We often think of the road and sky in terms of their day-to-day efficiencies or larger-than-life possibilities. We fume over a pothole and a flight delay, and delight in an effortless rush hour or seat upgrade. Sometimes, we even envision driverless cars and regular missions to Mars. But how often do we consider what goes into all of that? In the need to get from point A to point B, the typical commuter doesn’t consider the mechanisms that allow him to get where he’s going.
And that makes sense, of course. If you’re rushing to get to work or anxious to get on vacation, then you’re likely not going to consider the composites that make up the plane that take you there. Thankfully, Woodward has already thought these machines though, and its work has become an integral part of the industrial and aerospace fields. While we may not be sending everyday people to Mars just yet, Woodward is ensuring that people do move around Earth with speed and ease.
In fact, as society expands its vision from typical roads and skylines toward thoughts of the future, Woodward is working to meet those expectations with sustainable projects that promote natural resources as reliable fuel. We may still not recognize the changes on our commutes, but that’s fine. As is the case with most machines, when they work well — and when they work sustainably, which is even better — then we’re satisfied.
Oh, the places you’ll go
When it comes to things as large as airplanes or as intricate as electrical grids, it’s hard to have a grasp on each and every component without actually building one yourself. We won’t try to list every last product that Woodward makes since that would only help a manufacturer. But we will say that Woodward independently designs, builds, and upkeeps a wide variety of aerospace and industrial parts across commercial, government, and private use. Put more simply, Woodward breaks down into two distinct parts: aerospace systems and industrial systems.
Its aerospace market is comprised of systems, components, and solutions for military and commercial planes and helicopters. The company is specifically interested in propulsion systems for turbine powered planes — so, what gets your standard Delta flight to takeoff — as well as actuation systems and motion control solutions. All of what is designed, built, and serviced within the aerospace market is to manage everything that keeps a plane or helicopter airborne: fuel, air, combustion, and motion. Some examples of what is being produced include the Boeing 787, Gulfstream G650, Blackhawk helicopter, and the F-35 fighter jet.
And how about its industrial market? This segment is, pun intended, more down to earth. It concerns everything related to the design, production, and conservation of what keeps things moving on land: fuel, gas, electricity, fluids, and mechanics. Most of what we’re talking about has to do with the progression of power, things that distribute electricity evenly or pump gas effectively to make an object go. It can be anything from pumps and valves on the gas turbines of cars and trains, or power converters on electrical grids — all of the mechanisms that harness fossil fuels, process electricity or use gas to run systems on land and sea. Its products include alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids, as well as naval vassals. Woodward has been a leader in the factory automation of a number of fields, too, including automotive assembly and robotics.
Since Woodward’s catalog stretches across air, land, and sea, it’s difficult to describe the exact scope of its impact. However, that’s part of its impressive appeal: Woodward covers a challenging range of subjects, yet its products are still lauded for being strong and dependable. If you need proof of Woodward’s leadership, it even has a worldwide collection of certifications.
Onward and upward
A lot has changed since this company began in 1870. For one, it isn’t a family-run operation any longer, although it had been for more than a century. It still has facilities in its founding town of Loves Park, Illinois, although its headquarters is now in Fort Collins, Colorado. And now more than ever, it’s committed to a more sustainable future.
The products it designs and manufactures for aerospace and industrial contracts are being made to reduce emissions, thanks to research and development processes that have environmental standards in mind. When such standards meet new products — including a new building contract with Airbus announced last fall — Woodward will continue to make engines and other like-minded products that are cleaner, stronger, and more reliable.
We may not always notice the many details that go into a plane, or a car, or electricity, but with Woodward’s help, we can continue to rely on their presence with increasing reverence for their power and possibility.