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Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan Engine has had a Very Good Year

Dec 27,2018

In the long and complex history of United Technologies, 2018 will likely be remembered as the year that Rockwell Collins was acquired and the company announced it would return to its roots as an aviation enterprise by separating from its non-aerospace units. No doubt about it, the transformation of United Technologies from a major supplier of aircraft engines, electronics and mechanical equipment into the biggest such supplier in the world ($50 billion in revenues) is a significant development.

However, it may be that the most important development shaping the company¡¯s future success in 2018 was barely noticed by many outsiders. The Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine that its Pratt & Whitney unit spent 20 years and $10 billion developing has won broad acceptance among carriers around the world by demonstrating it can deliver all the promised benefits in fuel efficiency, noise reduction and emissions abatement while sustaining high rates of reliability.

There¡¯s been plenty of coverage of the Geared Turbofan this year, but few writers seem to grasp that the engine¡¯s success in 2018 represents a watershed in the history of aircraft propulsion. Every turbofan up to this point has run its front end and back end at the same speed ¨C even though optimum efficiency dictates running the fan at the front much slower than the compressor and turbine elements in the back. The GTF changes all that by introducing 3:1 reduction gears between front and back, allowing each part of the engine to operate at the most efficient speed.

It¡¯s a breakthrough, but like many other revolutionary technologies, GTF¡¯s introduction was accompanied by challenges. Much of the coverage following its introduction in 2016 focused on those challenges. The early challenges have now been resolved, and Pratt is poised to take market share from its competitors. This seems like a good time to recap what Pratt & Whitney ¨C a contributor to my think tank ¨C has accomplished, because it is going to change the face of aviation.

Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan revolutionizes engine design by introducing 3:1 reduction gears between the fan at the front end and back where turbines and compressors are located. As a result, each engine element operates at the most efficient rate. PRATT & WHITNEY Strong demand. In the twelve months ending November 30, Pratt received 2,000 orders and commitments for Geared Turbofans, raising the total to 10,000. During 2018 ten more carriers joined the community of users, raising the total number of airlines adopting the new propulsion system to over 30. Major recent orders have been received from Delta, Jet Blue and Swiss, mainly to equip Airbus A320neo aircraft and the recently renamed Airbus A220 (formerly Bombardier¡¯s CSeries). The GTF has also been adopted by regional jet makers Embraer, Irkut and Mitsubishi.

The 4th Annual Commercial Aero Engine Shanghai International Forum will be held in the city of Shanghai at Novotel Hongqiao. Focus on ¡°Highly Efficient And Clean Civil Aviation Engine Technology Development Trends (Lower Fuel Consumption Rate & Lower Emission/Technical comparison of improving engine efficiency and improving propulsion efficiency/Application status and development trend of new engine technology different from traditional turbofan engine (intercooled recuperated cycle aero- engine, GTF, OpenRotor))¡±. Register your interest or get in touch with marketing@galleon.cc for more details.

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