Amos Woodward receives Patent #103,813 for his improved waterwheel governor.
Beginning a Legacy
Amos Woodward leaves the N. C. Thompson Company to begin his waterwheel governor business, the A. W. Woodward Company.
A Big Move
The A. W. Woodward Company rents a three-story building at 658-660 Race Street, which formerly housed the N. C. Thompson Company.
Amos and his son Elmer begin selling waterwheel governors in Europe. Their largest customer is the Alessandro Calzoni Company of Bologna, Italy.
Amos Woodward incorporates the Woodward Governor Company.
A Bigger Building
The construction of a five-story facility is completed on Mill Street to better accommodate the expanding operations.
Passing the Torch
Amos Woodward dies on March 23. Elmer Woodward becomes president and chairman of the board.
L’Orange Is Founded
Rudolf L'Orange establishes Gebrüder L'Orange Motorzubehör GmbH.
The Great Depression
Elmer Woodward cuts hours and promises to protect employees during the Great Depression.
First in Flight
Elmer Woodward invents the first aircraft propeller governor.
Standing in front of the Bonneville Dam governing unit in 1937 (from left): Woodward members Bill Taylor, Irl Martin, Norm Noling and Al Kalin; six visitors from the Edison Electric Institute; Elmer Woodward; and Woodward members Bob Kelley, Luke Avery, Walt Thorell, Mr. Larson, and Ed Lilja.
Helping to Harness Hydroelectric Power
During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration, which was part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, employed millions of people on large public works projects such as dams, highways and airports. Woodward made a unique contribution to the hydroelectric projects of that era with its cabinet actuator, a waterwheel governor in an enclosed cabinet that was powerful enough to control the massive turbines. Woodward sold 23 cabinet actuators between 1935 and 1937, including one for the 726-foot-high Hoover Dam on the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona, and the 1,450-foot-long Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. The company also provided controls for the Three Gorges Dam in China.
The Woodward Governor Company goes public.
Building a Landmark
The company moves into a new facility on North Second Street, adjacent to Loves Park. The new plant is climate controlled and contains a first aid room and cafeteria.
Irl Martin articulates his philosophy of fairness and corporate responsibility in the Corporate Partnership.
Boeing’s C-97 Stratofreighter featured four Pratt & Whitney (P&W) “Wasp” engines and was used to transport military equipment and supplies—including during the Berlin Airlift. Woodward is a longtime supplier of controls for P&W engines, starting with propeller governors, in a partnership that dates to the 1930s.
Woodward members from Greenville, South Carolina, donate time and money to their local United Way chapter.
Making a big impact with gifts large and small
The Woodward Charitable Trust has been making meaningful contributions to its communities since it was founded in 1947. Roughly one-fourth of its annual giving is based on recommendations from site committees whose members have interviewed local grant applicants. Organizations that Woodward supports include YMCAs, United Way chapters, community kitchens and Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
Into the Rockies
The Fort Collins, Colorado, facility opens in January 1955, the first plant outside of Rockford.
The company rents space in Hangar Five at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Woodward’s first international location.
Across the Pond
Operations begin in Bolton, England.
Big in Japan
Operations begin in Tokyo.
The first electric governor enters production.
McMaster Products Corporation (MPC) is founded in Chicago. The company produces precision rotating servo control components and electromechanical assemblies.
Walt Disney World
Woodward’s Phase III fault-tolerant digital control system (DCS) is used at the Reedy Creek Energy Center in Florida, which is responsible for supplying electricity and steam to Disney World.
A branch office opens in Sydney, Australia.
Irl Martin develops the Woodward Constitution to enshrine the Corporate Partnership and ensure his successors defend it. The membership votes to accept the Constitution on October 1.
Woodward invents the first digital control system for the Harpoon Missile.
A plant in Campinas, Brazil, is established.
Engineers begin development of the full authority digital electronic control (FADEC) for aircraft turbine engines.
