GE Aviation gives glimpse into Lafayette facility

(WLFI Photo)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Behind the doors of the 300,000 square foot facility is some of the most advanced manufacturing in the state, but GE is doing more than assembling the LEAP engine.

It’s working to put Indiana on the map as a leader in aerospace technology.

“We want to be a part of that aerospace future that Indiana, I think, is well positioned to have,” said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski.

GE Aviation in Lafayette is one of three plants in the world assembling and repairing the engine used in Boeing 737’s, the Airbus and COMAC aircraft.

On Wednesday, a select few got a look inside.

“We have a lot of investment here, and we are going to continue to work to bring those advanced manufacturers to this community,” explained Roswarski. “In particular, if we can work on the aerospace cluster, that’s a high priority for us.”

To keep up with industry demand, right now, the facility only uses two production bays, but a production ramp up over the next three years will double that, increasing productions of engines from five a week to five per day.

“There’s a lot of empty space still,” said GE Aviation Supply Chain Vice President and General Manager Colleen Athans.

Part of the tour included a panel discussion about the long term impact on Tippecanoe County’s economy.

“One GE factory is usually 200 to 250 suppliers that don’t necessarily locate right next door, but certainly in the general area,” said Athans. “So anywhere from logistics to piece part manufacturing to servicing to anything that has to do with the factory.”

“All of those things to help create that business environment that allow companies like GE to feel comfortable making significant investments here in our community,” added Roswarski. “If we can keep doing that, it bodes very well for our future.”

In September 2015, GE Aviation began production of the LEAP engine with 21 employees.

Now, 75 are employed. Eventually, that number will grow to 230.

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