Rolls-Royce unveils plans for more fuel efficient engines

March 3, 2014

Rolls-Royce plc, Derby, UK, the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines behind US group General Electric, has unveiled plans for a new aircraft engine which it said would be around 6% more fuel efficient than the its latest Trent XWB model. The new engine could be ready for service by the end of the decade, the company stated.

The engine, which is called ‘Advance’, could be a successor to the Trent XWB engine due to enter service later this year. Rolls said that an even newer model, the ‘UltraFan’, could be ready to be attached to an aircraft by 2025. This would be around 10% more efficient than the Trent XWB, it said. Bigger fans and lightweight materials will enable the efficiency progression expected from the two new models, with the Ultrafan benefiting from a geared system.

The company is expected to accelerate the development of 3D printing technology (Additive Manufacturing) as a means of speeding up production and making more lightweight parts for its jet engines. Rolls Royce is working closely with TWI based in Cambridge, UK, to manufacture nickel alloy seal segments for the Intermediate Pressure stage of a Trent engine. This involved TWI taking the technology from a laboratory stage through process development to successful engine testing.

Rolls Royce already uses Hot Isostatically Pressed (HIPed) and isothermally forged advanced Powder Metallurgy high alloy superalloys in high pressure turbine discs in the Trent 1000 and XWB engines. More than 1,300 Trent XWBs are currently on order for operators such as Etihad, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Air Lease Corp., Lufthansa, and AIG, parent company to British Airways.

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