Snecma (Safran) and Mecachrome sign contract for production of titanium aluminide blades on the LEAP engine
Sablé-sur-Sarthe – April 14, 2014
Snecma (Safran) and Mecachrome today signed the procurement contract for titanium-aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine of the CFM International* LEAP engine. The contract was signed at a ceremony attended by Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister for Agriculture, Agrifoods and Forestry, government spokesman and a member of the French parliament representing the Sarthe region.
"This contract culminates three years of close collaboration between Snecma and Mecachrome," said Etienne Galan, Vice President for Purchasing at Snecma. "We are very proud of having teamed up to identify a competitive arrangement, based on a participative approach and a commitment to the same objective."
Titanium aluminide (TiAl), an alloy of titanium and aluminum, is a new-generation material with outstanding qualities. Standing up to very high temperatures (750°C), it will cut the weight of a blade in half compared with the nickel-based alloys traditionally used in low-pressure turbines. As part of the new LEAP engine, this alloy will be used for the first time in the world on a single-aisle commercial jet. It will contribute to the excellent performance of this new engine, which offers 15% lower fuel consumption than the best engines now in service.
Snecma and Mecachrome developed a special manufacturing process for TiAI blades, and even created a complete production facility. Located at Mecachrome’s plant in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, the new production line will require an investment of 60 million euros and create 150 specific jobs. Volume production will kick off in 2015, with a sharp ramp-up already in 2016, on the way to achieving the planned production rate of one blade every three minutes in 2019.
"The LEAP engine features state-of-the-art technologies," said Pierre Fabre, Chairman and CEO of Snecma. "It will be produced at the same record production rates as its predecessor, the CFM56, with over 1,700 being made in 2019. To meet this tremendous challenge, Snecma is calling on key suppliers, with whom we want to develop real partnerships. Through the agreement signed today, for instance, we are melding Snecma’s expertise in engine production with Mecachrome’s long experience in mass production and the auto industry."
"For Mecachrome, this partnership is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our cross-functional expertise, built up through work for both the aircraft and auto industries," said Arnaud de Ponnat, President of Mecachrome. "Everybody at Mecachrome is delighted with our selection by Snecma to jointly develop this innovative process and then produce TiAl turbine blades for the LEAP engine."
* The CFM56 and LEAP engines are produced and marketed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran), France and GE, United States.
About Snecma (Safran)
Snecma is part of Safran, an international high-technology group with three core businesses: aerospace, defence and security. Snecma designs, builds and sells propulsion systems for air and space, including a wide range of commercial engines that are powerful, reliable, economical and environmentally-friendly, led by the global best-seller CFM56 and the new-generation LEAP*. The company also makes world-class military aircraft engines, as well as rocket propulsion systems and equipment for satellites and launch vehicles. Snecma is a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for civil and military aircraft engines, under the new EngineLife® brand, offering comprehensive support for customers around the world.
* CFM56 and LEAP engines are produced and marketed by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran), France and GE of the United States.
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Mecachrome is a global leader in precision mechanics based in France.
For 75 years, Mecachrome has been a leader in the design, engineering, manufacturing and assembling of complex precision-engineered components for aircraft and automotive applications, including aerostructural and aircraft engine components, high-end automobile engine components and motor racing engines, defense and energy sectors.
Using its industrial know-how and leading-edge technologies, Mecachrome has established a significant presence and global reputation as a Tier 1 integrator by bringing innovating solutions. Mecachrome is the ideal partner for the completion of major projects, thanks to its operational excellence, innovation capabilities and global expertise.