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Rolls-Royce has announced that 3D printing is leading the way for the next generation of aircraft engines.
The Advance3 engine will form the core of the company’s UltraFan engine design, scheduled for launch in 2025.
Advance3 - Engine - Printing - Additive - Layer
The Advance3 engine uses 3D printing, or Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), to make some of the 20,000 components. Also included in the engine are ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).
Rolls-Royce says that over 100 hours of testing have been completed and “Initial results are showing excellent performance”.
Engine - Trent - XWB-97 - Component - Meter
An earlier Rolls-Royce engine, the Trent XWB-97, featured the largest additive manufactured component flown. The 1.5 meter diameter titanium structure was 3D printed on a metal AM system from Arcam. Now Arcam is owned by Rolls-Royce competitor, GE, it remains to be seen what AM system Rolls-Royce will use for the Advance3.
An Arcam Spectra H on display at Farnborough Airshow. Photo by Michael Petch.
Use - Materials - Manufacturing - Success - Project
The use of advanced materials and manufacturing is key to the early success of the project. “ALM allows engineers to create new designs for parts, and for those parts to be made and redesigned more quickly. CMCs last longer in high temperatures and are lighter than metal alternatives,” explained Rolls-Royce.
Ash Owen, Rolls-Royce, Chief Engineer, Civil Aerospace Demonstrator Programmes, said: “Testing so far has been completely seamless, which is an outstanding...
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