Innovation for Increased Engine Production
New manufacturing techniques, innovation and standard work are critical to Pratt & Whitney's success as the company begins producing its next generation family of engines. This is the message Lynn Gambill, chief engineer, Manufacturing Engineering and Global Services for Pratt & Whitney, shared with an audience of manufacturing professionals gathered at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers "Manufacturing 4 the Future" event last week at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
Gambill delivered a keynote address to showcase the work Pratt & Whitney is doing to set the stage for a successful ramp up on the PurePower® engine lines.
"Our technology leadership and innovations on our Next Generation Product Family engine series, most notably the geared architecture, has led to extraordinary success in the marketplace with tremendous sales," said Gambill. "Because of the significant benefits of this product, Pratt & Whitney has sold more than 5,300 engines. This success has also led to an increase in our production volume not seen since the 1980s and we have invested millions in our facilities to help support these production volumes."
Gambill said in order for Pratt & Whitney to be successful in this unprecedented ramp, or sharp increased demand, the company is using innovative manufacturing technologies, production readiness processes, material management, technical skills development and product cost management to achieve success. Some of the technology the company is using includes increased automated manufacturing, new inspection techniques, powder metallurgy manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and unique processes such non-conventional machining and 3D process modeling.
"At Pratt & Whitney we are an industry leader in manufacturing innovation," Gambill mentioned. "Tools such as additive manufacturing, powder metallurgy manufacturing or advanced quality inspection methods offer benefits such as reduced lead times, cost savings, energy consumption reductions, and more accurate production through increased automation. Ultimately these new processes and techniques will bring greater value to Pratt & Whitney and our customers."
With all that's been invested to position Pratt & Whitney's for success, the company can't allow single points of failure and must do what is necessary to succeed. For this reason the organization is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to transform and standardize its operations and investing in its future. Investments include purchase of new machines, new equipment, hiring and training employees and the purchasing or expansion of sites to increase manufacturing space. This includes expanding the company's manufacturing and assembly and test network to limit single points of failure.
"We are making investments in our manufacturing facilities in U.S. but also in our sites across the globe," she said. "Having the latest and greatest production techniques in place positions the company to be more competitive and deliver products to meet our customer commitments."
Before concluding her remarks, Gambill told the audience that Pratt & Whitney is a great company with a great legacy and bright future. "For nearly 90 years, the company has led industry change with products, services and technologies that defined aviation," she said. "Through constant reinvention, we have evaluated our business to meet and satisfy the needs of customers worldwide."