AH 64 Apache Helicopter
Hydromechanical controls introduced in General Electric T700 engines were used to help power Boeing’s AH-64 Apache helicopters. Since the Apache’s introduction, the U.S. Army’s fleet has logged more than 4.2 million flight hours.
Joint Venture in India
Woodward forms a joint venture to open a plant in India.
Woodward acquires Einspritzgerätewerk Aken, a fuel pump manufacturer in Aken, Germany, that is renamed Woodward Governor Germany GmbH.
Woodward Governor Germany GmbH acquires Feingerätebau Kelbra, a firm that manufactures fuel injection nozzles for diesel engines in Kelbra, Germany.
Woodward acquires HSC Controls, a recognized leader in electromagnetic devices in Buffalo, New York.
The Forbidden City
Woodward opens an office in Beijing, China.
Train to Busan
Woodward establishes an office in Busan, South Korea.
L’Orange introduces the world's first electronic common-rail injection system for large diesel engines.
Shift in Focus
CEO and President Tom Gendron establishes a plan for Woodward to shift its focus to systems.
Fuel Systems Textron
Woodward acquires Fuel Systems Textron (FST) of Zeeland, Michigan, a company that produces fuel system products for gas turbine engines.
A true customer-oriented manufacturing company tries to accommodate its clients and provide them with exactly the products they need to be successful.
This approach was evident in the relationship between Woodward and Caterpillar in the early 2000s.
Woodward and Caterpillar, a customer since the 1940s, entered a whole new phase of collaboration in the early 21st century in which Woodward produced mechanical fuel systems based on Caterpillar’s design specifications. Typically, Woodward manufactures its own products, rather than develop build-to-print items for customers. But Caterpillar made a special request, and it made sense to take the relationship with Caterpillar in a new direction even though this way of building products was uncharted territory.
"We were entering a development program for Caterpillar, which was a much more modern fuel system," said sales director Peter Woldberg. "It was a chance for us to get into the fuel system business."
Caterpillar chose Woodward to build its fuel systems for another good reason, as well. Not many companies could provide what Caterpillar needed, and Woodward had the background and capability to handle the project.
Woodward's use of the client's specifications was beneficial for both companies. It allowed Caterpillar to focus its engineering and manufacturing in other areas. And it opened the door for Woodward to develop newer fuel systems of its own design.
"Around this time, we also introduced control products to support the development of gas engines, and that put Caterpillar on the map as far as a premiere gas engine supplier," Woldberg said. "Woodward helped a lot with educating Caterpillar and providing the gaseous fuel systems that they needed to go to market. Without us, this would have been very difficult.
To this day, Woodward produces about 250 distinct products for Caterpillar. Woodward's fuel systems are still used with every gas engine that Caterpillar manufactures.
The collaboration between Woodward and Caterpillar was transformative. "We are really developing fuel systems hand-in-hand with engineers on both sides and project managers on both sides, and even sometimes manufacturing on both sides," Woldberg said. "It's a really collaborative relationship that we don't have with anybody else."
Woodward has acquired a lot of new wisdom as part of the relationship. "(We learned) process control, change control, and general cleanliness of production lines. Those are the big things we changed over time to support the program," Woldberg said.
Woodward acquires Leonhard-Reglerbau, a power generation startup in Stuttgart, Germany.
Woodward acquires Schaltanlagen-Elektronik-Geräte GmbH & Co. KG (SEG), an energy control company in Kempen, Germany.
If one client best demonstrates Woodward's commitment to sustainability, it is China-based Weichai. This award-winning company ranks 27th among China's top manufacturing businesses. Together, Woodward and Weichai, one of Woodward's largest customers in Asia, are working to help clean up the air in China.
Weichai, which is the number-one gas engine company in the world, has been a Woodward client for 14 years. Woodward supplies 90 percent of Weichai's gas engine control systems, said Victor Zhang, Woodward's global account manager for Weichai. The company's engines are used in buses, trucks and ships and are mainly sold in China.
