Monday, August 12, 2013


The Rolls Royce engine: So much has the American press dedicated a more than generous reporting of the GE offering during the 787-8 introduction. No so much on the Rolls Royce. But customers are loving the engine just the same. I wondered what makes the Trent 1000 so special and how its made. Without divulging Rolls Royce engine secrets, a really informative article is offered from   "This Is Derby shire", on the link below. Please read the quoted article below or click over on the link the blog has inserted. A recommended read for those who are guessing at what is across the pond when comes to engine technology. The article suggest a very detailed process in making fuel efficient engines, as demonstrated, is not for the faint of heart for the captains of industry.  GE keeps pressure on with its "on-the- fly PIP (performance improvement package) process, squeezing more out each rendition of its own 1B or 2B 787 engines. They are competing by making sure it meets its original promise of performance, of which they have finally met during PIP 2. The question begged, "what has Rolls done during the GE's attempt to corner the market"? I say read on and judge for yourself.


A SELECTION of fascinating facts about Rolls-Royce's Trent 1000 engine:

At take-off, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's two Trent 1000s will deliver thrust equivalent to the power of 1,500 cars.

The engine sucks in 1.25 tons of air per second during take off (that's about the volume of a squash court every second).

The fan spins at over 2,700 rpm, with tip speeds over 900 mph, but the blades inside the engine spin at 13,500 rpm, with tip speeds topping 1,200 mph.

Air passing through the engine is squeezed to more than 700 lb per sq inch, which is 50 times normal air pressure.

The engine has about 30,000 individual components.

The Trent 1000 is expected to fly for 20,000 hours before its first overhaul. That's about 11 million miles or 450 times around the world.

The fuel in the engine combustion chamber burns at approximately half the temperature of the surface of the sun. 

The force on a fan blade at take-off is about 100 tons. That is like hanging a freight train off each blade. 

Boeing 787 at full power take-off is three decibels quieter than a Boeing 767, even though it is a third heavier.

Revolutionary engine is the product of our 'world-leading' city engineers

Rolls-Royce's staff in Derby have worked on the Trent 1000 engine programme over the course of almost a decade. Yesterday, they witnessed the fruits of their labours. Business editor Robin Johnson examines the technical brilliance of this revolutionary engine.

FROM a drawing on a piece of paper a decade ago to an engine that today powers one aircraft every 20 minutes across the world – the Trent 1000 is an example of British engineering at its very best. And it would not have been possible without the skill and talent of Rolls-Royce's Derby workforce. Several thousand have worked on the Trent 1000 engine programme – and each and every one of them, from the boffins in the design offices to the workers on the production line, have played an integral part. Air travel has almost become a matter of routine in the modern world.

Hundreds of passengers on an aircraft will expect their long-haul departure to lift off within minutes of the specified time. They sit in comfortable seats, eat nice food and maybe relax with a drink. During the flight they may work, sleep or watch the latest movies and TV programmes, all the time sitting in a comfortable shirt-sleeve environment. After thousands of miles, several hundred tonnes of aircraft lands safely within inches of its target and within minutes of its schedule.

Today, most people do not see flight as difficult to achieve – but there, at the heart of the process of flight, is engineering excellence.

Starting at the very centre of the engine, high pressure turbine blades are crucial to the success of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that powered yesterday's British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner fly-past over the Sinfin factory. This blade is grown as a single crystal of a Rolls-Royce alloy in a vacuum furnace. As it grows, it incorporates a complex series of air passages to cool the blade. Then it needs external cooling holes created by incredibly accurate laser drilling. And on top of all that is a thermal barrier coating that is more advanced than the tiles on the Space Shuttle. 

The blade works in the high-pressure turbine, where the gas temperature is at least 400F above the melting point of the blade's alloy.The blade sits in a disc that rotates at more than 10,000 rpm. This means the force on the blade root is the same as hanging a London double-decker bus from its tip. Every time the plane takes off, this single blade develops the same horsepower as a Formula 1 racing car, yet it can travel 10 million miles before it needs replacing. That performance, achieved under such extremes of heat and pressure, requires precise design and manufacture that is measured in microns – to the thickness of a human hair, and it has to be exactly right. Every time.

A single part is complex enough – but integrating all the parts into a complete engine is hugely more challenging. Each component inevitably influences many others.

When assembled, they work together in the most extraordinary way. All the precisely dimensioned components in the engine expand and contract to different degrees. At its heart, the temperature can reach half that of the surface of the sun. Its pressure is the same as half a km down in the ocean. Having done all this, the engine has to create at least 70,000 pounds of uniform forward thrust – plus precisely the right amount of additional power to ensure a plane-load of passengers can breathe, eat, drink, work and watch movies and TV – not to mention power the cockpit and all the flight controls. 

At least six years before it enters service, Rolls-Royce will guarantee, among other things, how much the engine will weigh, how much noise it will make and how much fuel it will consume – to the nearest per cent. 

And, of course the firm also guarantees that it will be completely safe to carry 300-plus passengers for many years. The company then project-manages hundreds of millions of dollars of research and development expenditure. This involves 2,000 scientists and engineers, 300 test rigs and a development programme in which Rolls-Royce runs, tests, examines and, in some cases, deliberately destroys nine full engines over 18 months of frenetic activity. 

Gareth Jones, chief engineer for the Trent 1000 programme, said: "To successfully bring new products into service year after year requires a consistent strategy of investment, through good times and bad, a rigorously systematic process approach and, very importantly, excellent teams." They are made up of incredible people, world-leading in their fields, but the extraordinary technological improvement achieved consistently over the years is not the result of any one individual.  

"It is the result of thousands of man-years of effort working on each of the 18,000 engine parts, year after year after year, component by component, system by system." In the past 20 years, engines have improved by about 20% – which is worth more than $25 billion across the world fleet in fuel savings."

The job does not stop there. The average passenger is probably unaware that while they sit watching their movie, Rolls-Royce engineers are watching the engines on the aircraft, 24/7, every day, every flight. Aircraft in flight anywhere in the world automatically report back via satellite to the Rolls-Royce Service Operations Room in Derby, where the firm's team looks at, compares and reports on half a billion engine data reports every year. The data is analysed, trends extrapolated, anomalies detected and, often unknown to the pilot, preparations are made at the arrival airport to take remedial action and send the aircraft on its next leg with no delays. It is this use of extraordinary technology that enables Rolls-Royce powered flights to be ever more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly and reliable both now and in the future.

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