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Safran Helicopter Engines Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary

Oct 15,2018

 Set up in 1938, Turbomeca, now Safran Helicopter Engines, is celebrating its 80th anniversary on September 20, 2018! In its early days when the company manufactured compressors for piston engines, it has enjoyed significant growth and become the world leader in helicopter engines. We take a look back at the saga of the company's founder, Joseph Szydlowski.


Joseph Szydlowski was born on November 21, 1896 in Chelm, Poland. In 1930, the young Polish engineer emigrated to France where he contributed greatly to building the French aerospace industry.


During the inter-war period, Joseph Szydlowski lived in Germany and became an engineer and inventor. His career in France began in 1930 when the French state commissioned him to manufacture a diesel demonstrator engine. As of 1936, the first patents for "variable circulation" compressors were filed. It was from this point onwards that the company, managed by Joseph Szydlowski over a 50-year period, began to grow.


Two years later, in 1938, he set up Turbomeca with his associate Andr®¶ Planiol with a view to harnessing this invention. In October that year, the first S39 centrifugal compressor, intended for a Hispano-Suiza engine, rolled off the small production line in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris. He went on to buy a plant in M®¶zi®®res-sur-Seine in order to meet mass production needs.


In 1940, it moved the company to an unoccupied zone in Saint-P®¶-de-Bigorre (south-west of France), before moving it again in 1942 to Bordes, near Pau, where it is still located today. 


During this period, Turbomeca manufactured turbochargers for gasifier engines. But the Germans were invading the South of France and seized a large proportion of the machines and tools. Joseph Szydlowski fled to Switzerland having entrusted his plant to General Engineer Martinot-Lagarde.


August 1944: the region is liberated. Szydlowski returned to Bordes to get his company back up and running. He re-employed his staff and got hold of the machines again. Turbomeca was back again! Working alongside the engineer Pierre Mauboussin, who managed the aerospace company Fouga, Szydlowski focused operations on designing low-power jet engines for a new range of aircraft including turbine-powered helicopters°≠ This marked the start of a great adventure that would link Turbomeca to helicopter engines. In 1948, testing of Turbomeca's first turboshaft, the TT 782, took place. The 1950s saw the release of the Artouste engine, which would power the Alouette II, the world's first mass-produced turbine-powered helicopter. Building on the success of the first turboshaft, Joseph Szydlowski paved the way for today's best-selling engines such as the Arriel, Arrius or also Makila°≠


Joseph Szydlowski died at the age of 91, on July 16, 1988, the year Turbomeca celebrated its 50th anniversary.


The aero engine industry chain is long and has a wide coverage, which has a huge driving effect on the national economy and technological development. Aero engine project is also a key project in China in recent years. In 2015, the government work report for the first time included aero engine and gas turbine manufacturing in the report, reflecting the unprecedented importance of the state.

Promoted by the national security strategy and the substitution of localization, the engine industry is expected to receive special funds of more than 100 billion yuan. Over the next 20 years, China's aero engines and gas turbines market demand are expected to exceed 2 trillion yuan. Among them, the demand of the military aero engine market is about 300 billion yuan, the demand for supporting service is about 500 billion yuan; the demand of the civil aero engine market is about 900 billion yuan, the demand for supporting service is about 600 billion yuan; the gas turbine market demand is about 275 billion yuan, and the corresponding service demand exceeds 255 billion yuan.


In terms of engine cutting-edge materials and processing technology, blade manufacturing key technologies, overall leaf disc manufacturing and repair technologies, Airworthiness certification and testing technology, management, maintenance and other areas there are still technical difficulties. Under this background, the "4th Annual Commercial Aero Engine Shanghai International Forum 2019" will be held in Shanghai on 20thto 21st, March, 2019. More than 150 well-known domestic and foreign aero engine business executives and experts will be invited to share the forefront developments Chinese aero engine market demand, and jointly make contribution to Chinese aero engine industry.


Register you interest or get in touch with marketing@galleon.cc for more details.

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