Singapore Air Show

Goodrich sets up shop at Changi

 - February 17, 2008, 11:06 PM

Aerostructures and equipment manufacturer Goodrich (Chalet CD07) tomorrow will inaugurate its new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility here in Singapore. The facility is now Goodrich’s largest MRO facility in the world. In addition to sophisticated composite repairs, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company is here doing research and development, such as a fan cowl for Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan.

Next to Changi airport, the so-called campus regroups all existing Goodrich service businesses under one roof. Moreover, a $23 million investment now more than doubles the surface, at 530,000 square feet. The newer part has been operating since October.

The first part of this facility opened four years ago, vice president and general manager Ken Tan told AIN during a factory tour. “After two years, we realized we were running out of space,” he recalled. So why does Goodrich call the facility a campus? “We want a collegial environment, where we leverage all skills, encourage other people to come and settle, which eventually yields synergy,” vice president T.C. Chan said.

MRO capabilities include nacelles, flight controls, cargo power drive units, engine components, actuators and evacuation slides. Services cover a broad range of aircraft, both civil and military, including the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

According to Tan, the new facility controls a 90-percent market share of the Boeing 777 MRO work it can do in the region. It  services Goodrich products and those of other companies. “Composites are our strong point,” Tan said. An expert in engine nacelles, he now oversees the maintenance of the MD-11 fan cowls he designed years ago. Goodrich has two autoclaves in Singapore. One of them is the largest in the region, Tan claimed, at 15 feet in diameter and 40 feet in length.

Another sophisticated job here involves Fadec testing. “We have a special chamber, simulating the flight cycle with huge variations in temperature and pressure,” Chan explained. Engineers use it for Rolls-Royce Trent 700 and 800 engines. Not far from there, the company plans to service Airbus A380 landing gear components.

Some research and development takes place here, too. For example, Goodrich designers have worked on a fan cowl for Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine, currently in development. It just shipped the first cowl to North America.

The campus currently houses 700 employees, some 550 of whom work on aerostructures. As a result of a “workforce inventing” program, inspectors now use wireless palmtop computers. “The database is thus fed more easily, which helps procurement people know what to buy,” Tan said.

Goodrich joins a growing list of companies reaping the fruits of Singapore’s exemplary educational system, and thus emphasizes hiring locals rather than expats. “Most engineers are local graduates,” Tan told AIN. Company training now takes place here, too, rather than in the U.S.