United Technologies opens $40M testing facility in East Hartford

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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Pratt and Whitney and parent company United Technologies unveiled a one-of-a-kind new piece of technology Tuesday morning.

The jet engine maker cut the ribbon on a new engine compressor testing facility. Compressors are considered the heart of the jet engine, taking air coming in and pressurizing it before it gets mixed with fuel and burned.

The facility is kind of like a wind tunnel, but instead of air going around something, the air gets shot right into the compressor. The goal is to make more efficient compressors.

“Efficiency is important because it results in less fuel burn and less CO2 emissions, essentially a greener engine,” explained Pratt & Whitney Engineering Vice President Thomas Prete.

That investment in manufacturing at the United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford brought out all the region’s top officials.

“The belief in manufacturing and science and technology always brings value-added to our economy and to our employment base,” said U.S. Rep. John Larson (D – CT 1st District).

That employment base requires workers educated in manufacturing trades.

“We want to keep all of those advanced manufacturing and aerospace jobs filled with our talented folks that are graduating from our high schools and our community colleges and our public colleges and universities,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D – Connecticut).

“Our history is to continue to reinvent and redefine aviation,” Prete said. “This allows us to continue to do that, and the next generation of engines become even more efficient and more powerful, either being used for the military or being used for commercial use.”

The facility cost $40 million to build. More than 500 people worked to build the facility, from 75 different contracting companies.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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