The Nexcelle (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) joint venture of Aircelle (Safran; La Havre, France) and GE Aviation’s Middle River Aircraft Systems (Ellisville, Miss., USA) – which is building engine nacelles for the next generation of integrated propulsion systems – reported on Dec. 11 that it has marked a key program milestone by shipping its initial major production component: the composite number 1 inlet for GE Aviation’s Passport business jet engine.
This represents a double achievement, as the initial Passport inlet also is the first element to be completed at the new GE Composites factory in Ellisville, which was inaugurated earlier this year as GE Aviation’s latest U.S. production facility.
The milestone Nexcelle air inlet was transported from Ellisville to GE Aviation’s Peebles Test Operation in Ohio, USA, where it will be integrated with a Passport engine for propulsion system icing testing in Canada.
Nexcelle is responsible for designing, developing and producing the nacelle for GE’s Passport engine, with GE Aviation’s Middle River Aircraft Systems responsible for the Passport’s inlet and fan cowl, while Aircelle is producing the target-type thrust reverser.
“Nexcelle’s strength comes from the resources of its two parent companies, enabling our joint venture to develop nacelles that are more optimized, efficient and maintainable,” says Nexcelle president Michel Abella. “The completion of Passport’s first inlet at Ellisville demonstrates how these resources fully support Nexcelle as we move into production for the next generation of integrated propulsion systems.”
Production and assembly of Nexcelle’s Passport inlet at Ellisville employs a newg-eneration robotic system that automatically drills, countersinks and inspects holes – improving production speed and quality. This system is from GE Aviation’s Global Robotics, Automation and Instrumentation Research & Development Center in Bromont, Quebec, Canada, which develops advanced robotic processes, software and intellectual property for GE Aviation facilities around the world.
Nexcelle was created in 2008, and has been selected to supply the nacelle systems for two major engine programs: the Passport for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and Global 8000 business aircraft; and the CFM International LEAP1C on COMAC’s C919 airliner.