CFAN was created in December 1991 as a 50/50 joint-venture between two of the world's leading aerospace companies, GE Aircraft Engines and SNECMA. The two corporations decided to pool their talent and technical expertise to create a separate company that would meet the challenge of manufacturing high precision parts with advanced composites.
The immediate challenge tackled by CFAN was to manufacture the wide chord composite fan blade of the GE90 engine, which powers the Boeing 777 airliner. The GE90 fan blade is the first ever composite fan blade in service on a commercial jet engine. In the early 1990's, when this technology was selected for its advantages in weight and fatigue resistance characteristics, significant advances in composite manufacturing technology were required to take the fan blade from the lab to production.
In February 1993, CFAN established in San Marcos a state of the art facility, a seasoned workforce in aerospace composites and a portfolio of engine related high performance composite parts.
Drawing on GE and SNECMA's expertise in advanced composites dating back to the early 1970s, CFAN successfully transferred the composite fan blade manufacturing process from the laboratory to the shop floor, and delivered the first production GE90-94B fan blade in September 1994.
In 2001,CFAN started production of the composite fan blade for the GE90-115B growth engine. The GEnx1B fan blade was introduced to production in 2005 and the GEnx2B in 2007. More than 20,000 composite fan blades have now been produced by CFAN.
In parallel with the ramp up in fan blade production, CFAN continued to manufacture other high performance composite products and to develop the related capabilities. CFAN has acquired extensive experience processing components from advanced fibers including carbon, kevlar and fiberglass; thermoset resins including epoxy, BMI, and PMR15; and bonded structures containing metallic or composite honeycomb. CFAN also developed expertise and has capabilities in Resin Transfer Molding for aerospace engine applications.