Turbocoating spa, an Italian company that develops special processes and manufacture protective coatings for components used in Industrial gas turbines and aero engines, announced a 50-50 joint venture, called Advanced Ceramic Coatings, with US giant GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric and a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft.
The joint venture’s aim is providing environmental barrier coatings for Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) used to produce particular components in jet engines suc as turbine shrouds, which are stationary parts in the high-pressure turbine that direct air and ensure turbine blade efficiency (download here the press release).
For more than 20 years, scientists at GE’s Global Research Centers and GE’s industrial businesses have worked to develop CMCs for commercial applications. The creation of Advanced Ceramic Coatings is one of several recent business initiatives carried-out by GE Aviation to organize the supply chain required to produce CMCs in large volumes. The use of lightweight and heat-resistant CMCs in the hot section of GE jet engines is a significant breakthrough in the aviation industry. CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic matrix, and enhanced with proprietary coatings. With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs reduce overall engine weight.
Equally important, their high-temperature resistance properties greatly enhance engine performance, durability, and fuel economy. CMCs are more heat resistant than metal alloys, allowing the diversion of less cooling air into an engine’s hot section. By using this cooling air instead in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently at higher temperature.
CMC shrouds will be produced for the best-selling LEAP engine from CFM International, the 50-50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France. The LEAP is the first commercial jet engine in the aviation industry to use CMCs in the high-temperature/high-pressure turbine section.
The LEAP engine will enter airline service in 2016. The LEAP engine, now undergoing development testing, will power the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft. Later this decade, CMCs will also be incorporated into the combustor and high-pressure turbine section of the new GE9X engine under development by GE to power the Boeing 777X twin-aisle aircraft. More than 600 GE9X engines are already on order today.
Turbocoating, the leading operating unit and the holding company of Unitedcoatings group, is going to close year 2014 with about 60 million euros of revenues and 13.5 millions of ebitda.
The company is partecipated by Fondo italiano di Investimento and a fund of Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners which is advised by Mast Capital Partners. In January 2013 the two funds invested a total of 20 million euros both in a capital increase for a minority stake of the company and in a convertible bond (download here the press release).