Rolls Royce to flight test Trent engine with largest ever 3D-printed part

February 24, 2015

It has been reported that Rolls-Royce plans to flight-test later this year a Trent XWB-97 engine fitted with what it claims is the largest component ever built using Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM). The titanium structure is a 15O cm diameter x 50 cm depth front bearing housing containing 48 aerofoils, manufactured using the ALM technique.

Rolls-Royce is stated to have already ground-tested several XWB-97s containing the large part, but no engine with such a large ALM component has ever powered an aircraft in flight.

It was added that although no production XWB-97s will contain the ALM component, the project is a step towards proving the industrial viability of the process which it says could trim 30% from “like-for-like manufacturing lead time”.

“It is ideal for prototyping. Shortening the manufacturing time by almost a third gives us more time to design, which is always a benefit,” stated Alan Newby, Chief Engineer for Future Programs and Technology. “We are also able to produce designs that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.”

Rolls-Royce is reported to have been using ALM to repair components for at least five years. “We are using this knowledge now to build up to bigger components,” added Newby.

www.rolls-royce.com  


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