However, there’s also a land version, called the Centurion. A client sent me a 2019 video of the Centurion version’s use by Israel, defending against fast-burning incoming missiles using (relatively) cheap 20mm rounds to take out a much more expensive enemy missile.

If you are interested, you can see it here:

Israeli Phalanx Close-In Air Defense System (by Raytheon)

Since about half the comments after this short video claim this is just CGI and not real, I also include a longer video lasting about 10 minutes that describes the weapons system in appropriate detail. Some of these comments are from veterans who have spent more time in the desert or the mountains than in front of a video game and attest to the power of what we used to call “a wall of lead.”

 

My Conclusion

Raytheon claims on its website that it’s “the most trusted global partner in missile defense.” I believe that’s true.

It’s also a trusted partner in offensive as well as defensive weapons.

It’s a trusted partner to the US intelligence community, the electronic warfare community, the anti-ballistic missile community and almost every other facet of national defense.

With exoatmospheric weapons that can intercept and engage incoming ballistic missiles beyond the earth’s atmosphere and detect, track, target, intercept and destroy an enemy’s offensive missiles traveling at hypersonic speeds, RTX proves its worth to the defense of the US and our allies every single day.

It’s important to note that RTX is not only the world’s biggest builder of radars and missiles – that’s the hardware side. But what sets Raytheon apart are the blindingly-fast software and precision networks that integrate the hardware into a system of systems that can defend against offensive weapons that are becoming smaller and faster.

There are many companies that build the various platforms, but in my opinion no other company has the engineering skills and the innovative processes to establish the sticky web of protections all across the electromagnetic spectrum, the goal being seamless interaction with all the other war-fighting domains on land, in the air, at sea and in space.

DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is looking more and more to move toward what Raytheon already has embraced within its culture: More low-cost and therefore readily replaced and deployable assets, moving away from expensive platforms that might be asymmetrically destroyed by an enemy with lesser hardware but more dispersed low-grade inexpensive weaponry. Think drone swarms instead of a battleship. (There is a reason battleships are no longer built deployed.)

Using this “web” approach, an F-35 no longer needs to rely upon on-board sensors to find the enemy, because that aircraft is connected to other fighters – and often to other manned and unmanned aircraft, sensors on the ground and in satellites above the earth.

These arrays need not all come from Raytheon. This is another part of RTX’s culture that sets it apart from other defense contractors. No one has a lock on innovation so why be proprietary?

I believe the Defense Department’s way of telling contractors what they want, then selecting a single corporate program manager and lowest-cost bidder, is yesterday’s news. This locks taxpayers into big programs run by big companies and results in big over-runs when, to get the contract, companies purposely under-bid what they believe the real costs will be. Open architectures, where every trusted supplier can join in, are the only way to go forward to stop enemies who are already doing just that. The new Raytheon agrees.

Source: 2019 RTN-UTX Merger Website

In conclusion:

60,000 engineers under one “roof.”

$74 billion in revenues.

RTN was a Dividend Contender, UTX a Dividend Aristocrat. As a combined company, the current free cash flow covers the annual $1.90 dividend (2.7% yield) by a factor of 3.

Promising new technologies on the drawing board.

Life-saving systems protecting Americans and our allies right now.

That is what I see when I analyze Raytheon.

Safe skies and good investing.

The original article can be found here.


Tyco Initiates COVID Prevention

May 18, 2020

4/9/20

By John Liesveld
EagleHerald Publishing

MARINETTE — As a critical manufacturer of fire protection products and fire prevention infrastructure for companies and organizations across the globe, Tyco Fire Products LP represents one of those essential industries exempt from Gov. Tony Evers’s emergency order “Safer at Home,” which he issued March 24.

The order spelled out various and enforceable regulations and restrictions community-wide. It resulted in the closure of all non-essential businesses like movie theaters, swimming pools, social clubs, fitness centers salons and spas. The effort was a move to help prevent and/or reduce the risk of further community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Accordingly, and like many essential services and industries exempt from the order and still in operation, today Tyco fortified its efforts to assist in curbing potential exposure risks to help “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19’s impact across the community.

“We are a critical manufacturer,” said Tyco Sr. Manager, Marketing Communications Jim Cox. “As such our employees are working and we are committed to keeping them, as well as our customers, healthy.”

Beginning today, all employees at the three local Tyco facilities located on Stanton Street and Industrial Parkway in Marinette and at its warehouse in Menominee will be required to submit to body temperature screening before entering the facility. Those policy changes come after various other policies and procedures affected by Tyco to reduce potential exposures and spread of the virus among its employees.

