“With a nod to our past and an eye on our future, Indiana is a manufacturing state, with decades of experience in building the items that power our world. But we are also a state of innovation, developing the technologies of tomorrow.” said Indiana Governor Mike Pence. “GE Aviation’s plans in Indiana fuse the two. By selecting Indiana for its new jet engine facility, the company gains a workforce skilled at both developing the big ideas and bringing them to life.”Strong State of Indiana and Purdue University collaboration Final assembly of the LEAP engine at the Lafayette facility will involve using components and sub-assemblies from GE and Snecma operations and from their suppliers around the world. The LEAP engine will also be assembled at GE’s existing engine assembly plant in Durham, North Carolina. The Lafayette facility will operate a highly advanced assembly line incorporating several new technologies, including automated vision inspection systems and radio frequency parts management to easily spot parts on the shop floor. GE worked closely with the state of Indiana to secure the Lafayette location. The state of Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the city of Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County have provided technical support and incentives to ensure a smooth and successful start-up. To prepare for the new factory, GE will work with Ivy Tech at Lafayette for skills and training support. The plant will be minutes from Purdue University in West Lafayette, which has a long history of collaboration with GE Aviation and its parent, General Electric Co. GE employs more than 1,200 Purdue University alumni, including more than 400 at GE Aviation. Over the past five years, GE has financed more than $2.5 million in research and development projects at Purdue. GE Aviation leadership has met with Purdue officials to explore opportunities that will closely align the university to the new Lafayette facility. Purdue University is widely recognized as a leader in manufacturing technology, and GE intends to use the new facility as a catalyst for identifying talent and research capability.
“Purdue and GE are continuing to build a broad and strong collaboration in both research and talent recruitment,” said Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University. “In today’s world, a strong research university is the best economic magnet a state can have, and today’s announcement is a perfect example of that principle in action.”GE Aviation’s Long-term Growth Outlook The Lafayette facility reflects the growth at GE Aviation. Jet engine deliveries for GE Aviation and its partner companies (including CFM International) are slated to grow from 2,442 jet engines in 2013 to about 2,850 in 2016. GE Aviation and its partner companies have the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE and its partner companies have about 34,000 commercial jet engines in service, and that will grow to 41,000 engines by 2020. GE Aviation employs approximately 44,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities worldwide. By the end of 2013, GE Aviation’s multi-year backlog for equipment and services reached $125 billion, more than a 20 percent growth in one year. In addition to its seven new facilities over the past seven years, GE Aviation is making significant investments in its existing operations across the U.S., including investments of more than $350 million since 2012 in its southern Ohio operations in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Peebles. Technologies in the CFM International LEAP engine The CFM LEAP engine to be assembled in Lafayette will be among the world’s most advanced jet engines, with carbon fiber composite fan blades and fan case (from Snecma), the latest thermodynamic design, higher bypass and compression ratios, advanced 3-D aerodynamic design and greater use of advanced materials. The engine is targeted for a 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to its predecessor, double-digit improvement in noise and emissions, and the lowest overall cost of ownership in the industry. Other technology features of the LEAP engine:
Additive manufacturingAt its Cincinnati operation, GE Aviation is using a technology called direct metal laser melting (DMLM) to manufacture LEAP fuel nozzles directly from computer-aided design (CAD) files. The process actually “grows” parts, layer by layer, using metal powder and a high-powered fiber laser. The part maintains the same material properties and density as a traditionally manufactured piece, but the process allows for much more complex geometries than were possible in the past. The resulting part is 25 percent lighter than previous nozzles and five times stronger. Advanced materials The LEAP will be the first commercial jet engine with ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components in the hot section, representing a significant technology breakthrough for GE and the jet propulsion industry. CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic resin, manufactured through a highly sophisticated process and further enhanced with proprietary coatings. GE views CMCs as a differentiator for its next-generation aircraft engines. The ultra-lightweight CMC material supports extremely high temperatures in the high-pressure turbine. CMC benefits include: reduced weight, enhanced performance and improved durability that provides longer time on wing, translating into lower fuel and maintenance costs for customers. GE Aviation invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion research and development programs. This long tradition of commitment to new technology has helped GE maintains its leadership position within the industry with a proud list of "firsts" in both military and commercial jet propulsion, tracing back to 1942 with America's first jet engine. GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at www.geaviation.com