Pratt & Whitney Invests to Meet Market Demands for Game Changing Engine

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pratt & Whitney radically changed the architecture of a jet engine with the PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine, and now the company is focused on changing the architecture of how engines are built and delivered.

[Infographic: The GTF Engine: A Modern Aviation Success Story]

Game changing technology

When first announced, the PurePower GTF platform's anticipated performance disrupted the aerospace industry, driving many air framers, propulsion suppliers and airlines to rethink propulsion strategy. It's a company success story, but also a success story for modern aviation.

Operators will have the ability to extend routes while using the same amount of fuel, creating route options that didn't exist before, and making point-to-point destinations more available to the flying public. The keen interest from customers in the GTF benefits mean the engine is now on five platforms, including the Airbus A320neo, the Bombardier C Series, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Irkut MC-21 and Embraer E-Jets E2.

Investment in facilities, supply chain and quality systems

To ensure Pratt & Whitney meets it commitments for the unprecedented product demand – the company currently has a backlog of well over 8,000 firm and option engines on order – it continues to invest in ways that will help enable it to meet its delivery commitments.

Pratt & Whitney expects to hire thousands of people globally over the next decade. In fact, over the last 18 months alone, the company has hired some 5,000 employees. Moreover, the company is investing in additional assembly and test facilities to meet volume – spending more than $1.3 billion in 21st century manufacturing technology to transform its footprint worldwide.

Examples include:

  • • A $451 million investment to expand the Columbus, Georgia, facility.
  • • More than a $400 million expansion of the company's East Hartford and Middletown, Connecticut, facilities.
  • • A $140 million expansion at the company's Advanced Coatings facility in Wallkill, N.Y.
  • • A $125 million investment in our North Berwick, Maine, facility.
  • • A $110 million investment in Singapore to build a new 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that officially opened in Feb. 2016 and a new repair facility that opened in December 2013.
  • • A $97 million investment at the company's AutoAir facilility in Lansing, Michigan.
  • • A $63 million investment to expand the West Palm Beach, Florida, facility, which opened June 2014.

In addition, whereas traditionally Pratt & Whitney assembled the majority of its large commercial engines in its Middletown, Connecticut, assembly facility, it is establishing a global network of assembly sites that include: Middletown, Connecticut; North Berwick, Maine; West Palm Beach, Florida; Mirabel, Canada; a facility managed by Pratt & Whitney's collaborator, MTU in Germany; and a facility managed by Pratt & Whitney's collaborator MHIAEL in Japan. The facility in North Berwick, Maine, serves as a module assembly facility. These sites have either been built from the ground up or retooled and modernized. All of these sites are tooled to handle GTF engine assembly, and state-of-the-art horizontal assembly lines in Middletown, West Palm Beach and Mirabel have the potential to yield up to 50 percent more productivity versus traditional assembly-line arrangements.

The company is also investing in its supply base to ensure suppliers can meet quality, cost and schedule commitments. Pratt & Whitney's goal is to have no single point of failure in the supply chain. Pratt & Whitney has secured more than $23 billion in long-term supplier agreements and is focusing on dual sourcing for the GTF and other programs, while aggressively working with suppliers to ensure they are structured to meet the company's stringent quality requirements and schedule demands.

This investment also includes the Supplier Gold program - a supplier performance and recognition program established to facilitate and accelerate supplier performance improvements while recognizing superior performance. Some 300 Pratt & Whitney engineers and other professionals are assigned to work directly with suppliers, helping them build capacity and improve metrics. It's all part of a global spending strategy, with the Pratt & Whitney Operations Command Centers proactively tracking the supply chain.

Where to next?

Pratt & Whitney was built on innovation and the company's game-changing GTF engines are a result of that tradition. Pratt & Whitney considers its employees a key advantage over its competition. Whether it's overcoming immense technical challenges to bring the Geared Turbofan™ architecture from theory to reality, or thinking outside the box to learn new and different ways to address manufacturing and supply chain needs, Pratt & Whitney's employees are at the root of the solutions. In the same way Pratt & Whitney changed how the industry looks at an engine through the PurePower® GTF; the investments in facilities, supply chain and quality systems will change the way the company delivers on its commitments.