GE Aviation opens factories to mass-produce materials for ceramic matrix composites
In a ceremony with Alabama public officials, GE Aviation broke ground on two adjacent factories to mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composite components (CMCs) for jet engines and land-based gas turbines for electric power.
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GE Aviation is investing more than $200 million to construct two factories on 100 acres in Huntsville. When the factories are fully operational later this decade, they are expected to employ up to 300 people. The plants are expected to be completed by the first half of 2018. Production begins in 2018. GE expects to begin hiring the hourly workforce later this year.
"GE Aviation is creating a fully integrated supply chain for producing CMC components in large volume, which is unique to the United States," said Sanjay Correa, vice president who leads the industrialization of advanced technologies at GE Aviation. "The new factories in Alabama are vital to this strategy. We are deeply gratified by the tremendous local, state, and national support for this effort."
While meeting critical U.S. needs for CMC materials for commercial and government-funded programs, the new plants will support GE and its international partners in selling and supporting jet engines and gas turbines worldwide. For example, approximately 61% of GE Aviation's 2015 revenues of $25 billion were derived from customers based outside the United States. GE and its partner companies sell most 70% of its commercial jet engines to non-U.S. companies.
One plant of the Huntsville plants will produce silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic fiber. It will be the first such operation in the United States. Today, the only large-scale SiC ceramic fiber factory in the world is operated by NGS Advanced Fibers in Japan, which is a joint company of Nippon Carbon, GE, and Safran of France.
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