Safran Aircraft Engines and Albany International Corp. announced an agreement extending their partnership to the year 2046. Through this new agreement, the two companies declare their intent to work together on the next generation engines and thus contribute to the 2050 net-zero CO2 emissions commitment of the aviation industry.
Albany International and Safran signed the original framework agreement in 2006 resulting in the creation of their joint venture for the development of high technology composite parts (3D woven and Resin Transfer Molded technologies) designed for aircraft engines, landing gears and nacelles.
The 3D-woven composite technology designed and developed by Safran in partnership with Albany Engineered Composites, is a major innovation that plays a key role in improving the performance of the new generation LEAP engine of CFM International, which powers the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Comac C919 aircraft families. This advanced material is used to manufacture the fan blades, fan case and spacers of the LEAP engine, leading to significant weight savings and contributing to reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of 15 percent. Safran and Albany have also teamed-up to work on the development and production of the GE9X 3D composite fan case for the Boeing 777X.
In order to address unprecedented LEAP production ramp-up, the partners have built three state-of-the-art production plants in Rochester (New Hampshire, United States), in Commercy (France) and in Querétaro (Mexico). These three sites are dedicated to 3D composite parts and delivered to date more than 130 000 parts of the LEAP engine.
“We are pleased to extend our partnership with Safran, building on the success of Albany’s proprietary 3D weaving technology and our joint efforts on critical components of the LEAP and GE9X engine programs,” said Bill Higgins, Albany International president and CEO. “The goals set for the next-generation of aircraft engines are multi-faceted and technically demanding. Our AEC team is looking forward to further collaboration with our Safran partners to apply our advanced composite technologies to the next generation of aircraft engines that meaningfully raise the bar for fuel-efficiency and contribute to a more sustainable future.”
“Based on the successful partnership we have developed with Albany on the LEAP program, we are looking forward to starting a new chapter of our strategic cooperation,” said Jean-Paul Alary, CEO of Safran Aircraft Engines. “Combining Albany’s recognized expertise in weaving with our innovative composites represents a fantastic asset to address our ambitious sustainable goals through next-generation engine programs.”
CFM will keep exploring composite applications through the RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) technology and demonstration program launched in 2021 as a manifestation of its deep commitment for achieving aggressive goals for a sustainable future, including reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by more than 20 percent.