Rockwell Collins

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Rockwell Collins, Inc.
Public
Traded as NYSECOL
S&P 500 Component
Industry Aerospace, Defense
Founded 1933
Headquarters Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Key people
Kelly Ortberg: President and CEO
Products Avionics
Revenue $5.24 billion USD (Increase 5% FY 2015)[1]
Number of employees
30,000 (2016)
Website rockwellcollins.com

Rockwell Collins, Inc. is an American multinational company headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa providing avionics and information technology systems and services to governmental agencies and aircraft manufacturers.

History[edit]

Arthur Collins founded Collins Radio Company in 1933 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It designed and produced both shortwave radio equipment and equipment for the burgeoning AM Broadcast industry. Collins was solicited by the military, the scientific community and by the larger AM radio stations for special equipment. Collins supplied the equipment to establish a communications link with the South Pole expedition of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd in 1933.

In 1936, Collins had begun production of the 12H audio console, 12X portable field announcers box, the 300E and 300F broadcast transmitters. Throughout World War II, the 212A1 and 212B1 replaced the 12H design. Collins became the principal supplier of radio and navigation equipment used in the military, where uncompromising performance was required.

In the post war years, the Collins Radio Company expanded its work in all phases of the communications field while broadening its technology. This moved Arthur Collins into a more active role as CEO guiding department leaders holding significant responsibilities. New developments such as flight control instruments, radio communication devices and satellite voice transmissions created great opportunities in the marketplace. Collins Radio Company provided communications for America's role in the Space Race, including equipment for astronauts to communicate with earth stations and equipment to track and communicate with spacecraft. Collins communications equipment was used for Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, providing voice communication for every American astronaut traveling through space. In 1973, the U.S. Skylab Program used Collins equipment to provide communication from the astronauts to earth.

Rockwell Collins[edit]

After facing financial difficulties, the Collins Radio Company was purchased by Rockwell International in 1973. In 2001 the avionics division of Rockwell International was spun off to form the current Rockwell Collins, Inc., retaining its name. Rockwell Collins is highly concentrated in the defense and commercial avionics markets and no longer markets receivers to the public. The Collins mechanical filter is still in production and does, however, find consumer and commercial use.

On December 20, 2000, Rockwell Collins expanded its services to commercial and executive aviation in Mercosur countries.[2] On April 28, 2000, Rockwell International Corp and its Rockwell Collins unit agreed to acquire Sony Corp's Sony Trans Com (Irvine, Calif) for undisclosed terms.[3]

The company has acquired several companies, including Hughes-Avicom's in-flight entertainment business, Sony's in-flight entertainment business (Sony Trans Com), Intertrade Ltd., Flight Dynamics, K Systems, Inc. (Kaiser companies), Communication Solutions, Inc., Airshow, Inc., NLX (Simulation Business) in 2003,[4] portions of Evans & Sutherland, TELDIX GmbH, IP Unwired, Anzus Inc., Athena Technologies, Datapath Inc. (divested in 2014), SEOS Displays Ltd., Air Routing International in 2010,[5] Computing Technologies for Aviation (CTA) in 2011,[6] and ARINC in 2014.[7]

The company is among the major suppliers of in-flight entertainment on board aircraft. Rockwell Collins' key competitors in this industry include Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Thales Group, and JetBlue's IFE subsidiary LiveTV.

As of 2010, the company employs over 20,000 people[8] and has an annual turnover of 4.665 billion US dollars. Its non-executive chairman is Anthony Carbone following the retirement of Clayton M. Jones.[9] In September 2012, Kelly Ortberg was appointed as president of the company.[10] In August 2013, Kelly Ortberg was appointed CEO of Rockwell Collins.[11]

In 2016, Rockwell Collins entered the cabin interiors market through acquisition of B/E Aerospace for $8.3 billion.[12] Based in Wellington, Florida, B/E products include seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems for commercial airliners and business jets. B/E benefits of rival Zodiac Aerospace delivery troubles. Retrofit opportunities are provided by its $12 billion installed base. B/E shareholders would own 20% of the new Rockwell which would have $8.1 billion in revenues and $1.9 billion in pre-tax earnings with nearly 30,000 employees.[13]

Past Products[edit]

Broadcast transmitters[edit]

In the mid-1930s, the Collins Radio Company constructed and sold transmitters and audio mixing consoles to the broadcast industry.

In 1939, the model 12 Speech Input Console, in addition to the 26C limiter amplifier, was licensed to Canadian Marconi Co. for both sales in Canada and Her Majesties Service for the war effort.[citation needed] Collins success in constructing broadcast transmitters continued to grow, selling well over a thousand up to the start of World War II. During World War II, Collins expertise grew in higher power transmitters producing designs which ran well over 15 kilowatts of RF power on a continuous basis. After the war a limited number of AM transmitters were produced called the 300G and remain the finest in low power AM transmitters (300W) ever produced.

Collins remained an important manufacturer of AM and FM broadcast radio transmitters for the commercial market surviving the drastic cost cutting market of the 1960s and 1970s.[citation needed] The transmitter line was later sold to Continental Electronics, which continued to produce a number of Collins designs under its own nameplate before phasing them out in the 1980s.

