French President François Hollande inaugurates new Safran/Albany production plant in eastern France
Commercy, November 24, 2014 - François Hollande, President of France, Jean-Paul Herteman, Chairman and CEO of Safran, and Joseph G. Morone, President and CEO of Albany International Corp., today inaugurated a new production plant in Commercy, eastern France, within the scope of the industrial partnership between Safran and Albany.
Opened in May 2014, the plant makes parts for new-generation aircraft engines using an innovative composite material technology. The first application of this new technology is the production of fan blades and cases for the LEAP aircraft engine from CFM International*, which will power the next generation of single-aisle commercial jets, including the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX.
The joint production plant has already recruited more than 90 employees, and by 2018, it will have 400 employees on a 10 hectare (25 acre) site, including 27,000 square meters (291,600 sq ft) of floorspace.
The LEAP engine incorporates advanced technologies in its aerodynamic design, materials and environmental protection measures. The 3D woven composite parts made by Safran and Albany are very strong and light, which will help reduce the LEAP's fuel consumption by 15% compared with current CFM engines. Chosen to power new-generation single-aisle commercial jets, the LEAP is already very successful, having recorded over 7,800 orders to date, which equals more than five years of production for Safran.
"This new plant reflects a deeply anchored and shared vision and mutual trust between industry and government," said Jean-Paul Herteman during the inauguration ceremony. "For manufacturers like us, a new plant is a door into the future. I think that the 400 jobs to be created in this region are definitely a sign of our confidence. It also clearly illustrates our strong commitment to R&D and innovation, with the aim of developing products that offer ever-higher performance, capable of meeting our customers' economic imperatives while also satisfying increasingly stringent environmental requirements."
Joseph G. Morone added: "This plant, the concrete symbol of the partnership between Safran and Albany, is the first of its type in the aerospace industry. The manufacturing technology that is being applied here on an industrial scale, and the products designed with this technology, are truly innovative. And this specific capability is the exclusive property of Safran and Albany. So today is more than just the inauguration of a modern new plant. It marks the deployment of a unique technology that will have a considerable impact on the market for many years to come."
The two partners also inaugurated a twin plant in Rochester, New Hampshire in the United States, which will produce the same 3D woven composite parts for the LEAP engine. Safran and Albany have invested a total of $200 million in these plants.
* CFM International is the 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE.