July 8, 2011
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), Mirabel, Que., recently opened its new Mirabel Aerospace Centre, located at Montreal-Mirabel International Airport. The grand opening marks the completion of the company’s assembly and test facility for its next generation of jet engines.
The facility, which featurers advanced manufacturing technologies, is ready for production. At the facility P&WC will assemble and test the PurePower® PW1524G for the Bombardier CSeries aircraft and the PurePower PW800 family of engines for the next generation of large business jets.
P&WC launched its global hub for flight test operations in 2010.
“Our collaboration with Pratt & Whitney Canada will help spur innovation and encourage long-term growth in Quebec, while creating jobs and bringing economic benefits to the province. Aerospace is a key contributor to Quebec’s economy, with more than 40,000 people ensuring its success. Our position as a global aerospace leader lies in the success of companies like Pratt & Whitney Canada who continue to invest in the province,” said Quebec Premier Jean Charest.
The 300,000-sq.-ft. facility represents a $360 million investment. Approximately 300 people will be employed at the facility within five years.
“Two and a half years ago, Pratt & Whitney Canada shared its vision for a unique aerospace centre featuring a revolutionary manufacturing facility and state-of-the art equipment to assemble and test engines on the ground and in the air,” said P&WC President John Saabas. “Today, thanks to the passion, resolve, and hard work of the P&WC team, our partners, and the governments of Quebec and Canada, the vision is a reality.”
The Mirabel Aerospace Centre was designed and built to achieve the highest standards of operations excellence and sustainability, the company states. Engines will be assembled according to the latest lean principles.
The centre incorporates an overhead, automated indexing flow assembly line that allows engines to be assembled horizontally; the company hopes this translates into a more ergonomic process. The engines will be assembled in an optimized and lean process starting from the front and progressing toward the back, with a specialized workforce trained to perform multiple tasks for maximum flexibility based on production needs. The manufacturing processes have been designed to maintain the highest standards of safety and ergonomics.
The engine flight testing centre can also test turboprops and turbofans with up to 90,000 lbs. of thrust. It houses two Boeing 747SP aircraft that have been transformed into flying test beds to simulate a complete range of flight conditions and record key engine data.
The first engine to be flight-tested in Mirabel will be the PW1524G engine for Bombardier. Flight testing is scheduled to begin this summer.
The centre was built to LEED® silver certification standards. It features a passive solar wall, energy-efficient lighting, and optimized use of natural light. Ninety-seven percent of waste was recycled during construction, and the company made significant use of local and recycled materials during construction to minimize the environmental impact.
The engines built and tested incorporate the most advanced environmental technologies, the company states. Both the PW1524G engine and the PW800 family will deliver double-digit improvements in fuel consumption, environmental emissions, and engine noise.
For more information, visit www.pwc.ca.
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