A non-contact forehead temperature measurement will be administered to all employees upon arrival. While the employee remains in his/her vehicle, screeners will take his/her temperature. If an individual’s body temperature extends above or below the range of 97 to 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit he/she will be directed to a secondary checkpoint. After a 5- to 10-minute wait, the screener will administer another test. If the temperature still resides outside the range the employee will be instructed to return home. According to Cox, those workers turned away will receive the pay they normally receive for a sick day.

Tyco Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) official will follow up with any employee sent home to ensure they take necessary measures to maintain their health. EHS officials will also discuss when that employee might return to work.

Employees who fall within 97 and 99.9 degrees will be permitted to enter the facility and report to work.

The new policy represents one more step to help flatten the curve.

Flattening the curve refers to all efforts made in a community to help reduce the peak number of hospitalizations and potential deaths, which, if left unchecked, could tax healthcare resources should a sudden surge of patients occurs. Such a situation is currently underway in New York City where the number of hospitalization continues to stretch thin the city’s healthcare resources and medical staff, which can further complicate a health emergency.

However, according to Marinette County Emergency Management Administrator Eric Burmeister, who continues to meet weekly with the medical examiner’s office, Marinette County Public Health and officials from both Aurora Medical Center — Bay Area and Bellin Health, the resources and staffing at local facilities remains sufficient.

“The reports that we are getting at this point, staffing doesn’t seem to be a problem for us, locally,” Burmeister said during a weekly media briefing on Wednesday. “Even the medical surge capabilities (in Marinette County) are not impacted yet.”

Marinette contains a large number of industry employees who work essential jobs. Many similar businesses and industries are required to maintain community health and safety measures as they continue to operate under an exemption from the Stay and Home order. However, the order mandates those companies to apply rigorous and meticulous methods to ensure the health and safety of employees as well as the community in which they operate. The Marinette County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) maintains lines of communication with those facilities to advise on preventive measures.

“We’ve had questions from employers and some of the larger foundries that have occupational nurses … with questions about things that they can be doing,” said the Marinette County Public Health Officer Molly Bonjean. “And we are happy to work with them and guide them and provide any resources that we can.”

According to Cox, Tyco’s EHS department determines the suitable and necessary measures to safeguard against COVID-19 and temperature monitoring represents only the latest effort. Those measures are based on various factors associated with each facility. Some include increased cleaning activities to ensure that areas frequently subjected to human contact receive sanitation at least three or four times daily. The company also implemented strict social distancing policies by staggering break times to avoid over-congregation of people in and breakrooms. Tyco officials also modified lunchrooms to accommodate no more than 10 people at one time.

And when the 6-foot social distancing policy is unattainable due to necessary tasks or other operations, Cox explained that Tyco officials utilized physical barriers.

Moreover, Cox pointed out that in the event external supply lines for cleaning and sanitizing products run dry, Tyco has the ability to manufacture its own sanitizing solution.

“We have a process on-site to make our own sanitizing spray so that we can disinfect the facility,” Cox said. “So we have that as a safeguard in case we run out.”


Boeing and Airbus Brace for Prolonged Downturn

April 30, 2020

 

Already hurt by the yearlong grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft, Boeing reported its second consecutive quarterly loss. PHOTO: ANDY RAIN/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

4/29/20

By Doug Cameron and Andrew Tangel
The Wall Street Journal

Aerospace companies outline survival plans as airline customers reel from near-collapse of air travel

The world’s biggest aerospace companies outlined survival plans that include thousands of job cuts and raising fresh funds as their airline customers reeled from the coronavirus pandemic and the near-collapse of global passenger air travel.

Boeing Co., rival Airbus SE and their engine supplier General Electric Co. detailed their initial responses to the crisis that has engulfed the industry after travel restrictions and fear of flying grounded more than half the global jet fleet.

The once-booming aerospace industry has suffered one of the fastest and sharpest changes in fortunes, forcing the manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic to prepare for a sustained period of reduced demand for their planes that, optimistically, could take three years or more to reverse.

“We will be a smaller company for a while,” Boeing Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun told investors Wednesday. Already wounded financially by the yearlong grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft, the company reported its second consecutive quarterly loss alongside plans to cut jetliner production and shed 10% of its workforce.

