The facility, which manufactures jet engine blades of heat-resistant super alloys, employs laser cutting machines to drill precision holes under tight-tolerance conditions. Industrial Laser Solutions (ILS) reports that GE Aviation chose lasers for production because of the need to create “flawless aerodynamic shapes,” accounting for extreme pressures the blades encounter during operation.
“This is one of the critical and sophisticated components in our jet engines,” GE Aviation CEO David Joyce told ILS. “They are perfectly shaped aerodynamically, with laser-drilled cooling holes because they operate at extraordinary temperatures. We consider them a work of art.”
The Alabama facility, which opened in April, currently employs about 50 workers. GE Aviation has announced that when the facility reaches full operational status later this decade, it will employ 300 to 400 employees.
GE Aviation recently redoubled its efforts to invest in advanced technologies, releasing a video expounding the ways in which it is employing additive manufacturing (AM) at its Ohio laboratories. You can hear more about these efforts in an interview IMT Machining Journal conducted with Greg Morris, head of strategy and business development for additive technologies at GE Aviation.
GE Aviation released a video factory tour of the facility, featuring interviews with the Auburn management and staff, as well as displaying the types of technology available at the plant. You can watch the video below.