With the majority of exterior construction complete, Pratt & Whitney’s state-of-the-art turbine airfoil production facility in Asheville, N.C., is expected to achieve initial operational capability in the second quarter of 2023. The 1.2 million-square-foot facility incorporates Industry 4.0 standards, featuring highly automated manufacturing to improve safety, quality, productivity, and cost in support of high-volume programs, including the Pratt & Whitney GTF and F135 engines, for decades to come.
Production in Asheville will complement existing turbine airfoil work that is currently done across Pratt & Whitney’s facilities. The facility will house an advanced casting foundry and conduct machining, coating and finishing of airfoils onsite. Within the first year of production, the facility will have 100 percent connected machines and digital information flow for employees. The $650 million investment is also expected to create 800 new jobs through 2027, and to date, the majority of the current 150 positions have been filled by local hires.
In May 2021, Pratt & Whitney broke ground on the new facility, holding a last beam ceremony in January 2022, and marking ‘power on’ in July. On Nov. 16, another milestone was reached as employees, the business community and elected officials, including North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper and Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, gathered to officially cut the ribbon for the new facility.
“Pratt & Whitney’s new Asheville facility is a cornerstone of our industrial transformation and a key investment that will support growing demand for GTF engine-powered aircraft and for the F135 engine, which powers the F-35 Lightning II,” said Shane Eddy, president, Pratt & Whitney. “It represents the harmonized execution of our CORE Operating System and fully integrated Industry 4.0 capabilities designed around our people and processes that add value to our products. It’s an honor to celebrate the ribbon cutting of this facility in the state that was first in flight.”
“Global companies like Pratt & Whitney can choose to locate anywhere, but they know they’ve made the smart move with North Carolina,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. “This investment will strengthen our state’s manufacturing industry, bringing good paying jobs to Buncombe County for years to come.”
“Pratt & Whitney’s new facility is the largest manufacturing project we’ve seen in the western part of our state,” said North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders. “Our state ranks as number one for manufacturing in the Southeast, and we’re excited to add Pratt & Whitney to the family of world-class manufacturers that call North Carolina home.”
“The County Commissioners are excited to see this historic project move forward. Our support for the Pratt & Whitney project is all about improving the opportunities for workers in western North Carolina. This project will produce hundreds of good jobs that increase wages in the mountain region for decades to come,” said Chairman of the Buncombe County Commission Brownie Newman.
The factory has met or exceeded Pratt & Whitney’s greenhouse gas, water and waste goals, and features several sustainability and environmental stewardship initiatives including LEED certification, zero liquid waste discharge, and 100% achievement of best practices for wastewater, energy and greenhouse gases.