Safran and Albany inaugurate US plant for composite aircraft engine parts

The 300 000 ft2 plant, which opened during 2013, was built to produce composite parts by resin transfer moulding (RTM) using 3D woven carbon fibre.

The first application for the parts will be fan cases and fan blades for CFM International's LEAP engine. CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between aircraft engine manufacturers Snecma (Safran) of France and GE of the USA. 

The composite parts produced by Safran and Albany at Rochester, where Albany Engineered Composites is headquartered, are reported to contribute to a 15% better fuel consumption compared to today's best CFM engine.

The LEAP engine has more than 6000 orders to date and will power the new Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo aircraft.

A similar plant in France

A total of 130 people are currently employed at the Safran/Albany plant in Rochester. This is expected to rise to 400-500 when full-rate production is reached.

Safran and Albany are also building a similar plant in Commercy, France, that will produce the same composite parts for the LEAP engine. This will start operations mid-2014.