Friday, November 21, 2014

News: Rolls-Royce wins $5bn engine order

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Rolls-Royce, one of the most famous names in engineering throughout the world, has won a $5bn order for Trent engines from Delta Air Lines to power 50 new aircraft.

Trent XWB engines will power 25 Airbus A350s and Trent 7000 engines will power 25 Airbus A330neo aircraft. The Trent XWB, the world's most efficient aero engine and specifically designed for Airbus, is the fastest-selling civil large engine ever, with more than 1,500 already sold to 40 customers. Earlier this year, Airbus selected the new Trent 7000 from Rolls-Royce as the exclusive engine for the new Airbus A330neo.

It is the first major contract announcement since the company revealed it would cut its workforce by 2,600 over the next 18 months, principally in its aerospace division.

Nat Pieper, vice president of Fleet Strategy and Transactions at Delta Air Lines, said: "We are pleased to be working closely with Rolls-Royce to power aircraft that will be a vital part of our future, providing a new level of excellence on our Pacific, Atlantic and Latin American routes."

John Rishton, chief executive at Rolls-Royce, added: "We are proud to be selected to power Delta's new generation of aircraft and look forward to deepening our relationship with a long-standing and valued customer. It is further evidence of the success of the Trent XWB in the market and represents a powerful vote of confidence in our newly-launched Trent 7000."

Work on the XWB engine started in 2005 when Rolls-Royce sat down with Airbus to look at how they could improve the performance of the new A350. Today the programme involves 16 manufacturing plants, eleven engineering and testing facilities, 12 engineering partners as well as 75 suppliers worldwide.

One of the manufacturing plants is on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, where single crystal (SX) turbine blades are being produced using the very latest manufacturing techniques.

The turbine extracts energy from the hot gas stream received from the combustor in high-thrust aero engines. Turbine blades convert the energy stored within the gas into kinetic energy.

The advanced turbine blade castings operate in the hottest part of the engine, at 200 degrees centigrade above the melting point of the material from which it's made. Temperatures are approaching half the surface of the sun and even the "cooling air" forced through the holes in the blade is 800C.

The technology means that the Trent XWB is some 20% more fuel efficient than the engines powering the airliners it will replace, saving airlines operating the A350 around £2m per aircraft, per year.

Rolls-Royce website

Images: Airbus

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