On the record: Reporters visit Messier-Bugatti-Dowty’s growing Walton, Kentucky facility

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Peter Lengyel, Safran USA President and CEO (at right), leads the Walton factory news media tour, where a photographer takes pictures of carbon brakes being loaded into an autoclave.

March 4, 2016 

The economic and employment benefits of Safran's U.S. industrial presence were spotlighted during a news media visit to the Group's Messier-Bugatti-Dowty factory for aircraft carbon brakes in Walton, Kentucky, which will undergo its seventh expansion since 1999.

During this week's tour, Safran USA President and CEO Peter Lengyel briefed reporters on Safran's long-term commitment to the United States, where 30 companies and joint ventures belonging to the aerospace group are located across 22 states.

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The various steps used in producing carbon brakes at the Walton factory are explained to reporters by Philippe Garnier, who is the plant's General Manager.

At the Walton facility, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty performs carbon brake production and refurbishment for such commercial airlines as Delta, Air Canada and Spirit Airlines, with the company's products also used on military aircraft.

The facility's latest expansion – announced last week by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, and valued at more than 100 million dollars – will increase its production capacity to meet expected airline demand for wheels and carbon brakes, adding some 80 additional jobs to the current 280 head count when the 2016-2018 construction phase is complete.

"Safran's U.S. industrial footprint has expanded by 50 percent over the past 10 years, and is the Group's most extensive outside of its home country, France," Lengyel told the visiting reporters.  "The constant development of Messier-Bugatti-Dowty's Walton plant during the past 15 years clearly demonstrates how Safran brings added value to the states in which its facilities are located."

The Walton facility makes carbon brakes and other equipment for aircraft such as the Boeing 787, 737, 767 and 777, as well as the Airbus A320 family. 

Messier-Bugatti-Dowty introduced carbon brake technology on commercial aircraft in 1986, with this technology now used for high-performance aviation braking.  These brakes provide significantly better energy absorption capacity, while also being lighter and more resistant than steel brakes.

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