Safran Aero Boosters has announced a €50 million investment to build a new production plant for compressor blades and vanes in the Walloon region of Belgium, in the province of Liège.
The new plant will produce titanium compressor blades, including those required for the LEAP engine, and is expected to bolster Safran Aero Boosters’ industrial expertise in its flagship product, the low-pressure compressor.
Safran Blades is being set up in partnership with the Belgian and Walloon federal authorities, the Société Régionale dʼInvestissement de Wallonie (S.R.I.W) and the Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissement (S.F.P.I.M). Safran Aero Boosters has a majority stake of 56% and the two partners each hold 22%.
The 10,000-square-meter center of excellence will be located in Marchin on a former ArcelorMittal site that will be completely refurbished. Featuring automation, highly qualified personnel and advanced digital technologies, Plant 4.0 is expected to produce more than 2,000 blades and vanes a day, with innovative, autonomous real-time quality control at every critical stage of production. The plant is due to be operational by 2025 and will employ around 100 people. In addition, the site is being designed to be sustainable, with a significant reduction in energy and water consumption and the use of renewable energy, including solar panels and hydraulic turbines.
Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran, said: “We are very proud to announce the construction of this plant today. I’d like to thank the Belgian and Walloon governments for their ongoing support for Safran’s industrial and research projects, and for consolidating the autonomy of our supply chain through this investment.”
Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, commented: “Belgium and Wallonia are teeming with innovative companies that boast incredible expertise. This is the case for Safran Aero Boosters, in a strategic and forward-looking business area. We must be proud of our successes, and make even greater use of our know-how.”
Willy Borsus, Vice-President and Minister of Economy, Foreign Trade, Research and Innovation, Digital, Land Use Planning, Agriculture, IFAPME and Competence Centers, added: “This new plant, the only one of its kind in Belgium, will enable us to develop new expertise, and by relocating this business to Wallonia, it will give Safran Aero Boosters real autonomy in its production. This investment will also create about 100 jobs and rehabilitate a former industrial wasteland, thus contributing to our objective of rehabilitating 100 hectares per year. Wallonia is keen to reaffirm its strong support for Safran Aero Boosters, a true Walloon technological showcase in the aeronautical field.”