Fast-growing Asian markets have the demand and most of the MRO infrastructure to support further rapid growth in aviation. These markets are also playing an increasing role in the innovation that steadily increases the efficiency of aviation and MRO.
For example, GKN Aerospace will create a new Aero Engine Component Repair and Research facility in the state of Johor in Southern Malaysia. The facility will open in 2019 and service engine fan blades and fan discs for commercial aircraft.
Alex Guruprasad, vice president for business development for GKN Engine Systems Engine Systems, says this is GKN’s first engine shop in Asia. “GKN Aerospace as a group has a number of other facilities across Asia in India, Singapore and China, serving different market sectors,” Guruprasad notes. “We are evaluating other opportunities to expand our footprint in Asia, as it is important to be close to our customers.”
The Johor facility will initially repair parts for CFM56-7Bs and -5Bs and the V2500 family of engines. It will start up with around 100 to 150 employees within the first two years.
Guruprusad says the research functions of the facility will be centered on application of additive manufacturing technology to engine-part repair. This research will be conducted in cooperation with GKN customers. The GKN exec says it is too early to say which specific additive repair technologies will be investigated. The focus will depend partly on customer interests.
GKN chose the Johor location for a number of reasons. “The availability of ready-built facilities was a benefit for our project timescale,” Guruprusad says. “The incentives that were made available to us in the area were attractive. And the proximity to talent, logistic services and equipment providers and servicing in Singapore was also a consideration.” Johor is of course just across Johore Strait from the aviation hub of Singapore, and thousands of trucks cross the strait every day.
Meanwhile, other elements of GKN continue to expand the firm’s Asian footprint. In mid-July, GKN and the Indian state of Maharashtra signed a memorandum of understanding on investment in a second manufacturing facility for wiring interconnection systems. The new site, a fully owned GKN Aerospace business, will be located in Pune in Maharashtra and is scheduled to come online in the fourth quarter of 2018. Production will start in the first quarter of 2019, and the workforce is expected to grow to 800 by 2027.