Jet engine builder GE Aviation has completed its new ceramic-matrix composites plant near Asheville, N.C., a reported $125-million project that GE claimed will be the first operation in the world to produce CMC materials for specific jet engine parts on a mass-production scale.
The plant is scheduled to produce stationary parts for LEAP turbofan engines produced by CFM International, a joint venture of GE Aviation and Snecma, a rival aircraft engine manufacturer.
More specifically, the new plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds in CMC, the first time such a material is applied for such a part. There will be 18 CMC turbine shrouds in every LEAP engine, GE Aviation noted.
The LEAP engine is due to enter commercial service in 2016 powering the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft.
To date, CFM International has taken more than orders and commitments for over 7,700 LEAP engines.