GE9X Engine Technology & Production Infrastructure Years in the Making
EVENDALE, OH - While GE Aviation's newly launched GE9X engine program grows its order book on the Boeing 777X this week at the Dubai Air Show, the company has prepared years for this day – with bold investments in plants and equipment to meet the new engine's technology and production requirements:
*Combustor: A new combustion test site under construction at GE Aviation's Evendale headquarters will evaluate the GE9X low-emission combustor, a 3rd-generation TAPS (twin annular pre-swirl) design. The new test laboratory has special equipment to simulate the unique compression demands of the GE9X. In the lab, GE engineers are collaborating with faculty and students from the University of Cincinnati Research Institute.
*CMC components: The GE9X will be the first commercial jet engine with ceramic matrix composite (CMCs) components in both the combustor and high-pressure turbine section. GE is investing $27 million and adding up to 70 jobs in the next five years at its Newark, Delaware, facility where CMC components are being matured before mass production.
In addition, GE is constructing a new 170,000-squore foot facility in Ashville, North Carolina, for the mass production of CMC components. The first CMCs produced at Asheville will be for the LEAP engine from CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran of France, which enters service on narrow-body aircraft in 2016. Toward the end of this decade, the Asheville plant will be heavily engaged producing CMC parts for the GE9X.
*Fuel nozzles: In 2012, GE and Parker Aerospace formed a joint venture, Advanced Atomization Technologies, LLC (located in Clyde, New York) to produce advanced fuel nozzles for future commercial jet engines, including the GE9X. Also in 2012, GE acquired Morris Technologies, the world's largest additive manufacturing company at the time, for its new engine developments. The GE9X nozzle tip will be produced using the Morris additive manufacturing technology.
*Composite front fan case: The GE9X will feature the industry's largest front fan (132”) made of carbon fiber composites. GE's composites factory in Batesville, Mississippi recently expanded the plant to house a massive autoclave (20-feet in diameter/40-feet long) that will have the capability to cure the GE9X front fan case. Also, GE90 composite components are being cured in the special autoclave.
The GE9X also benefits from large infrastructure investments made for its predecessor engines in the GE90 family for the Boeing 777, including special indoor testing sites at the GE Test Operation in Peebles, Ohio; and the state-of-the-art assembly operation at Durham, North Carolina.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.