Shortwave transmitters[edit]

Collins produced several shortwave transmitters to the commercial market. A "30" Series production catered to the growing need of state highway patrol agencies and Department of Commerce aviation needs. During World War II, Collins produced high power transmitters for aircraft, notably the ART-13 equipped with automatic tuning circuits, which represented an important enhancement for airborne radio communications.[14]

After World War II, Collins supported both broadcast and the growing post-war amateur radio market. The United States Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Courier was employed as seagoing relay station for Voice of America programming using two Collins 207B-1 transmitters.[15][16]

Amateur radio transmitters included the 32V-1, -2, and -3, KWS-1 and the rack mounted KW-1.[17]

Receivers[edit]

Around 1947, the company introduced their first amateur radio receiver, the 75A-1 (called the 75A). This set achieved excellent stability for the time due to high build quality and the use of a permeability tuned oscillator (PTO) in its second conversion stage. It was one of the few double conversion superheterodynes on the market and covered only the amateur bands.

With the experience gained in the design of the 75A-1, Collins released the 51J-1 receiver, a general coverage HF set covering .5 to 30 MHz. It would be produced in somewhat updated versions (51J-2, 51J-3, 51J-4) for about a decade. It was known as the R-388 and was used in multiple receiver diversity RTTY installations.

The 75A amateur line was updated throughout the early 50s, finishing with the 75A-4, which was released in 1955. The Collins mechanical filter was introduced to consumers in the 75A-3, and the 75A-4 was one of the first receivers marketed specifically as a single sideband receiver.

Collins R-390A radio receiver

Around 1950, Collins began designing the R-390 (.5–30 MHz) for the US military. This was intended to be a receiver of the highest performance available, with the ruggedness and serviceability required for military duty. It featured direct mechanical digital frequency readout. The set is composed of several modules for easy field repair—a bad module could simply be swapped out and repaired later, or junked. Sets built during the original 1951 contract cost the government about $2500 each and around 16,000 were produced.

Concurrently, Collins developed the R-389, a long-wave version with fewer than 1000 made. The R-391, another variant of the R-390, allowed choice of 8 different auto-tuned channels.

Three years later, Collins delivered the R-390A[18] to the military. About 54,000 were produced and the set was a military workhorse until the 1970s. Like the R-390, it can outperform many modern radios, to the point that it was designated top secret until the late 1960s.

In 1958 Collins replaced the 75A series with the much smaller 75S series, part of the S/Line, discussed in the next section. These featured mechanical filters, very accurate frequency readout, and excellent stability. At the request of the US government, Collins designed the 51S-1 general coverage set, which was essentially (in intended use) a physically smaller replacement for the 51J series. It was not intended as a replacement for the higher performance R-390A, and unlike the R-390A, it was extensively marketed for commercial use.

Collins produced a few high performance solid state receivers in the 1970s, such as the 651S-1. Like their tube predecessors, these are coveted by collectors today.

Transceivers and systems[edit]

With the introduction of the S/Line in 1958, Collins moved from designing individual products that could be used together, to ones that were designed to integrate and operate together, in various combinations, as a system. They were the first equipment maker to take this approach. Collins was also the first to introduce a compact HF transceiver, the KWM-1, the year before. Together, these two innovations put Collins temporarily ahead of its competition and set the stage for other manufacturers and the next generation of amateur (and military) HF radio equipment.

The 75S-1 receiver and 32S-1 transmitter, comprising the heart of the S/Line, operated separately or together to transceive. The units included crystal bandpass filters and a new compact PTO design that provided stable, highly linear tuning across 200 kHz band segments. The S/Line tuning dial mechanism was unique when introduced. It used concentric dials and a gear mechanism that provided precise dial resolution, better than 1 kHz.

Collins S/Line – 516F-2 power supply, 75S-3B receiver, 32S-3 transmitter, 312B-4 console, SM-1 microphone, circa 1969

Within a few years Collins had introduced additional S/Line components, including the 30S-1 kilowatt power amplifier, the 30L-1 desktop power amplifier, and the 62S-1 transverter, which provided coverage of the 6 meter (50 MHz) and 2 meter (144 MHz) amateur bands. The KWM-2 transceiver replaced the KWM-1 using many of the S/Line’s design features and matching its styling. Other accessories included speakers, microphones and control consoles.

Illustrating the uniqueness of their new, smaller units in the market, Collins advertisements in the 1950s and early 1960s emphasized the S/Line’s physical styling and size as often as they did its performance.[19]

Collins continued to improve the S/Line, first introducing the S-2, then the S-3 units, the 75S-3 (and -3A, -3B and -3C) receiver, and the 32S-3 and -3A transmitters. The -3A and -3C units were identical to the -3 and -3B units, respectively, except they provided an extra set of heterodyne oscillator crystals enabling them to cover extra bands – useful for military, amateur and MARS operation, where operation just outside the regular amateur bands was necessary.

