CFM Launches Advanced Technology Initiatives for Future CFM56 Programs
February 24, 1998
Continuing the policy that has made it the world's leading supplier of commercial transport aircraft engines, CFM International has launched advanced technology development programs that will maintain this leadership position well into the next century.
CFM International (CFM) is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
"We are the leader, and we want to remain the leader," said Grard Laviec, president and CEO of CFM. "So we are investing in future technology today to be ready when the market is ready. This has always been CFM's development policy and, obviously, it has been a very successful one."
Looking at commercial aviation in the next century, CFM believes that the single-aisle aircraft market will require:
- a new baseline engine in the 20,000- to 40,000-pound-thrust range;
- lower cost of ownership, about 15 to 20 percent below the current industry- leading CFM56 levels;
- noise requires approximately 20 decibels below current Stage III requirements;
- fuel burn improvement of up to 9 percent;
- emissions levels 40 to 50 percent below current levels; and
- improved maintenance costs of 15 to 20 percent.
CFM has identified key technologies to meet these market requirements. Technologies currently under development include:
- one piece aluminum case and containment ring;
- high speed, low noise, wide chord fan blade;
- cooled Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC);
- high stage loading;
- low stage count high pressure compressor;
- low emissions, low cost combustor;
- highly loaded single stage high pressure turbine;
- integral aluminum outlet guide vanes and hub;
- counter-rotating differential bearing;
- two main frames;
- corrosion-resistant bearings;
- short, stiff core for enhanced performance retention;
- advanced, low leakage seals;
- close coupled, counter-rotating high efficiency low pressure turbine;
- 3-D aero and computational fluid dynamics design techniques;
- low noise exhaust.
"Right now, CFM has the most advanced, reliable engines in the air ," said William S. Clapper, executive vice president of CFM. "In the past two years, we have certified the CFM56-5B/P and the CFM56-7 and had an extremely successful entry into service with both engines. And, most importantly, we have met every commitment we have made to the industry. We also are preparing the CFM56-9 for the 100-passenger aircraft market. Consequently, we feel we have the range of products to cover current single-aisle aircraft requirements.
"CFM has always invested in new technology, even during industry downturns," Clapper said. "This new technology development program is a continuation of the CFM56 design philosophy, and puts us in a very good position to meet the market requirements of the future."
In the near term, CFM will continue to study the market to further clarify industry requirements while concentrating and developing and demonstrating technology for improved customer value.