Thursday, February 27, 2014

News: Rolls-Royce reveal next gen engine designs

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Rolls-Royce has shared details of its next generation of engine designs, high-tech components for which are set to be made in Rotherham.

The world-renowned engineers are putting the finishing touches to the new Advanced Blade Casting Facility at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

The 14,900 sq m facility will use cutting edge manufacturing techniques to produce single crystal turbine blades, which play a critical role in jet engines and are required to withstand centrifugal loads of up to ten tonnes while operating at up to 200 degrees above the melting point of their alloy.

The multi million pound facility will produce a specific portfolio of civil aerospace parts, such as turbine blades, using advanced manufacturing techniques and an increased level of automation. There are over 65 turbine blades in every iconic Rolls-Royce Trent engine and the Rotherham facility will be capable of manufacturing 100,000 blades per year when fully operational later this year.

Trent engines will continue in service for decades to come with 2,500 in service and more than 2,500 on order.

Rolls-Royce is continually innovating and, as part of that ongoing process, is looking to build on the success of the Trent family of engines with two new generation engine designs.

The first design, Advance, will offer at least 20 per cent better fuel burn and CO2 emissions than the first generation of Trent engine and could be ready from the end of this decade.

The second, UltraFan, a geared design with a variable pitch fan system, is based on technology that could be ready for service from 2025 and will offer at least 25 per cent improvement in fuel burn and emissions against the same baseline.

Colin Smith, director - Engineering and Technology at Rolls-Royce, said: "These new designs are the result of implementing our ongoing technology programmes. They are designed to deliver what our airframe and airline customers tell us they need: even better fuel efficiency, reliability and environmental performance."

Eric Schulz, president - Civil Large Engines at Rolls-Royce, added: "As innovators, we can never stand still, even when we have the leadership position. Our horizons extend into the coming decades and we have amassed a range of new technologies to meet the needs of our customers. I am confident that our engine design strategy will ensure we power the future of global aviation."

In 2013, Rolls-Royce invested £1.1 billion on research and development. It supports a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which connect the company's engineers with the forefront of scientific research.

Rolls-Royce is a Tier One member of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing and a lead sponsor of its Factory of the Future, also on the AMP in Rotherham. Rolls-Royce is also one of a number of manufacturers committed to supporting The AMRC Factory 2050, the UK's first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research.

A joint team from Rolls-Royce and the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry worked to develop the new pre-production process for advanced blade casting that will be used in Rotherham.

Researchers have been developing new architecture and technology improvements for the next generation of engines. This includes new carbon/titanium fan blades with a composite casing that reduce weight by up to 1,500lb per aircraft, the equivalent of carrying seven more passengers at no cost, and advanced ceramic matrix composites - heat resistant components that operate more effectively in high turbine temperatures.

This week Rolls-Royce secured a share of £60m of Government funding to lead on two projects to develop quieter, more efficient engines.

Rolls-Royce website

Images: Rolls-Royce

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