State, county and city officials joined top brass at GE Aviation on Tuesday to announce a $27 million expansion of the GE Aviation plant in Newark, a move that will allow the facility boost its production of a special material used to make advanced aircraft engine parts.
The expansion will bring 70 new jobs to the 110,000-square-foot facility at Diamond State Industrial Park off Old Cooch's Bridge Road, officials say.
It now has 101 employees (88 permanent) at the facility, and is committed to staffing 151 people by the end of 2016.
The Delaware Economic Development Office invested in the project through the Delaware Strategic Fund with a $304,833 performance grant and an $810,000 capital expenditures matching grant.
The material made in Newark is called Ceramic Matrix Composite, and it is lightweight and extremely strong.
“Somewhere in the world, a GE engine takes off every two seconds,” said Jerry Kroger, one of the composites managers for GE. “Newark is one of the key facilities to make it all possible.”
The material is considered the workhorse of aircraft engines and is used for such components as nozzles, liners, and fan blades. The GE9X engine is the exclusive engine for all Boeing 777 wide bodies.
“This idea of Delaware being plugged into the global economy is very powerful,” Gov. Jack Markell told the gathering, adding that he'll always feel close to his home state, even at 30,000 feet.
According to Jeffrey Wessels, GE's operations manager of ceramic composite products, the product is one-third the density of the nickel base superalloys it replaces and can withstand temperatures in excess of 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In very simplified terms, the Ceramic Matrix Composite is made by coating and cooking a ceramic fiber and rolling it into layer upon layer that becomes so dense that the only way to cut it is with diamond grinding wheels, said Wessels.
Media were given a tour of the manufacturing area on Tuesday, but were only allowed to photograph a few spots.Source