General Electric has started wind-tunnel testing of multiple one-fifth-scale configurations for its open-rotor engine to identify the optimum blade design. Minimal noise output and minimal specific fuel consumption are primary benefits derived from the two counter-rotating stages of blades.
Ongoing acoustic testing has involved more complex blade configurations that reflect the technological advances of the past 20 years in areas such as inter-blade spacing, blade sweep angle and chord length and other features derived through three-dimensional aerodynamic design. Later this year, performance testing of the blade designs at a wide range of engine speeds will enable the development of a comprehensive record of blade design data for current and future applications.
Meanwhile, the Engine Alliance GP7200 turbofan–a joint project between GE and Pratt & Whitney–has marked 18 months in revenue service. Since entering service with the world’s largest A380 fleet–Emirates–in August 2008, the GP7200 has achieved a departure reliability rating of 99.9 percent and experienced no in-flight shutdowns.
Meanwhile, GE Aviation’s service operation in Singapore has started producing new blade dampers and seals for GE’s CF6 and CF34 and LM marine engines. The component manufacturing is the first new-make manufacturing for the Singapore site, with the first production parts shipped on January 22. The new-make manufacturing process uses a 50,000-sq-ft expansion that was completed last year.
GE Aviation’s Singapore site repairs and refurbishes high- and low-pressure turbine blades and vanes, combustors, rotating parts and seals for more than 100 aircraft engine customers around the world. The 250,000-sq-ft facility employs more than 900 employees. Along with new component manufacturing, the newly expanded facility will also enable GE to increase its repair capabilities to include repairs on the GEnx engine for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners and 747-8s.