Analysts see a superboom and fading fastener woes

May 01, 2008 | 12:19 PM |

In less than 10 years, the aerospace industry has gone from bust to boom—or, perhaps more accurately, a superboom that has catapulted plane orders into the stratosphere.

But when something soars that quickly, turbulence is sure to be felt. That's been especially true for aerospace-grade fastener manufacturers, who have been struggling to meet demand.

Analysts that follow the fastener market say a number of factors converged to created these shortages.

Manufacturers consolidated operations following the steep fall-off in orders that began in 1999 and that intensified after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This left airplane makers with fewer suppliers and less products to tap when orders started rebounding in 2004.

Boeing Co., keen on getting its 787 Dreamliner off the ground, also had to deal with the logistical nightmare of having many of its subcontractors spread out all over the place, many of which were unable to produce the type of fasteners the aircraft maker needed most.....

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