Mr. Calhoun outlined a modest near-term plan: catering to airliner retirements instead of fleet growth, and holding off on designing new aircraft. The airlines and leasing companies that helped Boeing and Airbus build up a trillion-dollar order backlog of more than 13,000 jets are already starting to cancel deals and defer new aircraft until a hoped-for recovery in airline travel.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and Deutsche Lufthansa AG , which have already idled most of their jet fleets, are among the carriers that have said they expect to emerge—with government aid—far smaller than before the pandemic crippled the industry.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said Wednesday the European plane maker plans to “right-size” its business, embarking on a wide-ranging cost-reduction effort and cutting jetliner production initially by a third, having struggled in recent years to keep up with demand for its planes.

Suppliers such as GE and Safran SA, which together make engines for both plane makers and supply spare parts and interiors such as aircraft seats, are cutting costs and laying off staff.

The International Air Transport Association, a trade group, expects passenger air traffic to halve this year compared with 2019, ending a decadelong growth surge driven by low-cost airlines and the demand in emerging markets.

Aerospace suppliers have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic because grounded planes don’t require as much maintenance or spare parts. Larry Culp, GE’s CEO, told investors that visits to its repair shops will likely be down 60% in the current quarter from a year ago.

“This is an unprecedented decline in the aviation market and is likely to be challenging for a while,” Mr. Culp said in an interview Wednesday. “We are well aware that it may take a while” for air travel to recover.

Boeing’s services unit, which the company once envisaged would triple in size to have $50 billion in annual sales, is also suffering.

Airbus, which had been gaining market share because of Boeing’s MAX woes, was in better financial condition than its U.S. rival, and said it can reshape itself without government support.

Boeing plans to raise cash and support a supply chain of about 17,000 companies. It burned through $4.7 billion in cash during the latest quarter and said it is considering applying for federal stimulus help, as well as borrowing more from private lenders. The company didn’t detail what type—and how much taxpayer aid—it might seek in coming weeks.

Both plane makers said they were optimistic that airline traffic would resume their long-term growth paths. They just don’t know when.

“We believe this industry will recover,” Mr. Calhoun said, with federal backing for the U.S. airline industry and overseas government efforts providing crucial support for the broader industry.

The planned production cuts outlined by Boeing and Airbus provided suppliers with more certainty about short-term demand, and the sector rallied on the plane makers’ outlooks. Boeing, whose shares have fallen 60% so far this year, closed up almost 6%; Airbus rose more than 10%.

For airlines, the pace of recovery hinges on securing emergency cash and addressing the patchwork of national travel restrictions imposed as the pandemic ripped across the world.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the European plane maker plans to ‘right-size’ its business.
PHOTO: BALINT PORNECZI/BLOOMBERG NEWS

IATA, the trade group, is coordinating a series of meetings with governments this week to standardize policies such as the health screening of passengers and staff at airports and onboard aircraft. Some carriers, , such as Lufthansa, are already requiring that passengers and crew wear masks.

Airlines now expect barely 10% of pre-pandemic flying in the current quarter. The busy summer travel season in which many carriers usually make the bulk of their profits isn’t expected to herald much improvement, but carriers are starting to make tentative plans for a resumption of flying later this year.

Domestic markets are expected to be the first to reopen, partly because national flying policies can be coordinated and passengers may be wary of traveling overseas. International routes that typically use larger planes could take several years to reach pre-pandemic levels, said Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the IATA.

The production cuts reflect those expectations. Boeing said Wednesday that by 2022 it will halve production of its 787 jetliner to seven a month and trim output of the larger 777, which is typically used on longer routes.

Boeing plans to resume 737 MAX output this quarter at a low initial rate, rising to 31 a month next year. It had planned to produce about twice as many MAX jets before regulators grounded the aircraft in March 2019 following two fatal crashes.

It is planning for regulators to clear the restart of deliveries from the third quarter. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it has no timeline for approving the MAX and would clear it to carry passengers once the agency deems the aircraft safe.

Boeing, which employed 161,000 staff as of Jan. 1, said it plans to reduce head count by 10% this year, including what Mr. Calhoun said would likely involve involuntary cuts. The company, which is also a major defense contractor, said most of the cuts would come from its commercial-airplane and services arms.

Reduced plane deliveries and sales of spare parts combined with the impact of temporary factory closures and the continuing impact of the 737 MAX crisis led to a quarterly loss of $641 million. Sales fell to $16.9 billion from $22.9 billion.

GE is cutting 10% of the 52,000 employees at its aviation unit and plans to furlough thousands more. Mr. Culp said it would look to make some of the immediate cuts permanent, while GE’s aircraft leasing business is preparing to repossess some of the 1,000 jets in its fleet from customers who have fallen behind on payments.

