Friday, April 13, 2018

News: Rolls-Royce carry out additional engine inspections

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World-renowned engineering firm, Rolls-Royce expects further disruption for its Trent 1000 customers, notably Boeing, as it deals with known issues over turbine blades.

Rolls-Royce has previously discussed the "lower than expected durability of a small number of parts for the Trent 1000" and increased inspections following the grounding of a number of planes powered by the engine.

The Trent engines include key components manufactured by Rolls-Royce in Rotherham. The Trent 1000 was the launch engine for the 787-8 Dreamliner at service entry in 2011.

The most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world was officially opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham in 2014. There are two types of turbine blade manufactured at the 150,000 sq ft facility: high pressure (HP) and intermediate pressure (IP) single crystal blades

Corrosion-related fatigue cracking was discovered on IP blades in 2016. It was announced that the manufacturer would have to replace turbine blades on the entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners powered by its Trent 1000 engine.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recently ordered airlines to replace some Trent 1000 engines on their aircraft.

Rolls-Royce has now announced that it would carry out additional engine inspections to those previously planned. It has not put a specific cost to inspection but will need to change spending priorities as it expects it to "lead to higher than previously guided cash costs being incurred during 2018." It still expects to hit cashflow targets.

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An earlier statement from Rolls-Royce said: "These issues have required urgent short-term support including both on-wing and shop visit intervention which has resulted in increased disruption for some of our customers. This has been a dynamic situation. We have continued to progress our understanding of both the technical and operational issues and we are making solid progress with longer-term solutions, largely through re-designing affected parts. These are expected to be fully embodied in the Trent 1000 fleet by 2022."

Warren East, CEO at Rolls-Royce, said: "Our focus is on supporting our customers and doing all we can to minimise any impact on their operations. We sincerely regret the disruption this will cause to our customers and our team of technical experts and service engineers is working around the clock to ensure we return them to full service as soon as possible. We will be working closely with Boeing and affected airlines to minimise disruption wherever possible."

A statement from Boeing said: "About 25% of the 787 Dreamliner fleet is powered by this Rolls-Royce engine variant. This issue does not affect current production 787s, the Trent 1000 Package B, Trent 1000 TEN or GEnx-1B engines.

"An existing EASA Airworthiness Directive for the Package C engine requires inspections of an intermediate pressure compressor blade at certain flight cycles. If a durability issue is found, the blade will be replaced. This is a known issue and we will continue to work with Rolls-Royce, our customers and the regulators to fully resolve it. Boeing is deploying support teams to mitigate service disruption.

"Safety is our highest priority. The 787 has safely flown more than 3.2 billion miles since entering commercial service in 2011."

Rolls-Royce website

Images: Rolls-Royce

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