GE Aviation officially opened its second aviation composites factory in Mississippi Tuesday, putting into operation its new 340,000-square-foot facility in South Mississippi’s Ellisville. The plant joins a composite and jet fans plant in Northwest Mississippi.
The new plant is to be known as GE Aviation’s Ellisville Composites and will add around 250 jobs, company officials say.
The Ellisville facility will manufacture and assemble new composite components that are unique in the aviation industry. GE says.
GE Aviation, a world-wide producer of jet engines, already employs more than 450 people at a factory near Batesville, which opened in 2008. This factory assembles large front fans for jet engines as well as the production of composite components.
With the opening of Ellisville, GE Aviation will add up to 40 jobs in 2013. Based on current demand for its jet engines, GE expects hiring to reach 250
Ellisville employees are being trained advanced manufacturing processes, with assistance from the Mississippi Polymer Institute at The University of Southern Mississippi and The Advanced Technology Center at Jones County Junior College. The plant delivers its first components in 2013.
The facility will produce composite parts for two new engine programs: the best-selling LEAP™ jet engine being developed by CFM, a joint company of GE and Snecma (SAFRAN) of France and GE’s new Passport jet engine. Ellisville will manufacture fan platforms (installed between the engine’s front fan blades) for the LEAP-1A and the LEAP-1C, which will power Airbus’s A320neo and COMAC’S C919, respectively.
Ellisville will also manufacture the inlet for the Passport engine which was selected by Bombardier to power the Global 7000 and Global 8000 business jets. The inlet is a single-piece component that is located in the front of the Nexcelle nacelle system and directs airflow into the engine.
In addition to jet engine components, Ellisville will manufacture the transcowl, a component of the thrust reverser, which is located in the rear of the nacelle for Airbus’s A320neo.
The specific type of composite material that will be made at Ellisville is known as polymer matrix composites (PMCs). PMCs are made of carbon fiber fabric and polymer resin and fabricated by using advanced technology in manufacturing processes and equipment.
To date, CFM has logged orders for more than 4,500 LEAP engines. This record backlog will ensure a stable workload at Ellisville for years to come. The Ellisville plant is also expected to produce other composite components in the future for GE’s newest commercial jet engines and aircraft systems.
GE Aviation generated revenues of $20 billion in 2012. The company also has the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE Aviation employs approximately 40,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities around the world.