A Boeing Co. unit has awarded a three- to five-year contract to Trident Products Inc. for production of thermoplastic and polymer-matrix-composite spare parts for commercial aircraft.
The award means Trident survived Boeing's intense efforts in recent years to consolidate its vendor base. Boeing Commercial Airplane Group awarded the contract, estimated to be worth $5 million to $7 million, on Dec. 14.
Trident expects to thermoform, pressure form and fabricate more than 1,500 distinct parts for use in cabin interiors, cockpits, wiring and air ducts, and elsewhere, R. Roger Bodemer, Trident president and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview from the company's plant in San Marcos, Calif.
Program cancellations and reduced orders after Boeing's 1997 acquisition of McDonnell Douglas Corp. shook Trident's aviation core.
"We were hit hard," Bodemer said, noting that MDC had been a larger Trident customer than Boeing. Company sales fell to $3 million in 1999 from $4.2 million the previous year, and employment was reduced.
Trident diversified into gaming and medical equipment and found those markets' high service and quality requirements matched its capabilities. Also, the firm continued investing heavily in training to comply with Boeing D1-9000A standards. In October, Trident was named to the commercial airplane group's first Q-100 vendors' club.
McCormick Selph Inc. of Hollister, Calif., contracted with Trident for composite frames to hold controlled explosives that can blow off a military aircraft's transparent polycarbonate canopy for an emergency ejection.
Trident employs 60, operates five thermoforming machines and occupies 48,000 square feet. Composite processes include hand lay-up, vacuum bagging and oven curing.
Bodemer projects 2001 sales of $4.5 million to $5 million with aerospace accounting for at least 60 percent. That is lower than the previous aerospace concentration.
The business was established as Trident Plastics in 1986, began work with Boeing in 1988 and adopted its current name in 1991 when Bodemer and 27 investors purchased the company.
An unexpected 1993 order cancellation drove Trident to find additional funding. ERDA Inc. of Peshtigo, Wis., acquired a majority ownership.
In July, DeCrane Aircraft Holdings Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., purchased ERDA's other engineering and manufacturing businesses and spun off Trident to existing ERDA shareholders, including Bodemer.