Arsenio Alfonso designs aircraft motor parts at Pratt & Whitney’s Middletown, CT facility. He employs sophisticated technology that creates a less costly and more efficient product.
Conventionally, the blades are built separately from the rotor disk, which is the cylindrical part of the turning motor, and incorporated later in the process. “Right now, we have this amazing technology that allows us to design the rotors at the same time so that these blades are part of the rotor disk,” Alfonso explains. “They are one unit, not built separately anymore.”
As a mechanical design engineer in the company’s integral blade rotors part family, Alfonso is constantly focused on saving time, money and materials in the manufacturing process.
“You look at all the different steps in the process, from the preliminary design to the final part, all the time trying to see where you can make an improvement in the production,” he says.
Alfonso joined Pratt & Whitney in January 2010, after earning his 2007 BSME and 2008 MSME at Florida International University (Miami, FL) and starting doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut-Storrs.
Alfonso’s passion for engineering goes back to his childhood in Cuba. His father is a mechanical engineer who has always worked at airports. The “magnificent” designs of aircraft caught his attention.
“Since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamed of being a mechanical engineer and working in the aircraft industry,” he says.
As he pursues his PhD, Alfonso has an eye on applying the research expertise he’s gaining at Pratt & Whitney. “My goal for the future is to be fully involved in research for the development of the next generation of engines,” he says.
Alfonso came into the job with impressive student research and design projects on his resume. One team project, “Inverse stability analysis of a biped robot,” led not only to a published paper but also an entertaining presentation that’s now featured in an Internet video.
“I was able to design and program this robot, make it go one step up on the stairs, perform some dances and do a salute at the end of its performance,” Alfonso says with a smile.