Pratt: Fraudulent Engine-Testing Scheme Uncovered In 2011
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Pratt: Fraudulent Engine-Testing Scheme Uncovered In 2011
Pratt: Fraudulent Engine-Testing Scheme Uncovered In 2011

By BRIAN DOWLING, bdowling@courant.com

8:25 p.m. EST, March 4, 2013

Pratt & Whitney discovered nearly two years ago that one of its foreign business units had fraudulently adjusted test results on tens of thousands of engine parts to bypass additional inspection, the company said Monday.

Both Pratt and the federal government concluded in separate investigations that the safety of the parts was not compromised.

The unit, Carmel Forge Ltd. in Israel, changed test results for more than 40,000 forged disks over 15 years, Pratt said. In jet engines, the disks serve as hubs to which compressor and turbine blades are attached.

According to an internal company memo obtained by The Courant, Pratt launched an internal investigation in June 2011 after an employee tipped off the company to the problem.

The investigation confirmed the employee's information and led to an engineering review and metallurgical testing of the affected parts.

The review concluded that there was no impact on safety or durability of the parts made by Carmel Forge. "There have been no product recalls, service bulletins, or airworthiness directives, and there are no flight safety risks," Pratt spokeswoman Stephanie Duvall said Monday.

The internal memo to Pratt employees, dated Friday, said, "individuals at Carmel Forge produced test records that were not accurate. That is a serious matter, and we have treated it very seriously."

After its investigation, Pratt made personnel changes at the unit and added new software controls and testing equipment, the memo said.

Carmel Forge unit produces forgings for disks, seals and cases for engines and turbines, the memo said, and performs "all processes including raw material preparation, heat treating, semi-finished machining and testing."

United Technologies first listed the company as a subsidiary in 2000.

The company's investigation was first reported Monday in The Wall Street Journal.

The memo sent to Pratt employees — by the company's general counsel, Joe Santos, and its vice president of quality, Mary Anne Cannon — cited the imminent publication of the story in the Journal and expected coverage on a prime-time news program in Israel this week.

The discovery is the latest hiccup for the East Hartford engine maker in recent weeks. In late February, the military grounded its fleet of F-35s after examinations found a crack in a low-pressure turbine blade in Pratt's F135 engine. Also, the company said last week that it was reviewing five lines of its commercial and military engines with titanium parts that may not have met raw material specifications.

Pratt, a division of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp., is based in East Hartford.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Defense Contract Management Agency worked on the Carmel Forge investigation with Pratt, Pratt & Whitney Canada, and Transport Canada, the country's transportation regulator.

The FAA closed its file on the issue in June 2012 after a visit to Carmel Forge without issuing fines or penalties. The administration said it found no "evidence of non-conforming parts" and "no data indicating in-service issues."

"No maintenance schedules were adjusted as a result of the investigation," the FAA said in a statement, "and the parts are performing as expected."

In its memo, Pratt used the Carmel Forge incident to point out to employees the value of the company's internal reporting system, saying it "highlights the importance of world-class compliance and ethics and the severe consequences that can occur when we fall short."

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-utc-p...1317.story

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2013 Mar 06 21:49
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