GE Expands Its Additive and Aviation Technology Commitment Across Europe
BOSTON, MA – The recent agreement by GE (NYSE: GE) to acquire a 75% stake in Concept Laser of Lichtenfels, Germany (a pioneer in additive manufacturing), underscores GE’s ongoing technology investment in Europe.
As GE pursues regulatory approval for the investment in Concept Laser, more than 400 GE Aviation engineers across Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany are developing GE’s Advanced Turboprop Engine (ATP) to power Textron Aviation Inc.’s new single-engine turboprop aircraft. It is arguably the most advanced engine design ever for turboprop airplanes and involves GE’s latest advanced designs practices, materials, and additive manufacturing technologies.
The ATP engine will have more components made with additive machines than any production engine in aviation history – 35% of the turboprop's parts will be built via additive manufacturing.
By this decade’s end, GE is slated to produce this engine in a new factory to be constructed in the Czech Republic – the second new turboprop factory that GE has established in the country in recent years. The new $400 million (USD) facility is expected to create 500 new jobs. GE is evaluating locations in Europe where ATP components will be produced with the additive process.
GE Aviation’s bold actions in the turboprop engine realm are part to the company’s on-going and significant investments across Europe in the past decade.
GE Aviation now has almost 12,000 employees in Europe. The company has bolstered the continent’s aerospace capabilities through acquisitions, new facilities, plant expansions, and technology breakthroughs that will advance the design and manufacture of jet engines, aircraft systems, and turboprop engines.
Today, GE Aviation has 19 sites in Europe handling engine and component production, engineering and design, and repair. In addition, GE Aviation also spends almost $1 billion (U.S.) annually with European Union suppliers.
For several decades, GE Aviation was mostly a U.S.-based supplier to Europe’s aerospace industry. GE made a significant commitment in 1974 in co-creating CFM International, the 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines of France.
Today, CFM is the leading producer of jet engines for single-aisle aircraft, and the partnership has since extended its partnership to 2040. Safran and GE have created new sites in Europe and the U.S. to support surging production lines for the joint company’s CFM56 and LEAP engine families.
GE Aviation’s 2007 acquisition of Smiths Aerospace enabled the company to grow its presence in Europe producing aircraft systems technologies. Since then, GE has opened two new sites in England: A composite factory (for aircraft structures) in Hamble, and an electrical power R&D center in Cheltenham.
GE’s 2008 acquisition of Walter Engines in the Czech Republic led to the establishment of GE Aviation Czech with a new turboprop factory and upgraded H80 engines in Prague. Over the last eight years, turboprop engine production in the Czech Republic has grown from under 10 engines a year to almost 100. The H80 series has secured 12 different aircraft applications.
It was amid this revival that Cessna selected GE’s new Advanced Turboprop Engine (ATP) for a next-generation aircraft, leading to a second turboprop facility to be established in the Czech Republic.
GE’s 2013 acquisition of Avio’s aviation operations in Italy and Poland led to the creation of Avio Aero. GE has committed $1 billion in investments to the Avio sites over the next five years, including extensive investments into additive manufacturing technology. Avio is a leading producer of gearboxes and transmission systems, and Avio engineers are also involved in the new turboprop engine. At its facility in Cameri, Italy, Avio is advancing additive manufacturing using electron beam melting in producing parts with highly complex material properties.
About GE Additive
GE Additive is part of GE (NYSE: GE), the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Visit GE Additive at www.ge.com/additive.
GE Additive is led by David Joyce, GE Vice Chairman and CEO of GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE and a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. For more information, visit us at www.geaviation.com.