Airbus plans to furlough staff in France, Germany and the U.K. after eclipsing Boeing last year as the world’s biggest plane maker by deliveries. Airbus said its focus now is cash preservation, as airline customers defer and cancel orders.

Airbus said it burned through €4.4 billion ($4.78 billion) in free cash in the first quarter with the impact set to worsen in the second. It reported a net loss of €481 million during the period, compared with net income of €40 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 15% to €10.6 billion.

“We think our capacity to compete and be strong on the long term is intact, if not improved, as the impact of Covid-19 on our main competitor, on top of the previous difficult situations they had to manage, is probably making us stronger,” Mr. Faury said.

First among Airbus’s potential advantages is its A320 family of jets—a single-aisle rival to the Boeing 737 MAX—including a new long-range variant still in development. The two models once competed fiercely for orders from airlines, which prized their fuel efficiency and flexible range.

Boeing said the pandemic has complicated its own plans to develop new aircraft. Mr. Calhoun said the company will have to wait for a market recovery before designing all-new aircraft tailored to airlines’ needs: “It’s going to take us a while to sort that out.”

— Benjamin Katz and Thomas Gryta contributed to this article.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com and Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com.

The original story can be found here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-and-airbus-brace-for-prolonged-downturn-triggered-by-coronavirus-11588199021


Inspection Report Shows Problems with Suppression System Prior to Fire

March 30, 2020

3/6/20

By Lucas Geisler
ABC17 News

SALINE COUNTY, Mo. — State fire investigators noted past problems with a fire suppression system at a gas station that burned down in November.

The report from the Missouri State Fire Marshal said the hood suppression system attached to grills in the Dairy Queen restaurant weren’t properly installed to Laboratory Underwriters standards. The work order from Keller Fire and Safety also noted the system filters were dirty and that the appliances were “not properly covered with correct nozzles.”

The report from inspector Chad Hildebrand obtained by ABC 17 News ruled the fire that destroyed the gas station and restaurant off Interstate 70 on Nov. 1 as accidental. Three teenage workers at the DQ said a hot grill began to catch fire around 7 p.m. that night. The trio said they could not find anything to put out the fire with, and their manager advised them to get out of the building.

The marshal’s inspection found heavy damage along the wall by the grills. Damage to the building made it difficult for the inspector to figure out if the suppression system, which was still intact, actually worked.

“The tank to the system felt extremely light as if it was empty, however there was not a gauge present on this system,” Hildebrand wrote. “The fusible link attached to the system was not located.”

The workers, whose names were withheld because they are juveniles, said they never saw the hood system activate, which could have tamped down the fire when it started.

Firefighters with the Blackwater Fire Protection District, which led the initial response, said the suppression system put out a fire in 2017 at the DQ. Chief Tim Doty said the system put out a grill fire, but he was unsure if the system was ever recharged.

Hildebrand said he got a hold of the latest inspection for the suppression system, done by Keller on July 22, 2019. The inspection noted several problems, including the improper installation. The system was also not connected to the fire alarms in the building. The technician left a report with suggested fixes, but Hildebrand’s inspection does not say if Fast and Friendly LLC, which owned the gas station, followed the advice.

The inspection also noted the system had not been discharged prior to inspection.

Business owner Abdul Quddus told Hildebrand he did not remember a time when the suppression system went off at Stuckey’s. He also “denied having a fire in the business in the past.”

One of the teenage workers said they were working the counter when the store became busy around 7 p.m. The worker told Hildebrand the grill appeared “blacker” than usual and cooked the hamburger patties quickly.

A second worker said they began working at 4:45 p.m. An outgoing cook told them that the grill was “cooking hotter than normal,” according to the report. The worker said the grill appeared “cherry red” at one point. They turned the grill heat down in response.

A bit later, the worker said they put ten patties on the grill. When they tried flipping them, the worker said flames began to shoot from the surface of the grill.

The teenagers tried throwing several boxes of fry salt on the grill to put it out, the second worker said. When that didn’t work, they notified their manager, who advised they all leave the store.

That manager, Cali Hart, told Hildebrand she saw a male customer try to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Hildebrand said fire crews did find an empty extinguisher by the back door.

The original story can be found here.


Pictures from the FSSA 38th Annual Forum

March 9, 2020

This year’s FSSA Annual Forum took place on February 20-24, 2020 at the Margaritaville Resort in Orlando, Florida. Here are some of the many photos taken at the event!