To meet the growing demand for jet engines, GE Aviation (which is also a partner in CFM International alongside Safran Aircraft Engines) has expanded its operations significantly. The American aerospace company has opened eight new US manufacturing facilities in the last eight years – all focused on producing new technologies to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
The jet engine order book for GE Aviation and CFM International exceeds 15,000. Much of this backlog involves new engine designs, such as CFM’s LEAP engine for narrow-body aircraft and the new GE9X under development for the Boeing 777X.
To deal with this backlog, GE has built new facilities, upgraded existing plants and launched new joint ventures and acquisitions. These new facilities are creating jobs and enable the construction of next-generation engines, which require manufacturing through new processes, such as additive manufacturing. Since 2012, GE’s drive to ramp up its facilities included:
» Opening an additive manufacturing facility in Auburn, Alabama, to mass produce LEAP engine’s fuel nozzle tip.
» Creating a $51 million research centre in Dayton, Ohio, focused on advanced power starter/generation, conversion and distribution technologies.
» Investing $56 million in a second advanced composite component facility in Ellisville, Mississippi, with 100+ employees.
» Opening the world’s first facility to mass produce parts for commercial and military engines in Asheville, North Carolina, with over 300 employees.
» Constructing a LEAP engine assembly factory in Lafayette, Indiana, that will employ more than 200 people when fully operational.
» Investing $200 million in Huntsville, Alabama, to mass-produce silicon carbide material for CMC components.
And this is only GE’s operations in the company’s home country of the United States. Worldwide, GE’s investment in research and production is far greater.