GE Aviation to Build New Silicon Carbide Facilities
GE Aviation recently broke ground on two adjacent factories to mass-produce silicon carbide materials.
In a ceremony with Alabama public officials, GE Aviation recently broke ground on two adjacent factories to mass-produce silicon carbide (SiC) materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components for jet engines and land-based gas turbines for electric power. GE Aviation is investing more than $200 million to construct two factories on 100 acres in Huntsville, Ala. When the factories are fully operational, they are expected to employ up to 300 people. The plants are expected to be completed by the first half of 2018, with production beginning later that year. 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. “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 reportedly will support GE and its international partners in selling and supporting jet engines and gas turbines worldwide. Approximately 61% of GE Aviation’s 2015 revenues of $25 billion were derived from customers based outside the U.S. GE and its partner companies sell almost 70% of its commercial jet engines to non-U.S. companies.
“GE Aviation is at the forefront of innovation in aerospace manufacturing, and I am excited to see Alabama expand its partnership with this industry leader,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “This project shows the sophistication of GE Aviation’s technology while also demonstrating the company’s confidence in Alabama to supply a skilled workforce.”
One of the Huntsville plants will produce SiC ceramic fiber. It will reportedly be the first such operation in the U.S. 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. The second factory will use this SiC ceramic fiber to produce the unidirectional CMC tape necessary to fabricate CMC components.
For more information, visit www.geaviation.com.