Who We Are
Founded in 1920, Sargent Aerospace and Defense has been supporting the commercial and military aerospace, marine, and industrial markets via the design and manufacture of actuation and specialty bearings products for over 100 years. Sargent is based in Tucson, AZ, and works from a 155,000 square foot campus that houses manufacturing operations, design engineering, quality, and business management functions. Sargent’s diverse and dedicated team is focused on helping our customers achieve success across their respective market domains. Sargent is an operating division of RBC Bearings (NASD: ROLL).
How We Are Structured
Sargent is based out of a 155,000 square foot facility in Tucson, AZ, and employs a diverse, growing, workforce of more than 350 people. Sargent is organized into three business units:
- Aerospace Hydraulics- Designs, manufactures, assembles, and tests hydraulic actuation assemblies for commercial, military, and space-based aerospace applications. Sargent supports a variety of military and commercial aircraft currently in production including the F-35 and 737MAX.
- Marine Hydraulics- Designs, manufactures, assembles, and tests hydraulic valves for the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine force. Sargent has been supporting the US Navy since the 1950s and has designs on a number of nuclear submarines including the Ohio Class (SSBN) and Virginia Class (SSN).
- Kahr Bearing- Designs and manufactures specialty bearings for various markets, including commercial and military rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft, marine, space, and industrial. Kahr Bearing’s specialty products are based on industry-leading liner systems that routinely outperform competing products in longevity and weight.
Sargent is part of RBC Bearings
Stock Ticker: NYSE: RBC
FY 2023 Net Sales: $1.47 billion
Marketing Capitalization: $6.21 billion
In 1920, Sumner Benedict Sargent founded the Sargent Engineering Company. Mr. Sargent had obtained a patent on a specialty tool for the oil tool industry. His belief in the product and its potential led him to sell the patent in order to raise the capital to start the company.
The company's first factory was built in the backyard of his home in Huntington Park, California. It was a 21' x 42' frame structure.
Sargent’s oil industry business continued to grow to the point that Sargent involved his sons in the business and doubled the size of the factory.
Sargent's products were in strong demand, even through the Great Depression. When Sumner Sargent retired, the business was continued by his wife and sons. Recognizing how important it would be for the company to expand its horizons, a decision was made to diversify and the aircraft industry offered the most promise to meet this goal. The company solicited bid proposals for hydraulic controls components, dealt with major prime contractors, and was successful in landing new business.
By 1937, Sargent Engineering Corp. became well known and highly respected for its innovative engineering approach to difficult design problems. As a result, the company succeeded in winning important bid proposals in the aircraft industry. This was the beginning of what developed through WWII into major involvement by Sargent in sophisticated aircraft and space technology components.
By 1941, as a result of Sargent’s aircraft experience in the 1930s, the start of WWII dramatically changed the product emphasis of the company. Availability of critical materials for oil well tools was sharply reduced and Sargent was suddenly involved in applying design and manufacturing expertise for the production of aircraft fuel valves.
In 1943, Sargent was supplying hydraulic valves and actuators, fuel system valves, and other components for such historic aircraft as the North American B-25 bomber.
By the 1950s, Sargent delivered more than one half million precision force control components for the country’s leading airframe, automotive, marine, missile, metalworking, and petroleum industries.
In 1952, Sargent delivered a unique line of marine valves and actuators for nuclear-powered U.S. Navy submarines. The company’s innovation and engineering capabilities persuaded the Navy to accept lightweight aluminum components to replace traditional steel components.
The Sargent family sold Sargent Engineering Corp in 1960 to A.J. Industries, owner of Fletcher Industries. Sargent became known as Sargent-Fletcher with facilities in Huntington Park and El Monte, California.
In 1965, Electracada Corporation bought the Huntington Park operation and re-named the business Sargent Industries to reflect its changing product lines from electrical and electronic to proprietary precision mechanical products.
Sargent began developing quiet valve technology for the U.S. Navy submarine program. At the time, the government was concerned about Navy submarines emitting a sonic signature when being hunted and it turned to Sargent and other manufacturers to make the quietest possible marine valves to assist in raising and lowering torpedoes into tubes for deployment.
In 1968, Sargent Industries, Huntington Park Division started the design, development, and manufacture of cockpit control mechanisms. This came about through the acquisition of Hansen-Lynn, Inc., a well-known company with broad experience and success in this product area.
Also in 1968, Kahr Bearing, a well-established manufacturer of highly-engineered precision bearings and rod ends for high-performance aircraft, joined the Sargent family.
In 1976, Sargent Industries acquired the marine hydraulic servo valve product line of Sanders Associates, further strengthening the design and manufacturing capabilities of the well-developed quiet valve technology.
Sargent Industries acquired a highly sophisticated servo actuator product line from Western Hydraulics in 1978, which added hydrofoil acquisition capabilities.
Sargent Industries was acquired by Dover Corporation in 1985 and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dover Corporation.
Sargent Industries changed its corporate identity to Sargent Dover in 1987. The Huntington Park Division also officially changed its name to Sargent Controls.
In 1988, Sargent Controls moved its aerospace product line to Yorba Linda, California, and was renamed Sargent Aerospace. Ball screw and marine product lines remained in Huntington Park.
In 1990, Dover moved Sargent’s manufacturing operations to Tucson, Arizona.
Dover consolidated Sargent Controls and Sargent Aerospace into Sargent Controls and Aerospace in 1993.
In 1995, Dover made Kahr Bearing part of Sargent Controls and Aerospace and divested the Precision Kinetics Division.
In 1998, Sargent Controls and Aerospace acquired California-based Sonic Industries which increased the company’s presence in the commercial aircraft market.
In 2002, Cook Airtomic, located in Jeffersonville, Indiana was assigned to Sargent and renamed Airtomic. Airtomic designs and manufactures sealing rings and devices for the aerospace industry. With a rich history that dates back more than 120 years, Airtomic also provides products used in power generation and nuclear energy applications.
Sargent expanded manufacturing operations into Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico in 2004 supporting the Airtomic Sealing Ring business.
In 2011, Sargent expanded its manufacturing operations in Tucson, Arizona, via a new facility. The new facility includes 45,000 square feet of open shop floor and 27,000 square feet of office space. Both facilities result in a combined 155,000 square feet of space housing manufacturing, operations, manufacturing engineering, design engineering, all centralized functions, and corporate management.
In 2015, Sargent Aerospace and Defense, including subsidiary businesses, was acquired by RBC Bearings.
In 2018, Sargent expanded the Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico operation with a 37,000 square foot facility dedicated to component manufacturing, assembly, and test of hydraulic actuation assemblies.