Skip to main content
Article detail banner

From Desk Fans to Turbofans: One Shop’s Incredible 70-Year Journey

August 30, 2021 | by Mark Adams
Nowadays, GE Aviation’s Celma facility is a major maintenance, repair, and overhaul site for aircraft engines. However, the fan blades the team encounters today are much larger than the ones their predecessors worked on when the Celma site first opened 70 years ago.

In 1951, the operation located in Petropolis, Brazil, was initially founded to manufacture domestic fans small enough to sit on someone’s desk, said Julio Talon, general manager of GE Aviation Celma since 2010.

Six years after opening, the company began servicing Lockheed Constellation engines. In 1965, Celma became part of the Brazilian Air Force (BAF), providing services to the BAF as well as domestic airlines. It returned to being a private company in 1991 – with GE as one of its shareholders.

Above: The newer test cell completed in 2018 to accommodate GEnx and CFM LEAP engines – located in Três Rios. Top: GE’s Celma overhaul facility in Petropolis where they overhaul nearly 500 GE and CFM large commercial turbofan engines in a typical year.

Then, in 1996, GE acquired 100 percent of Celma. Now, in a typical year, Celma’s team conducts around 500 heavy overhauls on a wide variety of GE and CFM International* turbofan engines.

“So, in 2021, it’s a dual celebration: 70 years in existence and 25 years as part of GE,” Talon explains.

Materials planner and inventory analyst Giovani Martins, who has been working at the facility for 42 years says: “One of the biggest opportunities that life offers is the chance to work hard and devote yourself to something worthwhile. So, I am grateful to be part of GE Celma’s family.”

Multiple locations, extensive capabilities

GE Aviation, Services — Celma is the largest aircraft engines overhaul shop in Latin America, and with more than 90 percent of its work volume coming in from all over the world, the business is among the main service exporters in Brazil.

The operations consist of four locations spread across the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At plants in Petropolis, the team overhauls CF6-50, CF6-80C2, CFM56-5B, CFM56-7B, CF34-10E, GEnx-1B, CFM LEAP-1A and CFM LEAP-1Bengines. The facility also has on-wing support “quick-turn” services in the region, as well as extensive repair capability for the parts and accessories of the engines they overhaul. “This ensures competitiveness in terms of cost and turn-time,” Talon says.

In the city of Rio de Janeiro, the operation has a test cell at the international airport.

And in Três Rios, one of the largest engine test cells in the world was opened in 2018 that accommodates both the GEnx and LEAP engines.

Expanding operations to better serve customers’ needs

The Celma team continues to lean out processes and work to increase its capacity to better serve customers. Currently, they are focusing on introducing LEAP engine capacity and recently certified the Três Rios test cell to test the LEAP-1B engine as part of their overall growth plan.

“It is a great pride for us to be part of GE Aviation. And at 70 years of age, we are very motivated to continue writing this successful story – making a substantial difference for our customers, employees, partners, and our entire community,” Talon says.

One of the original desk fans manufactured at the Celma site in the early 1950s.

*CFM56 and LEAP are the property and trademarks of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.

Related Posts

GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.