GE Aviation opens world-class pneumatics laboratory

GE Aviation opens world-class pneumatics laboratory

The Advanced Engineering Pneumatics Test Laboratory (AdEPT) represents a $13 million investment.

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February 26, 2018

GE Aviation employees in Rockford commission a new $13-million lab for development of advanced aircraft systems. Pictured (L to R) are: Site Leader Chris Lauret, Bryan Schwichenberg, who led the 30-month project; Facilities Leader Clarke Richard, and Commercial Leader Khoi Vu.

GE Aviation, Rockford, Illinois, has commissioned a world-class facility that enables the company to test jet engine components under a full range of temperatures, pressures, and other conditions. The Advanced Engineering Pneumatics Test Laboratory (AdEPT) represents a $13 million investment and will help fuel continued growth at the Rockford plant.

"We are very excited about this new facility, which will support development of a new generation of products," said GE Aviation's Rockford Site Leader Chris Lauret. "AdEPT allows us to perform extremely complicated physical tests that are critical to delivering the reliability and operability our customers require."

The new facility is dedicated to testing complex, high-precision components including engine pneumatic valves, starter systems, turbo machinery, heat exchangers, and bleed air systems. The 20,000ft2 AdEPT lab can simulate a wide variety of conditions, combining pneumatic temperature, pressure, and flow to simulate real-world conditions.

"Before AdEPT, we had to rely on computer simulations," said Bryan Schwichtenberg, who led the 30-month project to develop the new lab. "Now we are able to test large, complex systems in a variety of conditions to optimize our designs and performance."

The Rockford facility is expanding as production of GE Aviation's jet engines reaches record levels. The 150,000ft2 facility employs 220 people, including nearly 100 hourly production workers, a commercial team, and an engineering staff of more than 40 people. The facility manufactures and repairs a variety of components that support both GE's commercial and military jet engines, as well as powerplants for helicopters, naval vessels, and tanks. Products include pneumatic and electro-mechanical valves, utility actuators, temperature controllers, and high-performance fans and blowers.