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Pratt & Whitney GTF geared turbofan engine illustration.

Pratt & Whitney Completing New Airfoil Plant

Nov. 21, 2022
The $650-million operation in North Carolina will start in Q2 2023, casting airfoil structures for commercial and military jet engines.

Pratt & Whitney staged a ribbon-cutting event for its new turbine airfoil plant in Asheville, NC, a $650-million project announced November 2020. Much of the exterior construction is completed for the 1.2-million-sq.ft. plant, and the engine builder indicated the first parts will be produced during Q2 2023.

Described as an “advanced casting foundry,” the plant will have investment-casting capability for airfoil structures for Pratt & Whitney’s GTF geared turbofan engine and F135 high-pressure jet engines, along with onsite machining, coating, and finishing capabilities.

Investment casting is the preferred manufacturing process for airfoils because it can be used to produce specialty alloy parts with directionally solidified (DS) and single-crystal oriented structures, which are necessary for maintaining the thermal and mechanical endurance required for aircraft engine reliability.

Pratt noted its new plant has met or exceeded its goals for greenhouse gas, water and waste goals, and achieves LEED certification and zero liquid-waste discharge. It is forecast to create 800 new jobs through 2027, and 150 positions already have been filled.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other state and local officials attended the ribbon-cutting event, along with Pratt & Whitney’s executive team.

“Pratt & Whitney’s new Asheville facility is a cornerstone of our industrial transformation and a key investment that will support growing demand for GTF engine-powered aircraft and for the F135 engine, which powers the F-35 Lightning II,” stated president Shane Eddy. “It represents the harmonized execution of our CORE Operating System and fully integrated Industry 4.0 capabilities designed around our people and processes that add value to our products. It’s an honor to celebrate the ribbon cutting of this facility in the state that was first in flight.”