Air pollution in China has resulted in the government encouraging more consumption of natural gas through its "blue sky” plan, Zhang said. As of July 1, 2019, all gas engines must comply with a new emission standard. Weichai’s gas engine, with Woodward's control system, is working to accomplish this goal.
"As a market pioneer, Woodward effectively helped the ‘blue sky’ campaign," Zhang said. "Now, the degree of smog is much reduced."
The two powerhouse companies work together in a strategic partnership, with loyalty and trust. "Woodward can always develop new products, according to Weichai's requirements, which helps Weichai in its fast growth," Zhang said. "Weichai naturally considers Woodward part of its continuous improvement of engine performance."
With Woodward control systems in place to operate its engines, Weichai has been recognized by the Chinese government for its ongoing efforts in helping to curb pollution. Weichai has been awarded with the China V and China VI emission certifications.
As Woodward seeks to help its customers become more efficient and contribute to a sustainable world, it has actively pursued partnerships with other companies and institutions that are also dedicated to being environmentally conscious.
This was the case when Woodward expanded its activities with Cummins Inc. in 2006, after Cummins sold its German subsidiary, SEG GmbH, to Woodward. "Part of the agreement with the acquisition of SEG was regular, high-level engagement between Cummins leadership and Woodward leadership, to look for areas of expansion and collaboration," said John Chapuseaux, global sales manager at Woodward.
In 2018, Woodward and Cummins started working with Colorado State University's Energy Institute on a project that explored the creation of natural gas engines that run as efficiently as diesel engines. Woodward provided combustion, ignition and fuel delivery equipment for Cummins’ natural gas engine.
The purpose of this working relationship between Woodward, Cummins and Colorado State was to “bring technologies that can further the state of the art in natural gas engines, with the goals of achieving diesel parity, on power, on efficiency, and power density—and the ability to get to ultra-low emissions," said Greg Hampson, director of engineering for technology at Woodward.
The unique relationship with Cummins and CSU enables Woodward to showcase its technology as it participates in a project that is good for the environment. "With better greenhouse gas footprint and lower emissions from a gas engine, it would be evidence for market acceptance of a gas engine," Hampson said.
Colorado State has crafted an engine that features the Woodward control system, Hampson said. With this Woodward combustion-based control system, it's possible to hold a target level of knock and auto ignition in the engine.
"Our strategy is to create more organized auto ignition that leads to high efficiency without developing knock, which is bad for engines," Hampson said.
Hampson noted that as the project continues, its participants are waiting for the market to recognize the value and benefits of the gas engine. Woodward’s members hope that it leads to engines in trucks that use this control system—something that could change the entire long-haul trucking industry.
"If you can reduce the cost of the system, make it more efficient and reduce emissions, that's a pretty good deal," Hampson said.
Woodward moves its headquarters from Rockford, Illinois, to Fort Collins, Colorado.
Woodward acquires MPC of Niles, Illinois.
Woodward acquires HR Textron, the aerospace division of Textron Inc., based in Santa Clarita, California, and renames it Woodward HRT.
Woodward acquires Integral Drive Systems AG (IDS), a company that engineers, designs and produces wind converters and renewable energy electronics. IDS is based in Switzerland, with a plant in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Stockholders approve the company’s name change from Woodward Governor Company to Woodward Inc., to embrace the company's expanding portfolio of products and systems going well beyond governors.
Woodward purchases GE Aviation Systems’ thrust reverser actuation systems business in Duarte, California.
Woodward publishes its first annual sustainability report.
State of the Art
Woodward opens its Rock Cut Campus in Loves Park, Illinois, and the Woodward MPC Campus in Niles, Illinois. A year later, the new Lincoln Campus headquarters is completed in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Tom Gendron creates a committee to study efficiency issues at Woodward. The committee's recommendations become True North.
Woodward acquires L'Orange.
Woodward opens a new facility in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
Woodward commemorates its 150th anniversary in 2020.