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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

Albany, Safran Inaugurate Plant For 3-D Woven RTM Composite Aircraft Engine Parts

Albany International Corp. — a Rochester, N.H.-based advanced textiles and materials processing company — and Safran — a France-based aerospace, defense and security company — this week inaugurated their plant in Rochester for the production of 3-D woven resin transfer molding (RTM) composite parts for aircraft engines.
 
Albany and Safran began a partnership in 2000 to produce 3-D woven carbon fiber components, and in 2013, opened the state-of-the-art, 300,000-square-foot Rochester plant. The joint operation currently employs 130 people and is expected to employ between 400 and 500 people once production is at full capacity.
 
The first 3-D RTM composite parts produced at the plant will be used to make fan cases and fan blades for the LEAP engine produced by France-based CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Snecma, a division of Safran. The parts are especially strong and lightweight and contribute to 15 percent improved fuel consumption, Albany and Safran report. The LEAP engine has been selected for use in new and improved narrow-body commercial aircraft including the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo. According to the companies, more than 6,000 LEAP engines have been ordered to date.

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“I am very pleased to inaugurate this plant today along with our Albany International partner,” said Jean-Paul Herteman, chairman and CEO, Safran. “Our presence in Rochester reflects our commitment to this state and to the US. For more than 40 years, through CFM International, our exceptional long-term partnership with GE, and both organic growth and acquisitions, Safran has become a formidable presence in the US. Our aim is to continue to expand our position and to contribute to the development of the aerospace and security markets as an American company, to ensure optimum service for our civil and military customers here.”

“Today’s event is an important milestone in a collaboration between Safran and Albany that began in 2000 as joint research and development and that has blossomed into the unique partnership epitomized by this plant,” said Joseph Morone, president and CEO, Albany International. “The strong relationships our two companies have formed with the State of New Hampshire and City of Rochester and their support of our joint effort have contributed immeasurably to the success we celebrate today.”

Albay and Safran also are building a similar plant in Commercy, France, that will produce the same advanced composite parts for the LEAP engine. That plant is expected to begin operations mid-2014.

April 1, 2014