Monday, May 16, 2016

News: Rolls-Royce lands another XWB order

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Rolls-Royce has despatched the first "shipset" of four engines as part of its largest ever order, for Emirates, and has also welcomed a new deal with China Eastern.

The £6.16 billion deal, secured last year, is to provide Trent 900 engines and TotalCare service to the largest airline in the Middle East, for 50 Emirates A380s, the first of which will enter service later this year.

As part of one of the largest ever export orders for a UK company, the Trent 900 engines left the Rolls-Royce site at Derby last week where they were assembled, for Airbus in Toulouse, France, where they will be fitted to an A380 aircraft.

Eric Schulz, president – civil aerospace ar Rolls-Royce, said: "This is an important milestone in delivering the largest order in our history for a highly-respected customer. We look forward to celebrating Emirates' first Rolls-Royce powered A380 flight and ensuring the entire fleet has a smooth entry into service."

The most recent deal sees China Eastern select 20 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, which is powered by the Trent XWB engine. The Trent XWB is the world's most efficient large civil aero engine and more than 1,500 engines have already been sold to 40 customers. It powered the first A350 XWB aircraft into commercial service in 2015.

Dominic Horwood, director, customers and services – civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said: "We welcome this decision by China Eastern to select the A350 XWB. We now look forward to powering the aircraft with our Trent XWB engine."

With this latest order, Airbus has recorded 803 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 43 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever. So far 20 A350 XWBs have been delivered to five customers worldwide.

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The latest Trent aero engines contain turbine blades manufactured at the most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world, which was officially opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham in 2015. When fully operational in 2017, the £110m, 150,000 sq ft facility will employ 150 people and have the capacity to manufacture more than 100,000 single crystal turbine blades a year.

There are two types of turbine blade manufactured at the Rotherham facility: high pressure (HP) and intermediate pressure (IP) single crystal blades. The capacity is set to increase to 200,000 blades a year when the pioneering manufacturing process has been proven.

At Rolls-Royce's Advanced Blade Casting Facility (ABCF) the blades are "grown" in a special process which ensures that they are created from a single metal crystal to maximise their strength. These SX blades generate the power of a Formula 1 racing car.

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. It is required to withstand centrifugal loads of up to ten tonnes while operating at temperatures in excess of the melting point of the alloy. One HP blade lasts five million flying miles before being replaced.

Using alloys that are more expensive than silver, the temperature within the high pressure turbine is 1,700 degrees centigrade, so they have to be coated with a special ceramic and cooled with air passed through the discs and out of a series of precise holes in the blade.

Despite having a growing order book that tops £76.5bn, Rolls-Royce has been forced to issue a number of profit warnings and restructure its aerospace business as it negotiates a transition to newer engines, as engines such as the Trent 700 approach the later stage of their delivery lifecycle.

The Rotherham facility is gearing up to deliver blades for the next generation of Trent engines, including the Trent XWB engine which contains 182 HP and IP turbine blades.

Rolls-Royce website

Images: Rolls-Royce

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