- Joint venture to produce coatings for Ceramic Matrix Composite Components (CMCs)
- JV further expands GE Aviation’s mass-production capability for CMCs
EVENDALE, OHIO – November 24, 2014 – GE Aviation and Turbocoating SPA of Parma, Italy, have formed a 50/50 joint venture, called Advanced Ceramic Coatings, to provide environmental barrier coatings for CMCs used in jet engines.
Advanced Ceramic Coatings will initially operate out of a dedicated part of Turbocoating’s U.S. operations in Hickory, North Carolina. Turbocoting’s proprietary coatings technologies and industrial process know-how combined with GE Aviation’s tailored and dedicated coatings process developed specifically for CMCs will enable Advanced Ceramic Coatings to perform advanced coatings applied to GE’s high-temperature CMCs in the post-fabrication phase.
The joint venture is expected to deliver its first coated components in late 2015, including CMC shrouds for the best-selling LEAP engine from CFM International, the 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France. The LEAP is the first commercial jet engine in the aviation industry to use CMCs in the high-temperature/high-pressure turbine section.
The creation of Advanced Ceramic Coatings is one of several recent business initiatives carried-out by GE Aviation to organize the supply chain required to produce CMCs in large volumes. In October this year, GE Aviation formally opened its new factory for mass producing CMCs in Asheville, NC.
The use of lightweight and heat-resistant CMCs in the hot section of GE jet engines is a significant breakthrough in the aviation industry. CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic matrix, and enhanced with proprietary coatings. With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs reduce overall engine weight.
Equally important, their high-temperature resistance properties greatly enhance engine performance, durability, and fuel economy. CMCs are more heat resistant than metal alloys, allowing the diversion of less cooling air into an engine’s hot section. By using this cooling air instead in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently at higher temperature.
For more than 20 years, scientists at GE’s Global Research Centers and GE’s industrial businesses have worked to develop CMCs for commercial applications.
GE expects the demand for CMCs on its engines to grow tenfold over the next decade. For example, about 7,700 CFM LEAP engines are on order and each engine has 18 CMC turbine shrouds, which are stationary parts in the high-pressure turbine that direct air and ensure turbine blade efficiency. The LEAP engine will enter airline service in 2016. The LEAP engine, now undergoing development testing, will power the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft.
It is expected that in the next decade CMCs will also be incorporated into the combustor and high-pressure turbine section of the new GE9X engine under development by GE to power the new Boeing 777X twin-aisle aircraft under development. More than 600 GE9X engines are already on order today.
About the parent companies:
GE Aviation, headquartered in Evendale, Ohio, is an operating unit of GE and a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at www.geaviation.com
Turbocoating SpA, headquartered in Rubbiano, Italy, is part of the Unitedcoatings Group, a leading specialist in surface treatments and manufacturing since 1973. Through its European and US operations, the Group is a leading global specialist in the application of highly technical coating solutions, researched and developed in-house and tailored to the requirements of single clients operating in three main markets: industrial gas turbines, aerospace and, through Eurocoating SpA, medical implants. Proprietary post-machining services enables the Group to deliver tested products “ready to engine” or “ready to implant”. In addition the Group designs and manufactures in-house complete automatic turnkey coating equipments through its related company Artec SpA.