Collins 30L-1 Amplifier ca. 1970

Among amateur radio operators, the S/Line established its reputation as perhaps the most solidly engineered equipment available – and the most costly. As a result, S/Line equipment, and the A-Line and other predecessors, are restored, prized, and operated on the air by collectors today.

Collins continued to produce the S/Line well into the late 1970s and after its acquisition by Rockwell.

In 1978, with the move to solid state design, the S/Line came to an end after a two decade production run. The KWM-380 transceiver was introduced the next year – a break with the past both in its use of transistors and digital technology, and its styling. It would be Collins’ final entry in the amateur radio market until it was discontinued in the mid-1980s.[20]

Computers[edit]

In the 1960s, the company designed and sold C-System computerized message switching equipment, built an intranet, and began implementing computer storage of design data for circuit boards and assemblies. They had a goal of automating all functions from parts ordering and inventory to factory scheduling to generation of maintenance provisioning.

With products technically successful and far ahead of their time in many respects, Mr. Collins continued to invest in development at a rate that could not be supported by sales when a downturn occurred, and began to have financial problems.

Network Transmission Systems[edit]

In 1991, Rockwell sold its Richardson, TX based Network Transmission Systems division to Alcatel.[21][22][23]

Organizational structure[edit]

Rockwell Collins has four main divisions:

  • Commercial Systems (CS)
  • Government Systems (GS)
  • International and Service Solutions (I&SS)
  • Information Management Solutions (IMS)

The CS division services the commercial airline industry and business aircraft, providing navigation, communication, Synthetic vision, other cockpit products such as autoland autopilots, and cabin products such as In Flight Entertainment (IFE). The GS division services primarily the US government and military, but also provides some products and services to foreign governments with close ties to the United States. Notable government related projects that Rockwell Collins has involvement with are Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT), Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR), and Future Combat Systems. The I&SS division is an amalgamation of (IB) International Business organization whose responsibility is sales, engineering and human resource of personnel outside of North America and Service Solutions who provides support services such as customer support,simulation and training and technical publications. I&SS provide a common service to both CS and GS divisions and its formation was announced on the Rockwell Collins press release web page on February 19, 2010.[24]

Advanced Technology Center[edit]

The Advanced Technology Center is a large department inside of Rockwell Collins that focuses on research and development. It has several sub areas namely Embedded Information Systems, Advanced Radio Systems, as well as Communications and Navigation Systems. Other prominent divisions in the company include display systems, flight controls, aircraft simulation, and navigation systems.

Collector community[edit]

As with several other brands of vintage radio equipment, there is an active community of Collins radio enthusiasts, with clubs, web sites and on-line discussions dedicated to restoring and operating the equipment. The Collins Collectors Association (CCA)[25] and the Collins Radio Association (CRA)[26] are two examples of such organizations.

Groups of Collins users also organize meetings, gatherings at hamfests and regularly scheduled on-air discussions called “nets”.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rockwell Collins Annual Report 2015" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "Rockwell Collins expands services to Mercosul". 
  3. ^ "ROCKWELL TO BUY SONY TRANS COM". The Wall Street Journal. 
  4. ^ "Rockwell Collins buys NLX -- Washington Technology". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rockwell Collins completes acquisition of Air Routing International". 4 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Rockwell Collins expands Ascend™ flight information solutions offering with acquisition of CTA". 10 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Rockwell Collins completes acquisition of ARINC Incorporated". 23 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rockwell Collins Inc". Hoover's Inc. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  9. ^ "Clay Jones to retire from Rockwell Collins Board of Directors on July 31". 30 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Rockwell Collins appoints Ortberg as president". Reuters. 24 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Kelly Ortberg appointed CEO of Rockwell Collins". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Bern, Mark (28 October 2016). "Rockwell Collins' Acquisition Of B/E Aerospace Will Benefit Long-Term Investors". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Rockwell Collins Buying B/E Aerospace For $8 Billion". Aviation Week. Oct 23, 2016. 
  14. ^ Albert D. Helfrick (2004). Electronics In The Evolution Of Flight. Texas A&M University Press. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-1-58544-413-7. 
  15. ^ U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Courier. United States Coast Guard. 2010-06-04. URL:http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Courier_WAGR410_Photos.asp. Accessed: 2010-06-04. (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5qEcH1yCd)
  16. ^ "Voice of America Broadcasts From Coast Guard Cutter". Modesto Radio Museum. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  17. ^ W0YVA Web Site, “Collins KW-1 Registry”
  18. ^ "r390a.com". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  19. ^ WA3KEY Virtual Collins Radio Museum, “Advertisement Archive”
  20. ^ WA3KEY Virtual Collins Radio Museum, “Collins Amateur Equipment”
  21. ^ "Alcatel-Lucent Company History". 
  22. ^ "New York Times coverage of Rockwell unit sale". The New York Times. 13 July 1991. 
  23. ^ "CGE acquires Rockwell". 
  24. ^ http://rockwellcollins.com/news/page12280.html
  25. ^ "Collinsradio". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "Home". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 

External links[edit]