This year also will see more than 500 widebody engines shipped, more than double the number in 2010. The Peebles site is therefore a focus for GE’s supply system to Boeing, and the upgrades to the infrastructure and test facilities will ensure it does not become a potential choke point explains De Bruin.
Concrete for the first wall of a key new engine test site to support the GEnx and GE90 production testing was poured on Oct 6. The site currently operates 10 test cells, three of which are undercover for production testing and seven for mainly development work. The new facility, Site 5D, opens the end of 2014 and “will free up another outside site for development tests,” says De Bruin.
This also is expected to rise to new levels with work on three versions of the Leap, the first -1A version of which for the Airbus A320neo started for the first time on Sept. 5.
By 2014 the Leap program will include the -1B for Boeing’s 737 MAX and the -1C for Comac’s C919. Future work for the site will also include development of the GE9X for the forthcoming Boeing 777-8X and -9X.
Other enhancements at the site include construction of a compressor building to pipe dried air for engine starting to the various test sites around the facility, rather than using the current system which uses “wet” ambient compressed air.
The expansion also includes the addition of new turbulence control structures—moveable giant golf-ball fixtures which correct airflow into the engine—as well as other infrastructure improvements.