After eight years of aggressive investing in new plants and expansions, GE Aviation heads into the Paris Air Show with several new engines entering service or under development, Meanwhile, engine production continues at record levels.
GE Aviation and its engine partner companies have fielded 65,000 commercial and military engines flying today. Between 2016 and 2020, plans call for deliveringanother 10,000 engines. GE Aviation's industrial backlog of engines and long-term engine service contracts exceeds $150 billion.
“Over this decade, we have been experiencing a transformation of our commercial engine portfolio,” said David Joyce, vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Aviation. “At the same time, we have significant new military engine developments that led us to transition more than 700 engineers into our military division.”
GE’s 50-50 partnership with France’s Safran, CFM International, will project a big presence at the show, as the Leap-powered 737 Max 9 and Airbus A321neo both participate in the flying displays. The backlog for the Leap searies now exceeds 12,500 engines.
New GE engines under development, such as the GE9X for the Boeing 777X and advanced military engines for the U.S. military, incorporate unique technologies derived from from GE Aviation investments; $8.6 billion in R&D since 2010, and $5.5 billion in new plants and equipment since 2011.
Such R&D investment allowed the Leap to become the first commercial engine, ever, to incorporate a hot-section component made of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). The population of CMC parts will multiply in the GE9X, scheduled to enter service on the Boeing 777X at the end of the decade. CMCs also account for a technology advantage for GE’s military engines under development, whose compressor efficiency and operating temperatures continue to set records.
GE Aviation (Chalet 142) created the first integrated supply chain in the U.S. for CMCs, from R&D facilities to raw material factories to final production. The company expects its new factories in Huntsville, Alabama, to produce 20 metric tons of CMC raw material per year by 2020, while GE’s CMC component production factory in Asheville, North Carolina, delivers more than 25,000 CMC Leap components.
GE Aviation lays claim as the first jet propulsion company to introduce complex components produced with additive manufacturing. The company expects the more than 50 additive machines at its new plant in Auburn, Alabama, to produce 22,000 fuel nozzle injectors for the Leap engine before annual volume grows beyond 25,000.
GE’s experience with additive manufacturing led to the 2016 creation of GE Additive, which took control of Arcam AB of Sweden and Concept Laser of Germany, two leading suppliers of additive machines, materials, and technology.