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Supply Chains Ready for Nexcelle Nacelle Production Ramps

Jul 26,2018

Nacelle manufacturer Nexcelle has supply chains fully in place to support rapid production ramps for the nacelles it is providing for the Bombardier Global 7500 long-range business jet and the Comac C919 large single-aisle commercial jet, according to president Kenneth Onderko. Nexcelle is a joint venture between GE Aviation's Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS) and Safran Nacelles.

With Bombardier and its program partners expecting to receive type certification of the Global 7500 in August, a rapid production ramp for the Global 7500 is already beginning, Onderko said. Nexcelle then expects production of its integrated nacelle for the C919¡¯s CFM Leap-1C engine to accelerate quickly once that aircraft achieves certification because Comac already holds firm orders and other commitments for some 1,300 C919s from Chinese airlines and leasing companies.

Founded 10 years ago as an equal joint venture between subsidiaries of GE Aviation and Safran, the major aerospace OEMs, which are also equal partners in engine manufacturer CFM International, Nexcelle was modeled to conform closely to the CFM corporate structure. It was formed ¡°with the intention of bringing a new concept, with new technologies, of integrated propulsion systems,¡± developed by means of very close cooperation between the nacelle company and the manufacturers of the engines involved, said Onderko.

Today, Nexcelle¡¯s cooperation with GE Aviation and Bombardier to create an integrated propulsion system for the GE Passport engine powering the Global 7500 is about to take fruit. Nexcelle is embarking upon ¡°a pretty healthy three-year ramp-up¡± of production of the aircraft¡¯s nacelles, he said. With Bombardier already holding ¡°a very healthy backlog on the Global 7500, it¡¯s a pretty aggressive ramp-up considering it¡¯s a business jet.¡±

Fundamental to Nexcelle¡¯s ability to manage the ramp-up without disruption are the capabilities of its internal and external suppliers, which will need to produce nacelle components and parts of the required quality in sufficient numbers and at the right time. Nexcelle is confident it can ensure this, according to Onderko, who said his company continues to demonstrate that ability to Bombardier in regular reviews of Nexcelle¡¯s supply-chain and production arrangements.

¡°The advantage of having a joint venture is that you have the supply chains of both partners¡± available to handle the required production of parts and components, said Onderko. He added that in Nexcelle¡¯s case the advantage is even more pronounced because its corporate structure and supply chains are identical to those of the CFM partners, which cooperate through Safran Nacelles (as the program lead) and MRAS to produce the nacelles for Leap-1A engines built for Airbus A320neos.

¡°We have done extensive work to ensure the supply base, externally and internally, [is available and ready] to support the ramp-up¡± of Global 7500 Passport nacelle production,¡± said Onderko. ¡°We have plans and multiple suppliers in place, and production is contracted pretty well out¡± into the three-year production ramp. As a subsidiary of Passport manufacturer GE Aviation, MRAS is the Nexcelle partner that serves as the nacelle program lead for the Passport integrated propulsion system.

Nexcelle is similarly confident in its C919 nacelle-production arrangements. ¡°We use the same [supply-chain confirmation] processes for the Passport and the Leap-1C and we have recently expanded both facilities [at MRAS and Safran Nacelles] to handle the Passport and Leap-1C [nacelle production ramps]," said Onderko. As program lead for the Leap-1A nacelle, Safran Nacelles is the Nexcelle partner that serves as the program lead for the C919 nacelle, working closely with CFM.

Safran Nacelles and Safran Aircraft Engines provide each Leap-1C integrated propulsion system as a unit to Comac at its industrial complex in Shanghai, where the Chinese company mates the propulsions systems with the aircraft. Comac is now completing production of the third flight-test C919 and CFM will be delivering that aircraft¡¯s Leap-1C engines soon, according to Onderko.

While Nexcelle counts only the Global 7500 and C919 as program wins to date, Onderko confirmed that Nexcelle is discussing future integrated propulsion-system applications for other aircraft. ¡°There are potential opportunities,¡± he said. ¡°It¡¯s obvious that, when we deliver what we said we would do, that captures people¡¯s attention. There is activity regarding follow-on applications.¡±

As the Onderko¡¯s saying, we can notice that future integrated propulsion-system applications for other aircraft can be developed. Recently, AECC will start next generation commercial aero engine served for Sino-Russia Wide-body Aircraft CR929 with Russia Engine manufacturer UEC. The new aero-engine is named as ¡®PD35¡¯ and AECC is starting the global vendor selection process by sending out RFI document. On September 12th - 13th, 2018, 8th Annual China Aerospace Propulsion Technology Forum (CAPTF2018) will be held in the city of Chengdu.

This time they are looking for more global partners. Meanwhile, as the most authoritative industry conference in China, we will also have a main forum named Civil Aircraft Industry International Forum and a sub-forum called China Aeronautical Materials and Process Summit, which is hosted by Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics. On behalf of the organizing committee, we sincerely invite you to participate in this forum. Jointly promote the development of China's aero engine industry. In 8th Annual China Aerospace Propulsion Technology Forum (CAPTF 2018), the topic of ¡°New Technical Airworthiness Requirements for Aero Engines¡± will be put forward, which can make the delegates get more information about Chinese market.

For more details, please pay your attention on the upcoming 8th Annual China Aerospace Propulsion Technology Forum, which will be held in the city of Chengdu, on September 12th - 13th, 2018.

Click Register for more detailed information of the event.

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