Pratt & Whitney’s engine shop in Singapore is celebrating two major milestones: European and Singapore certification of the geared turbofan and the induction of its first engine in the family—the PW1100G-JM variant, which powers the Airbus A320neo.
The process is the culmination of a year of technology and infrastructure investment, about $85 million, to prepare for the engine at Eagle Services Asia (ESA), a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and SIA Engineering Co.
To get ready for the geared turbofan, Pratt modernized the operation—converting the engine bay concept to a visual flow line concept that can accommodate up to six engines simultaneously. It also purchased new machinery to handle grinding, stacking and balancing processes; made processes more ergonomic; and installed a large carousel and storage system for tools and parts.
The facility also incorporated a Connected Factory concept, including paperless work orders and sign-offs, as well as computing on the edge, which should improve productivity. The next step will be adding augmented reality for training. “The model we’re running now with Connected Factory will allow us to fail fast and see what adds value,” says Brendan McWilliam, Pratt & Whitney senior manager, aftermarket operations Asia-Pacific. Pratt embodies this model to innovate quickly and then deploy broadly across its network, he says.
Pratt also upgraded one of its two test cells in Singapore. Although the PW10011G-JM has a lower thrust rating than the PW4000, the geared turbofan “has the highest bypass ratio of any engine in the industry,” says Joe Sylvestro, Pratt & Whitney’s vice president aftermarket operations, so “to take in and put out more air flow, one test cell was retrofitted with a new and larger inlet tube and exhaust stack.” The test cell’s software and sound proofing system also was upgraded.
Getting this facility up and running is a crucial piece of the GTF MRO network. Pratt has sold about 10,000 geared turbofans so far and about 280 are in service with 30 operators around the world. The engines coming into shops now are for warranty issues. “From an equipment perspective, we continue to work on early challenges” and getting the latest No. 3 bearing seals and combustor upgrades into the fleet, says Sylvestro. That work will continue into this year.
Sylvestro praised GTF partners MTU, Lufthansa Technik and IHI for their work with Pratt in quickly developing the technical solutions.
Now that ESA is online, it joins GTF MRO network members MTU, Lufthansa Technik (Hamburg and Alzey), Japan Aero Engines Corp. and Pratt & Whitney facilities in Columbus, Georgia, and West Palm Beach, Florida—the latter of which received its FAA Part 145 certification in November. There are also five repair vendors: Turbine Controls, StandardAero, Lewis and Saunders, ACMT and Twin MRO, with five others set to join [FAG Aerospace (Schaeffler), American Cladding Technologies, Tube Processing, MDS Coating Technologies and MB Aerospace.]
The geared turbofan has accumulated more than 1.2 million hours on the A320neo, A220 and Embraer E190-E2 fleets. Pratt says the engine dispatch reliability is 99.9% for the A320neo, on a 12-month rolling average.