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Pratt & Whitney Revs Up Fan Blade Manufacturing in Lansing, Michigan

Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp. and world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines and auxiliary power units, commissioned a new fan blade manufacturing facility at its AutoAir plant in Lansing, Michigan.

The new 93,000 square-foot facility adds to an already existing GTF fan blade production line in Lansing and is one of 30 dedicated manufacturing, production or assembly locations across the globe performing work on various parts and components of the GTF engine program.

"Pratt & Whitney's $97 million investment in the production of fan blades for the PurePower Geared Turbofan engine at our AutoAir facility is part of our more than $1.3 billion investment in 21st century manufacturing technology to transform our footprint worldwide," according to Shane Eddy, Vice President, Operations, at Pratt & Whitney. "This expansion is part of our strategy to handle delivery demands on our backlog of more than 8,000 firm and option engines on order."

"We are pleased to be a part of this successful engine program," said Conor Tracy, General Manager, Pratt & Whitney AutoAir. "The expansion of the Lansing plant is an opportunity for our employees to contribute to the future of the company, but it is also an exciting opportunity for Lansing to continue to participate in the advanced manufacturing sector and the economic growth of the region."

He added that there has been a tenfold ramp up in a 20 month period and gives credit for this accomplishment to AutoAir employees. "We have increased our work force from just over 200 to almost 700 and growing. We have a highly skilled and professional work force with a lot of pride in the Michigan campus and pride in the GTF product."

In addition to GTF fan blade production, the Pratt & Whitney AutoAir facility is a center of excellence for test nacelle composite repairs. It has a long history of providing reliable overhaul and repair services for a broad range of composite parts and has earned quality and environmental stewardship awards. With its new capacity coming online, the company is on track to meet its commitments to deliver 350 to 400 GTF engines this year.

In addition to the manufacturing expansion, Pratt & Whitney has four maintenance and repair operations facilities to repair and overhaul GTF engines, and additional facilities will be added moving forward.

The GTF is revolutionizing modern flight with one of the quietest, most fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly engines on the market. It has hit all specs from the start of its entry into service: 16 percent reduction in fuel, 75 percent reduction in noise footprint, and 50 percent reduction in regulated emissions. It has seen 21 months of steady progress, marking more than 180,000 flights and more than 280,000 hours of experience. Currently, more than 80 aircraft among 14 operators are flying about 250 flights per day to more than 100 destinations on four continents.

Jeff Smith, Executive Director, Fan and Externals Module Denter, Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, noted that the manufacturing expansion in Lansing will enable the facility to triple its production capacity. "We are very proud of our ability to execute and look forward to being an integral part of the GTF production family."


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