New Era for Pratt & Whitney Officially Begins in West Palm Beach
The Florida landscape housing Pratt & Whitney's West Palm Beach facility has changed drastically over the last year. The operation has substantially grown, the proof shown Monday as Pratt & Whitney leadership, employees, and state and local leaders officially dedicated its new engine center to meet the forecasted demands of the Next Generation Product Family (NGPF) of engines. This facility also provides a critical second source for the F135 engine, which ensures no single point of failure as the company prepares for the anticipated ramp up and future capacity to support its global customer base.
"UTC has a rich history here in Palm Beach County, with Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky that date back 50 years," said UTC Chairman & CEO Louis Chênevert, addressing more than 100 people who attended the ribbon-cutting event. "Our employees and operations in West Palm Beach are key to UTC's success."
It was just two years ago when Chênevert announced the expansion of the facility, an investment of more than $63 million. Now the hope and the vision of what this place could become is now reality. This accomplishment allows Pratt & Whitney to expand the company's manufacturing and assembly/test network and supports the company's strategy to limit single points of failure on critical programs.
"This new facility will help produce some of the most innovative and revolutionary engines the aerospace industry has ever seen," said Pratt & Whitney President Paul Adams. "Our work is defining the future of aviation and writing the next chapter in Pratt & Whitney's storied history. I'm pleased to say Palm Beach, along with our other capable facilities, will play a pivotal role in producing these engines."
The 97,000-square-foot-facility was built in less than a year, and will be responsible for constructing the PurePower® PW1100G-JM, a modern engine for the Airbus A320neo that offers dramatic reductions in noise, emissions and fuel burn. West Palm will also provide a second source to assemble the F135 engine powering F-35 Lightning II for our global military customer base.
"We have customer orders for over 5,500 PurePower engines for various aircraft platforms and we are building engines for the F-35 Lightning II for customers all around the globe," said Danny Di Perna, Pratt & Whitney vice president for Engineering and Operations. "Our manufacturing strategy is based on balancing capability, capacity, flexibility and affordability. This facility is a testament that we are ready for the impending ramp by transforming our global operations."
There was another reason why so many were excited about Monday's ceremony.
Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera had the honor of announcing further job growth at the West Palm Beach Engine Center with the company's ongoing Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) portfolio integration. The military APU business in San Diego, California, will transition to West Palm Beach over the next two years, bringing an additional 110 jobs to the facility. Adams said this move positions the APU business for the future by leveraging operational synergies and P&W's existing network and it enhances the company's competitiveness in the market.
The event ended with dignitaries, employees and the media getting a close look at the new operation during a guided tour with UTC and Pratt & Whitney executives.
"Today's grand opening reflects the two powerful forces that will drive United Technologies in years to come - rapid urbanization across the world and tremendous growth in commercial aviation," Chênevert said. "Today also demonstrates what can be accomplished when business and government work together to promote economic growth."