Pratt & Whitney Expands Columbus Facility for Geared Turbofan Engines

$386M investment to upgrade manufacturing equipment and hire 500 new employees.

Inside the Pratt & Whitney Columbus Engine Center. (Image courtesy of Pratt & Whitney.)

Inside the Pratt & Whitney Columbus Engine Center. (Image courtesy of Pratt & Whitney.)

There seems to be a profound sense of optimism surrounding American manufacturing these days, and although the underlying causes are controversial, the effects are nothing if not positive, particularly when they come from the top of the supply chain.

Case in point, Pratt & Whitney recently announced that it will be expanding its business in Columbus, Ga. with a USD $386-million investment. The company is aiming to increase production of parts and maintenance services, along with reducing costs for new and existing engine programs.

The investment will go toward the purchase of automated machinery and equipment upgrades, as well as the construction of two new buildings. The emphasis on automation notwithstanding, the company has stated that the investment will also result in more than 500 new employees being hired.

The new buildings will be a 200,000-sq-ft facility for the overhaul of Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines and a 20,000-sq-ft facility for specialized manufacturing, including a new isothermal forge press that will be used to produce turbine disks and compressor rotors.

(Image curtesy of Pratt & Whitney.)

(Image curtesy of Pratt & Whitney.)

The Columbus Engine Center maintains PW1100G-JM, V2500, PW2000, F117 and F100 engines. Columbus Forge produces compressor airfoils and nickel and titanium forgings, which are machined into critical rotating components for Pratt & Whitney’s military and commercial engines.

“We’re investing heavily in our Columbus facility to support the increased production and services planned for our F135 and GTF engines,” said Chris Calio, president of Pratt & Whitney Commercial Engines. “This investment will help ensure that we have the appropriate infrastructure, tooling and trained workforce in place to provide the best products and services to our customers worldwide.”

“By adding these new high-quality manufacturing jobs, Pratt & Whitney is making a significant investment in the Columbus community,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, “and we look forward to strengthening this longstanding partnership as the company continues to grow.”

Pratt & Whitney has also expanded its relationship with Columbus Technical College in order to provide training programs for new and existing employees. The school will offer four- to nine-week programs focused on aerospace mechanics and advanced manufacturing technologies to support the company’s expansion.

(Image courtesy of Pratt & Whitney.)

(Image courtesy of Pratt & Whitney.)

An investment of this kind is a rare example of when trickle-down effects can actually work the way they’re supposed to; in addition to supporting training programs at the local level, Pratt & Whitney’s expansion will no doubt incentivise its suppliers to follow suit.

The lesson is clear: growth in the manufacturing section is a win for everyone.

For more information, visit the Pratt & Whitney website.