Turbomeca Manufacturing, a subsidiary of SAFRAN USA in Grand Prairie, Texas, opened its Monroe, N.C. facility on September 25, making it the company’s only manufacturing plant outside of France. The 100,000-sq-ft facility is located on 42 sprawling acres of land just outside of Charlotte, N.C. The plant will use state-of-the-art equipment to build turbine blades, nozzle guide vanes, casings, diffusers, impellers, injection wheels and flange shafts, primarily for it Arriel 1E2 engines, which power the Army’s new twin-engine UH-72 Lakota helicopter.
"This facility will help us better serve our U.S. customers," said Jim Bufton, operations director for Turbomeca Manufacturing. "We have high expectations to become a true American company, and expand our market in the U.S."
Turbomeca hired most of its staff from the Monroe area, sending many of the already experienced technicians to France for additional training. Upon their return, the plant went operational with 148 machines and a compliment of 70 craftsmen, managers and administrative personnel. It plans to expand its workforce to 200 by 2009.
"This constitutes the highest concentration of aerospace industry in our state," said Jim Fain, Secretary of Commerce for N.C., about the plant’s choice to build in Monroe. "It’s been a wonderful experience…a significant addition."