With the majority of exterior construction complete, Pratt & Whitney’s new turbine airfoil production facility in Asheville, North Carolina, is expected to achieve initial operational capability in the second quarter of 2023.
The 1.2 million square foot facility incorporates Industry 4.0 standards, featuring highly automated manufacturing to improve safety, quality, productivity, and cost in support of high-volume programs, including the Pratt & Whitney GTF and F135 engines, for decades to come.
Production in Asheville will complement existing turbine airfoil work that is currently done across Pratt & Whitney’s facilities. The facility will house an advanced casting foundry and conduct machining, coating and finishing of airfoils onsite. Within the first year of production, the facility will have 100% connected machines and digital information flow for employees. The U$650 million investment is also expected to create 800 new jobs through 2027, and to date, the majority of the current 150 positions have been filled by local people.
In May 2021, Pratt & Whitney broke ground on the new facility, holding a last beam ceremony in January 2022, and marking ‘power on’ in July. Another milestone was reached recently as employees, the business community and elected officials, including North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper and Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, gathered to officially cut the ribbon for the new facility.
“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,” said Shane Eddy, president, Pratt & Whitney. “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 honour to celebrate the ribbon cutting of this facility in the state that was first in flight.”
The factory has met or exceeded Pratt & Whitney’s greenhouse gas, water and waste goals, and features several sustainability and environmental stewardship initiatives including LEED certification, zero liquid waste discharge, and 100% achievement of best practices for wastewater, energy and greenhouse gases.